I went to a hen-party at the weekend. The bride to be is the daughter of a close friend, in fact she is one of my surrogate daughters. The theme of the party was the 1950s Wife.
What fun we had. We had to drive about 75 minutes from Wellington over the Rimutaka Range to get to Martinborough. It was a lovely, sunny summer day apart from gale force winds that raged throughout the day.
The party started at 11am at the house of one of the bride’s future sisters in law. The house and garden were decorated a la 1950. Doylies hung from trees, bright red lanterns also swung in the breeze. The tables sported lace tablecloths (where did they all come from) and there were antimacassars on the backs of a couple of chairs.
After champagne and ‘girlish’ chatter and talk we took off for lunch. This was in the Trio Cafe at Coney Wines. The Martinborough area is probably the centre of wine making in the North Island of New Zealand.
We were seated at a large table in the courtyard but because of the wind, the covers were all in place before we arrived. All 18 of us had an envelope with our name on it and inside was a pithy comment relating to the 1950s. We were encouraged to join in the wine tasting; each wine was accompanied by witty talk from the winemaker and owner of the vineyard and cafe.
The hostess had prepared a set of cards with questions that she had asked the groom about the bride. Each of us in turn asked the bride what her groom would have answered to each of the questions. Questions and answers were hilarious – or was it the champagne, wine tasting and wine with lunch?
After a long. relaxed lunch we went back to the house. There the games continued. Because of my big red Santa boot, I was given a seat and with one other woman was declared to be the judge of what happened next.
The women divided into two teams and were given ribbons, sellotape, staples and stapler and white embossed paper – looked like wallpaper to me. They were charged with making wedding dresses. They had about 20 minutes to complete the chore but as the timer was me, and as my watch has no figures on it, it was pretty hit and miss. But what great things these women produced from these basic items. We declared a dead heat as they were both so good!
Wine all round amidst the laughter and chatter and then on to the next game.
The bride has 15 minutes to complete each in a series of exercises to decide whether she was fit to be a 1950s wife and this all happened outside in the sunshine, with women of different ages and in different stages of alcoholic consumption cheering her on.
But first the bride had to don a pinny (pinafore/apron) – pink and white frilly; long white stockings adorned with red hearts; a pair of fluffy pink slippers and the final insult, rollers in the hair. What a sight. Photos are still on the way.
The first task was to make pancakes. She was given a dog-eared copy of an old NZ cookbook, eggs, milk, flour and a bowl and whisk and was then expected to cook these things on a barbecue – note here that nobody thought to turn the thing on so the pancakes were not very good. My fellow judge and I awarded her 7 out of 10 because we took into account that she was operating under difficulty.
Task No 2 – wash husband’s shirt. Well this time she had a small bowl, cold water and some dishwashing liquid. Shirt was dunked into soapy water but because there was no clean water supplied, had to be hung on the line without being rinsed. To the accompaniment of much encouragement she hung the shirt but discussion ensued as to the best way to hang shirts. The two judges decreed that shirts should be hung draped across the line and pegged under the armpits. Well otherwise the shirt sleeves were dragging on the floor. Points out of 10 – 7 because she kept listening to the others instead of the knowledgable judges.
And finally, she had to iron a shirt. Again, nobody turned on the iron and so we had to wait for it to heat up. But she did so well that we awarded her 10 points and all decided that she had done so well that she deserved a cheer and we said she could keep the stockings, slippers etc because they really suited her.
By this time it was about 6pm and we decided to go home leaving the young women to enjoy the rest of their evening.
As a 1950’s bride/housewife I could remember when a Kenwood Chef or a Sunbeam Mixmaster was considered an appropriate Christmas gift for ‘the wife’. Fortunately, not for me. What a fun day we had and I was so very privileged to have been made part of it.
And for some more fun advertisements from long ago visit the post I wrote in August “And Today’s Offers”
- Oh when the Saints, Go Marching In… (thewineprofilers.wordpress.com)
- Growing on the edge: Wine tasting in the southernmost wine region of the world (gadling.com)