(by guest blogger Marcela De Vivo)
Shannon Hale’s popular novel, Austenland, was recently adapted into a movie--the story features a woman who goes to an exclusive, Austen-themed resort in search of a husband. But what if you’ve already found your Mr. Darcy/Mr. Knightley/Captain Wentworth/Mr. Tilney? Well, then you’ll just have to hold a Jane Austen-approved hen party. After all, what better way to celebrate the famed author (who is soon to grace the £10 note)?
Make it a costume party
What better way to celebrate Jane Austen than to wear those decadently beautiful Regency-era gowns? We’ve all drooled over the beautiful cap sleeves in Emma, the crisp white muslins in Pride and Prejudice, and the at-times comical bonnets in Sense and Sensibility. Luckily, Regency wear is among some of the easiest to make--well, it’s no walk in the park, but it’s still much easier than creating a fully-embellished Elizabethan gown! And if you’re not quite the type to pick up a needle and thread, check out Etsy--it’s full of beautiful empire-waisted gowns that even Caroline Bingley would approve of.
Eat Jane Austen-approved food
While British cuisine isn’t exactly lauded the world over, you can still have a little fun with some Regency era food. Apparently, Jane Austen herself created an ice cream recipe--plus, she accompanied it with the quote, “I shall eat ice and drink French wine, and be above vulgar economy”. For real devotees, author Pen Vogler has created a recipe book--enticingly titled, Dinner With Mr. Darcy. She was able to adapt many of the recipes from a book of recipes written by Martha Lloyd, a close friend of Jane’s.
Go to Bath
If the timing’s right, you might even want to take your hen party to the Jane Austen Festival--it takes place in September, and there are tons of Jane Austen-themed activities, like dancing, harp playing lessons, and etiquette. Plus, many people come dressed in their best Regency fare; it’s truly a sight to behold.
Bath also has natural springs, which make it the ideal location for some pre-wedding primping. Planning a day or weekend in the spa laden city doesn't have to be another stressful event to your wedding either as there are many hen party planning companies such as RedSeven that can set up a spa getaway for you and your best girls. The natural hot springs are luxurious and relaxing, and it could be yet another fun activity to enjoy along with your hen party.
And what party would be complete without favors? Scan Pinterest for fun ideas--decorate candles with cameos for a Regency touch, make character-themed bookmarks, or embroider some little sachets--the ideas are endless! And again, if you’re less creatively inclined, there’s always Etsy: these Jane Austen-quoting coffee mugs are simply to die for.
What could possibly go together better than Jane Austen and weddings? Even though she never married herself, she still could write a love story like no other--and we’re sure she went to many a hen party (or whatever they happened to be called back then) in her day.
Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer whose writing covers everything from travel to health. As an avid reader and Jane Austen fan, she hopes these tips will inspire readers to create their own Austen themed parties whether it be hen party or birthday party!