Photobooth Hire

Photobooth Hire

In our experience as seasoned wedding pros, that reception lull between the meal and the dancing can swing one of two ways: Slumpy, where overfed drunk guests have nothing to play with and fall into rambling deep'n'meaningfuls at their ex's table, or Sparky, where, like a good nursery teacher, the bride has laid on some brightly-coloured distractions to keep her class motivated and fired up.
If you'd rather your guests fall into the latter troupe, rethink your budget and allocate a portion to some fun and memorable reception entertainment.
We're not talking fire-eating tarot-reading contortionists, just clever ideas that everyone can be part of and one of the biggest trending out there right now is the photobooth. They're popping up everywhere, from New York Fashion Week parties to boutique openings and nightclubs. The concept is simple playground silliness - pile a group of guests together and let them pull funny faces, which seem SO RIGHT at the time, and capture the moment for a lifetime of taunts. Meanwhile you and your groom can get dolled-up to pose for a perfectly adorable strip of cute 'peck on the cheek' snaps, that you can cleverly have re-printed as an alternative thank-you card. Genius.
You can hire traditional and retro booths from www.boothnation.com (from £1,545) or a smaller, more affordable digital booth from www.sayfromage.co.uk (from £500). Or take it one step further and hire a mini studio from www.wonderscene.com. For five hours, at a cost of £850, you get a photographer, a ton of props (like a red carpet, dressing up box and picture frames), backgrounds and professional lighting. You'll also get a free guest book, an unlimited amount of 6"x4" prints and a DVD of all your photos (that's where the taunting comes in).
Sparky, silly, childish fun. What's not to love?

Called To The Bar

Called To The Bar

Hen partying in London but can't decide where to go? Then check out BarChick, a new website and iPhone app which provides the lowdown on the hottest nightspots in the capital. The brainchild of party planner Tatiana Mercer - who has worked on events from film parties in Cannes to actress Margo Stilley's upcoming wedding - BarChick features the latest bar openings, and has a search function that lets you look for venues by area, vibe and date. Once you've found a suitably stylish spot, you can forward the link to your girls via Facebook, Twitter or MySpace so they know where they've got to be (maps are included) and when. Easy. Find out more at www.barchick.com

Mix It Up

Mix It Up

It's a good idea to put items on your wedding gift list that range in price so there is something to match each guests' budget. Kitchen appliances, like this stylish kMix Stand Mixer (£399) are a great choice for your high price category. The new limited edition striped version, of which there are just 40 in each colourway, comes with a range of handy attachments including the iconic K-beater, balloon whisk and dough hook. With a 500W motor and electric speed control, it's a kitchen classic that no newlywed couple's kitchen should be without. Available from Harrods and www.kenwoodworld.com

Paint The Town Red

Paint The Town Red

We're often looking out for the latest brilliant hen party idea so when we were let into the latest fabulous launch to come out of the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park we couldn't wait to spread the word! This month the 'Paint the Town Red' package will launch to much elation from hens all around the country and it simply has to be the chicest option!

Guests will check into their room and indulge in a pampering mani or pedi nail paint and polish by the award-winning spa team and once perfected you'll be invited to step into a taxi which will whisk you away to Christian Louboutin's flagship London store on Mayfair's Mount Street. There you will be plied with a glass of champagne and other treats whilst you try on their exquisite shoes.

After purchasing your favourite pair or pairs, you'll return to the hotel where the concierge will assist by taking your shopping bags up to your room so that you can settle into 'Paint the Town Red' cocktails at the Mandarin Bar.

The next morning slip on your favourite new purchase before heading to Bar Boulud for brunch and of course a bottle of red wine or two Bloody Marys - after all its only right to toast your new shoes!

Now that's my idea of the perfect hen party!

£495 based on two people sharing, exclusive of VAT and discretionary service charge. Valid until December 2011 and subject to availability. Bookings and cancellations must be made a minimum of 72 hours in advance. Reservations can be made by contacting the hotel directly on 020 7235 2000.