Monday, 4 February 2019

My First Hen Party: Tranquility House, Carlingford

At the end of January I attended my first ever hen party, having not attended one before I was very unsure what to expect - all I can say so far is the bar has been set very high. I was overjoyed when my cousin announced her engagement, especially as it is the first close family member of mine to get married. My other cousin/made of honour was wearing the trousers in this situation telling us a time and a place, keeping everything very much a surprise up until the few days before hand and throughout the weekend. Catching a flight to Dublin then driving for about 1hr 20mins we arrived at the beautiful Tranquility House, Carlingford where we would be spending the weekend.

Arriving on the Friday evening we were surprised how easily the drive was from the airport, mostly on a straight road until maybe the last 20 minutes. Even in the night sky we could tell the area was beautiful situated right next to the coast. Although my family and I have taken our fair share of trips to Ireland this is the furtherest North we have been, which was something new and exciting for all of us. It was also slightly more special to share this with my mum, sister, auntie and two cousins. 

We soon pulled up to Tranquility House, which lives up to its name. Based on the top of a quiet side road we were wowed from the get go. The character this house has is not something I have had the pleasure of viewing let alone staying in before. It was originally a church which has now been converted keeping its original features with a modern twist. For example the arched windows are still visible but the glass inside has been updated to transparent to let the light flood in. The extension is seamless with the flow between old and new going pass without notice. The open space was ideal for hosting with the kitchen living room and dining area being the centre of the home. With a few additional bachelorette party additions like balloons, Photo Booth props and photos of the bride-to-be I knew we were in for a treat.

As the other guests trickled in we all awaited the main arrival, who had no idea what was planned. Her expression as she opened the door was priceless and completely overwhelmed by what her bridesmaids were able to organise. After a the full meet and greet we all sat down for our first dinner together which was prepared by the mother of the bride (my auntie) which was delicious, of course. She went to such effort to make sure we were all catered for and with lots of options for dessert too! We all gathered after on the couches and toasted to the weekend ahead before heading to bed (which we already were rather dreamy).

Just when I thought it couldn’t get much better, waking up and seeing everything in the daylight exceeded my expectations once again. Breakfast in bellies we got ready for a fun day of activities in the town centre, only a short minibus ride away. We were split in to two teams for an escape room and scavenger hunt, then swapped and did the opposite. With questions orientated around the bride and groom to be it was a great way to bond as a group, see the sites of Carlingford and test our brains. The concept was so personal you could tell how much thought had gone in to it all and naturally we were all smiling and laughing even through the rain at points. Competitive streaks were certainly shining, maybe even beaming at this point - the draw result still not satisfying many people in the teams (lets just say we were the winners). 

We headed back to a wonderful afternoon tea spread with everything from cakes, scones and sandwiches to doughnuts, cookies and cheesecake! Can confidently say I didn't hold back on this trip, inhaling everything in site. Whilst most people followed this post-food coma with a nap, I used the empty rooms to my advantage getting a few shots in with my mum as photographer. With such beautiful surroundings there was no way I wasn’t going to try and squeeze in some content, made much easier with the stunning backdrops. The hardest things choosing which ones I wanted to do first.

Make-up redone and evening attire on all members of the hen party congregated for cocktails and a tapas dinner made by an in-house chef, the smell before we even got to the table left us eagerly anticipating what was going to be served. Being a family favourite it went down a hit with all guests with plenty of drinks to go round. We soon moved on to a number of games including Mr and Mrs quiz, how well do you know the bride quiz followed by bridal charades. We stayed in the house all evening entertaining ourselves, which suited me perfectly. I think you are able to relax more and we could still enjoy all the classic associations like veils, sashes, willy straws, and pin the penis on the male without having to go all out messy.

Before flying back on the Sunday I was determined to enjoy the beautiful bathrooms one last time, I mean that bathtub is insane, shame it wouldn’t fit in my case or my London flat for that matter. One day I will own a rose gold roll top tub as amazing as this. Even the downstairs bathroom was equally tempting. Not to mention there was a games room, multiple bedrooms including four-poster beds fit for a princess and we were slightly obsessed with the twin meg kettles (sometimes its the small things). I think we can all agree we didn’t want to leave and would have all happily moved in, the journey back to reality was always going to be tough helped by a unforgettable weekend of memories.

Thank you Tranquility House for having us, Yvonne for inviting me to join this special step on the build up to the big day, Olivia (made of honour) and bridesmaids for your organisation and mother of the bride, Noelene as it all wouldn’t have been possible without you! Bring on the wedding…


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