Natalie of Boudoir Girls has rocked away with the title of “Mrs2be.ie Bride’s Choice Award” for Hen & Stag Provider in Ireland for the past two years running, and by getting a chance to interview her for the Mrs2be Blog this week, it’s not hard to see why!
Boudoir Girls specialise in styled photo shoots, offering brides and their mates the perfect excuse to get all dolled up before the Big Day and have major craic while being papped looking like major hotties! Who’d say no to that?! Natalie created the whole concept for fun glamorous and themed hen party photoshoots back in 2009, and since has shot over 4000 happy ladies – and a couple of happy gents too! The Boudoir Girls provide props and costumes for anything from glamorous Gatsby and retro-style pin-ups to boho, burlesque, back-to-the-eighties and whatever else tickles your fancy! Today we asked her what her favourite themes to shoot are, how she manages to make her girls feel amazing on front of the camera, and why she thinks Boudoir Girls has become such a success in Ireland!
First up Natalie, what is your favourite theme to shoot at a hen party?
My favourite theme to date is a vintage tea party hen theme. It’s a retro 1950’s themed hen and it’s such a fabulous look for a group of hens. It can be done in a very rockabilly style or a more Mad Men dishy housewives-themed look and it’s such a fun option for all ages. The polka dresses we provide are bright and colourful and lend themselves so well to the photographs – along with the obligatory red lippy! I honestly have never met anyone that this theme didn’t look amazing on.
Any more themes you love to shoot?
I love a ‘slumber party’ theme. It’s so much fun to do on a Friday night as a relaxing but glam get together or on the Saturday with a more sophisticated or vintage feel to it before going out on the town. Anyone who loved sleepovers with their besties growing up will love it. I also love a ‘Gatsby hen theme’ ’cause it brings a little Sex and the City feel to a night out. ‘Back to the 80’s’ is a great one for girls who loved a bit of Madonna back in the day – it’s a brilliant excuse to go wild with makeup and the music in the background is guaranteed to get the party started. Everyone loves it.
Some girls can be quite shy in front of the camera and some even dread having their photo taken – how do you help them relax and be themselves?
I get the hens to relax in front of the camera by showing them how to move or pose for each photo and by reenacting it myself first at times so they see how to do it. Of course there are a few selfie queens out there who have it off to a tee and that is fantastic for me, but I know I am totally awkward when the camera is on me so I can relate to the girls who cringe at the thoughts of it! We capture everyone’s best assets with good posing. If someone is super conscious of something like a birthmark or a spot or their teeth or whatever they know they can trust me with the retouch on the image afterwards… and the older ladies can rest assured I do soften the wrinkles unless otherwise requested ! Once they know they will be getting the celebrity treatment they ease up a little… and a glass of Prosecco helps too!
What’s been the funniest theme you’ve shot for a hen?
I have such a laugh with all the groups I shoot in so many different ways it’s hard to pick just one. The funniest or wildest would be a toss up between slumber party with pillow fights, dancing and singing karaoke, or a crazy Father Ted night complete with jelly shots and horse head masks singing My Lovely Horse. I love the Father Ted theme for the sheer craic we have on it.
There are some great props and accessories in your photos – do you provide them or do the girls bring them along themselves?
We provide a range of different options for the hen party from full costumes on themes like Retro or rockabilly, eithiers, sailor girls, air hostess, burlesque, slumber party, and we have props like wigs and accessories for Hollywood themes, and for themes like Gatsby, Father Ted, Disney, 007, boho, Breakfast at Tiffany’s , glitter and glam… We can help style any theme the bride wants even if its not on our list. It depends on which package the bride and her friends choose… If it’s just with me it’s generally an hour photoshoot time but with our makeover package it’s essentially two activities rolled into one. That would take three or four hours in total.
What do you think makes hen night photoshoots so popular with Irish brides?
I think they are popular because it’s the one hen activity where brides get timeless images of themselves and their friends and family all looking amazing. When they go for the makeover option they are then set for their night out too so they feel good as well as look good! The themes give everyone that ‘Halloween’ feeling where everyone is giggly at the thoughts of dressing up and looking super glamorous. Most hen parties include a few moms like myself who just adore the thoughts of getting away from the housewife chores for a night, being pampered and actually getting to be in a photograph instead of always taking them!