Sorry it’s been a while, my only excuse really is that I’ve got my wedding in nine weeks and things have been a bit crazy on the organisational/supplier front. I’ve written a good load of recipes but just had no chance to test them causing me immense cake creation woe. Of course i’ve been doing things like making paper flowers then thinking ‘wow i’ve spent 8 hours making paper flowers’ hah.

paper, purple, teal, green, flowers, wedding, handmade,

Still I can’t really complain about the absolutely gorgeous Food and Wine tasting at Ellenborough Park, in Cheltenham, U.K (Our wedding venue of choice), which just seemed to pull out every stop to cater for my gluten free needs. Couldn’t recommend more to you gluten free brides to be! Plus they have beautiful china:

Ellenborough Park, Cheltenham, U.K, England, Tea, Afternoon, China, Tea set, english, breakfast, strainer, shiny table

Which leads me to what my maid of honour and I have been trying to figure out for the past week; the hen party. At first I was pretty daunted about the prospect of having a hen party. One of those ridiculous, ‘L-plated’ hen parties which involves a lot of neon/hot pink attire and butler in the buffs trying to seduce me with their bodies. Oh please, I’m really not one for six packs that look like duplo blocks. I’m an ‘alternative’ chick; funny how all of this springs up farmyard metaphors.

This doesn’t mean that I’m a bride that doesn’t like to have a good dance and drink in the evening (I’m partial to a bit of ABBA yes.), but lets say I’d rather spend more money on something that’s going to make me remember rather than forget? Ya’ with me? To conclude, something memorable in the day, then have a night out of alcoholic craziness.

Like a few insightful websites I think it was evident that the new trend of hen party activities in the day center around having tea and cake, so alas, I was there like a non alcoholic shot.

I’ve decided to compile a list of sophisticated hen party ideas for you keeping in mind us gluten intolerant folk as well. Quite frankly there aren’t enough lists online that feature all of these alternative ideas in one go so I’ve tried to create a helpful content post more than anything that highlights some of the best.

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Drink Shop and Do enables you to basically have a lovely afternoon tea, (macaroons, truffles, scones sandwiches) then do a craft activity. Don’t laugh now, the craft doesn’t have to make you feel like a granny, the bridesmaids can all make fabric corsages together for the wedding and the bride can make a fascinator or garter (oh I say!). There are a wide range of activities you can do, do go on the website and have a look- one of my favourites was making ‘Cake Pops’ how so very in trend…

The afternoon tea packages are from £20-£32 per person.

The craft activities range in pricing from £16-£35 per person.

For 36 quid each that’s your afternoon sorted, decorate to your hearts content then go off on a night on the town!

Gluten free? Oh yes. They do gluten/wheat free options but do inform them in advance as with everywhere…

Bake –a-Boo

Bake-a-Boo offers afternoon tea hen party packages which include decorations, confetti, party poppers, favours, balloons, dressing up box (the girly works basically) with a full afternoon tea and the opportunity to add on craft activities or even a burlesque masterclass if you’re the more daring hen group.

It should be a gluten intolerant hen’s first choice, I mean just read this:

“Boo’s ‘Sensitive’ Afternoon tea! (Gluten free)

(A tea designed for coeliacs and gluten allergy or intolerance sufferers)

  • Filled gluten free finger sandwiches
  • Gluten free scones with jam & cream
  • Gluten free cupcakes
  • Gluten free apple and date cake slices
  • Dark chocolate dipped strawberries

All served on tiered cake stands with a refreshing pot of tea!”

 At £24 per person I really wouldn’t be complaining and I’d be in gluten free heaven! Off the hen party package the gluten free afternoon tea is just one pound more than the gluten afternoon tea which I think just optimizes the fact that having an affordable gluten free option is possible everywhere.

Some pretty photos of Bake-a-Boo can be seen on their Flickr page

A Most Curious Party

 A Most Curious Party is exactly what it says on the tin really, something unusual and fun. I recently read an article on a hen do hosted by them and they set up a wonderful tea party picnic with props and decorations right in the middle of Regent’s park (complete with afternoon tea), don’t know about you but that is my kind of cake related fun on a sunny day. I came from a childhood of arranging numerous picnics in the park with my friends, bringing all sorts of sweets and treats, so this sounded like something which would relate, in terms of surroundings, for a lot of people. It doesn’t have to be in a park of course- it could be in your luxury penthouse apartment you’ve rented for the weekend if you’re feeling flush; but all that matters at the end of the day is the people you’re celebrating with.

I love the fact they can supply you with a photographer or hair and make up artist- it’ll feel like your on location for a photoshoot in London, as you do…

Not sure if they do Gluten Free, but at £15 a hen you get all the crockery, set up and decorations you need- just tell the maid of honour to supply some yummy gluten free alternatives. (Of course for £20 per hen you get prepared sandwiches and cakes too :P)

Mad Hatter’s & Make up Party

From a most curious party to Mad Hatter’s –it just seemed a natural transition! Benefit have teamed up with award winning Mad Hatter’s couture parties by Katherine Elizabeth Millinery to bring the ultimate slash out productive day activity. With vintage fabrics, costume jewellery, beads and all sorts supplied you get to learn how to make your own ‘mad hat’ or lovely corsage for the wedding. It’s a great keepsake for the bridal party and definitely a very unusual but fitting occasion that involves sipping cocktails out of tea cups. The icing on the cake would be the £20 Benefit voucher to spend on make up for each hen, a goodie bag of treats and advice on what make up look would be best fitting for your new masterpiece of a hat.

At £60 a hen, it is more expensive for a hen day activity but if you haven’t managed to get your bridal party any gifts yet, consider contributing this way!

Cake Boy Hen Party

Another one for a gluten intolerant hen is Cake Boy (otherwise known as Eric Lanlard) in Battersea Reach. If you like a strong French accent like myself then this may be the perfect option really if you’re not really into men lathering themselves in baby oil. At £95 per person, it’s not exactly the cheapest option, but I would say probably the most sophisticated and classy:p I mean, he does have his own TV show Baking Mad. He’s designed a class just for catering hen party groups in which you get to make two types of cakes and then sit in a glamourous lounge and indulge in cakes you desire whilst sipping champagne. Glorious.

One thing I liked about the class is that it starts at 2pm and finishes at 6pm, perfect for going straight on to the bar, then the club. As seen in some of his programmes there are plenty of cake creations their team makes that are gluten free, so providing you phone in advance and notify- that shouldn’t be a problem. Don’t you just love all this ‘tailoring’? 🙂

There you have it, my five ideas for a gluten free, sophisticated hen party- hope you find something you like!

Food love,

Sarah x