Gay stag do? Lesbian hen party? Gay bachelor or bachelorette? Who needs a label. If you’re planning on celebrating before you get married, but are stuck on ideas take a look a our favourite pre-wedding party ideas for inspiration. Whether you’re wanting a joint party with your partner, a weekend trip away or just an evening of fun, you might find just what you’re looking for…
Where To Go: Snowdonia, North Wales
What To Do: Mountains, myths and wild lands, Wales has it all.
Begin your adventurous weekend in Bounce Below, a subterranean playground housed in an abandoned slate mine. Home to several giant trampolines, slides, nets and tunnels, the Blaenau Ffestiniog site is perfect for thrill seekers and big kids alike. Don’t fancy being underground? Head to Penrhyn Quarry for Velocity Launch. Zip World offers riders the closest experience to skydiving without jumping out of a plane. The fastest zip line in the world travels 1,555 meters and reveals breathtaking views of Wales and beyond.
After a night glamping under the stars – and a dip in the hot tub to ease those sore muscles – set the alarm early. Watch the sunrise from the slopes Cadair Idris for spectacular views over Snowdonia National Park. Start as you mean to go on with a distillery tour. In the Dyfi Valley, the Dyfi Distillery produces artisan gins crafted with wild botanicals from the local area. If you fancy a venture south, the Penderyn Distillery produces award-winning whiskey and offers tours and masterclasses at their Brecon Beacons site.
End your adventurous weekend with another mountain range. The Brecon Beacons promises hiking, waterfalls, mountain biking and hand-gliding amongst other outdoor activities. You’ll certainly get no complaints of your guests being bored.
Where To Go: Lyon, France
What To Do: Explore and gorge
With direct flights available from London, Manchester and Birmingham, it’s never been easier to reach the capital city in the Rhône-Alpes region.
National Geographic Traveller calls the gastronomic tradition of the city “so intrinsic, inhabitants often forget to tell everyone else.”
All good foodies must pay their respects to the lively food market, Les Halles de Lyon. Start the day here before wandering through the traboules for some lunch. You’ll be sure to find traditional tastes at eating establishments across the city.
Wine, cheese, almonds and sausages are considered staples, and you’ll find three of those four ingredients at Le Bistrot des Fauves. The menu changes daily, but expect mouthwatering dishes no matter the day of the week. For a sweet treat, head to Bernachon. The family-owned business has been making chocolate from bean to bar since the seventies.
For dinner, look for a traditional bouchon with red-checked tablecloths. The gastronomic history of Lyon began with these taverns that were run by women to serve labourers of the city. Stuff your face and roll into bed with a full heart – and belly.
End your final day with a food tour. Le Food Trip offers bespoke self-guided tours. Their food passport provides a map with locations of six to twelve food tastings across the city. We can’t promise your wedding wear won’t need altering after this weekend of celebrations.
Where To Go: Bath, England
What To Do: relax and soak up the atmos
The City of Bath is known for many things: Jane Austen, Romans, Georgian Architecture. Lesser known, however, is the myriad of beautiful brunch spots. Start your day in Bath’s branch of The Botanist. The newly opened secret garden of food and drink is porn for plant lovers, and the venue promotes seriously relaxing botanical vibes. Soft lighting, dreamy interiors and delicious food, The Botanist is the perfect place to begin a relaxed day of celebrations in the city.
Take a stroll on Milsom Street, the beating heart of a thriving independent business scene. We recommend the Tea House Emporium, French Grey and Topping & Company for heavenly scents, self-care candles and pocket-sized mantras.
When the afternoon begins to fade, head over to the Thermae Bath Spa. With a heated open-air rooftop pool, natural thermal bath and wellness suite, you can slide into married life calm, content and knot-free.
Treat your party to an aromatherapy massage to enhance the mind, body and soul. Treatment packages are available at the historic spa, offering everything from facials to body care. Then, move to the Cross Bath. The intimate, open-air thermal bath can be hired for private use for up to ten people. Sip a glass of prosecco – or two – and watch the sunset melt the buttery stone of the World Heritage City.
For Party Players
Where To Go: Manchester, England
What To Do: dance and party!
Let’s be honest, pre-wedding parties aren’t complete without a few drunken moments (or a highly-documented weekend of them) and although we always recommend drinking responsibly, we’re aware that shots and props pay homage to those last days of single life.
Manchester has been named the best city in the UK for a night out and with vibrant bars, bustling nightclubs and a thriving late-night food scene, it’s not hard to understand why. Start the evening with cocktails in Cottonopolis, recently voted one of the best cocktail bars in Manchester.
The night is still young, so head to Lucky Voice for karaoke. Not your scene? Try Cruz 101, one of the city’s longest running gay clubs that has gorgeous decor, a main club and a basement club with different DJs and music each night. Once you’re ready to go home, soak up that alcohol with a northern night out staple. Cheesy chips and gravy. You’ll thank us in the morning.
Where To Go: London, England
What To Do: indulge your guilty pleasures
Warner Bros Studio Tour. Need we say anymore? Embrace that childhood nostalgia with a visit to where the magic of Harry Potter was brought from page to screen.
When you’re done exploring props, flying brooms and buying out the gift shop, catch the shuttle bus into central London for a walking tour of iconic film locations in the city. Available tours include Bridget Jones and Sherlock Holmes among others.
Hungry? The Natural History Museum is a great alternative lunch spot, with the Science Museum and the V&A Museum in easy reach. Spend the afternoon walking with dinosaurs, discovering elements and puzzling over art.
For dinner, we recommend Evans & Peel, a noir-themed detective dining experience with a secret entrance. Be sure to make an appointment with the secretary.
When the night is over, rest your head at the Ibis Styles Southwark Hotel. This themed hotel has rooms inspired by much-loved stage shows like The Wizard of Oz and Phantom of the Opera.
For the Crew with Different Friend Groups
Combining your pre-wedding festivities into one joint party is an excellent way to double the fun.
If your crew is less of the party-raging type and leans more towards laid-back forms of fun, you’ll want some party games on hand. If you and your partner’s friend group don’t know each other very well, give this icebreaker bingo game a try—it’s perfect for giving your guests the chance to mingle and get to know each other better before the big day.
To play the game, everyone in the group is tasked with finding people who admit to the characteristics listed on the bingo card. Once you make a match, have that person write their name in the corresponding box. The first person to complete an entire row across, down or diagonally is the winner!
For the Competitive Crew
If you want to add a bit of friendly competition to your joint celebration, put your friends to the test with how well they know the soon-to-be-wed.
This activity is a fun way to find out how well your friends know the bride and groom.
To play, start a timer and have each party guest answer as many questions as possible on the trivia questionnaire. Then, have the happy couple read the correct answers out loud while the guests score themselves.
Expect some laughs when the truth of how well your friends know you are revealed!