A decade in the making: My Marb-ellous hen do

19 Aug 2019

As her wedding date draws ever closer, Alicia Dunning celebrates in style with her best friends in Marbella

When you get engaged there are a few questions that you can guarantee you’ll be asked by almost everyone you speak to and one of these is “Where are you going on your hen/stag do?”. Of course, there’s a whole world out there so a lot of options are available to you, but for me and my friends there was only ever really one …. Marbella!

Other than the destination and the dates I knew absolutely nothing about my hen do until the day we left for the airport, which as a self-confessed control freak made me nervous. However, when they finally gave me a full itinerary at the airport, I couldn’t believe how amazing it all sounded. The girls also gave me a 'Bride' beach bag packed with my essentials: veil, headband, sunglasses, sash, garter, inappropriate straws and hangover kit. We started the holiday as we do with every girls’ holiday… a bottle of prosecco and eggs benedict (despite the fact it was still only 4am).

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As soon as we touched down in Marbs we headed straight for the beach for some frozen strawberry daiquiris and to take in the scenes before heading back to our apartment and spend the afternoon around our private pool.

We headed to the Puerto Banus marina front on our first night and started at Sinatra's Bar with a few vodkas, looking out at the yachts and dodging the steady flow of ferraris, Aston Martins and one very out of place Smart car. The marina area is absolutely stunning and some of the yachts are out of this world – definitely worth a visit. We visited a few bars on the marina front before heading to the night club VuDu.

For any brides contemplating a hen do in Marbs I have one word of warning – all the bars/clubs love to give the bride to be a free drink or shot. While fun at the time, I can assure you it did not feel like a great idea when I woke up the next morning still wearing the dress I’d gone out in and with what felt like a drill pounding on my head.

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A quick Alka-Seltzer and shower and it was time to get back on it, heading to La Sala Beach for a pool party on the Saturday. The theme was 'all black everything', well except for me. We had a few themes across the weekend but I’d say the most prominent one was 'more is more'. If you’re having a Marbs hen party, you might as well go all out... and we did! La Sala was great, it felt very chilled to start off with but picked up as the day progressed and by the early afternoon, the party was in full swing with DJ and live sax player around the pool getting everyone up dancing.

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On Saturday evening the girls surprised me, again, with a booking at Elliott Wright’s restaurant Olivia’s La Cala. We even had Elliott’s table which is right next to the stage and is considered the best seats in the house. The food was delicious and the live entertainment was great, but I’d say the best part of the restaurant is later on in the evening when the mood changes from chilled vibes to a full on party. We absolutely loved it and ended up staying all evening; the music was fab, the service was great and the overall atmosphere was next level.

What made it extra special for me was when I took a quick trip to the ladies and came back to find all of my friends sat with Phil face masks on! I was taken aback to say the least, but it was absolutely hysterical and even more so when they started dancing with them on.

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Sunday was our last full day and the girls had saved the very best surprise until last… a pool party at SiSu Boutique with none other than Craig David. I can tell you now there were some sore throats from the screaming and singing at that pool party – and we won’t even mention the Instagram stories (thank god they delete after 24 hours).

Again, we had a theme for the day which was leopard print. The girls had bought me a white leopard print swimming costume and I had a very subtle white tutu – as I said, ‘more is more’. The pool party was probably my favourite part of the whole hen do and I can’t believe they’d managed to book it for us all and how great Craig David was live. Honestly it was a day I’ll never forget – for the most part, there are a few elements which are a bit hazy.

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We stayed at SiSu until the bitter end then had a quick 45-minute costume change and freshen up before heading out for our final night. We spent our last evening at Pangea’s rooftop club. Pangea is on the marina front and has views for miles. Despite the 8am airport pick-up the following morning we wanted to make the most of our final night and didn’t leave until 4am. I’d recommend a visit to Pangea if you can fit it in, the views were amazing and there was a great vibe and music.

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Despite the horrendous hungover flight home with only three hours sleep which then turned into a three-day hangover when we got home. The hen do was the best weekend away I’ve ever had and I honestly couldn’t thank my friends enough for everything they’d done for me. The weekend was packed with laughs and fun from start to finish and I’ve got memories that I’ll cherish forever.

I’m having a home hen do later in September to celebrate with people who couldn’t make it to Marbs and then we’ll be counting down the final days until the actual wedding.

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