My recent engagement occurred after a beautiful girl?s day spent sipping along the Connecticut Wine Trail. My first thought after he got down on one knee was, ?WOW ? this is the best day of my life!? And then (even though I know it?s technically not my job to plan) was ?Where am I going to have my bachelorette party!??
Other than the BIG Day, the most exhilarating event for the bride and her crew is of course, the bachelorette party. Many brides-to-be choose vineyards and wineries as a venue for their wedding, bridal showers, and bachelorette parties for the atmosphere and the wine. With over 26 vineyards and wineries from southeastern CT to the Litchfield Hills to choose from, the Connecticut Wine Trail has an array of scenery and wine selections that will satisfy any wino?s palate. So grab that wine glass and get to planning!
Here are the top 5 things you need to do for a successful ‘Fling Before the Ring’ on the Connecticut Wine Trail.
- Time to Wine + Dine: Setting the Date + Itinerary
Setting the date and itinerary takes the most organization throughout the planning process! Take into consideration the date, time, and group size of your fling. What type of celebration are you looking for? If you?re looking to vineyard-hop, I?d recommend staying within 3-4 vineyard visits in one day. On my recent trip, I visited Jonathan Edwards Winery, Stonington Vineyards, and Saltwater Farm Vineyard, which were all within 15 miles of one another, making it nice and easy to sip and enjoy the grounds at our leisure!
What season are you looking to celebrate? The bachelorette is usually planned a few weeks before the wedding, but if guests are coming from near and far, you may want to plan around their travel schedule. Weekends in the summer will be very busy with other winery-goers, while mid to late fall will be a bit quieter.
Insider?s Tip: It is ALWAYS recommended to contact your local wineries with the details of your event, and any large groups of 8 or more beforehand. If you have bridesmaids under 21, some vineyards may not be able to accommodate. Coming by limo? Ask if they have limo parking available.
- Partners in Wine: The Invitee List
Once the itinerary is set in stone, it?s time to create your guest list and send out those invitations! Surprise party or not, don?t leave your bride in the dark; remember to ask for her personal guest list! To ensure you have all family and friends at the celebration, plan and notify invitees of the date (or date options – use a Doodle Poll) and the itinerary a few months in advance, allowing them to prepare accordingly.
Insider?s Tip: Facebook Events is an easy and seamless free tool to keep your invitees in-the-know about the day?s festivities.
- Don?t Make ?Pour? Decisions: Booking Transportation
The most important factor while sipping your way through the Trail is safe transportation (AKA a Designated Driver – DD). The CT Wine Trial works with reliable Tourism Partners like Gateway Limousine Inc. to ensure you get to and from your location safe and sound. Besides, there are too many other aspects of the celebration you need to focus on, so let the experts chauffer you and the bride brigade! Pricing will vary, but there are plenty of options such as Uber or having your own designated driver in the party.
- You look Grape: Squad Uniforms + Party D?cor
With stunning views of the rolling hills and vines, decorations are not a necessity, but a little glitter and wine-pun swag never hurt! Wine-themed merchandise and decorations including T-shirts, totes, sunglasses, and napkins with “Vino before the Vows,”?“Ros? all Day,”?“Hakuna Moscato,? and ?Fine like Wine? sayings are just some of the many fun items that can be customized and ordered! My best friend sent me this stemless bride-to-be glass, which will be my very own bridal chalice throughout the day and many other outings in the meantime.
Insiders Tip: Remember keep it clean, PG and respectful of your neighbors enjoying their vineyard experience; ensure that your bachelorette d?cor is fun, yet tasteful and appropriate for the viewing of all ages.
- The Perfect Pair: Packing the Picnic Basket
Check in advance which CT vineyards allow picnics, as some have their own bistros on-site and do not allow outside food. But for the most part, B.Y.O.F (bring your own food) is the second-best thing (other than the wine of course) about visiting the vineyards! When packing your picnic basket, I?d suggest keeping it simple and portable as you travel from spot to spot. Remember: outside beverages are not permitted under state law.
Insider?s Tip: Here are some of my personal favorite, basic wine paring suggestions. Make sure you have some delicious carbs like crackers, pita, or sliced French baguettes to complement your wine and other nibbles. Chocolate-covered almonds or strawberries…anything chocolate is a must-have! Hummus, baba ghanoush or other dips (White Wine Cheese Dip recipe here) are great to pair along with cheeses:
- When Drinking White Wine: Cheeses like Goat Cheese, Brie, and Gruyere
- When Drinking Red Wine: Cheeses like Smoked Mozzarella, Gouda, and Fontina pair nicely with various red wines and assorted meats
Enjoy every step of this exciting adventure, as there is so much to do after the proposal! If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to your local vineyards or me! Remember you CAN?T go wrong with a bachelorette party along the Connecticut Wine Trail: it?s feasible, Instagramable, and most importantly a memorable girlfriend getaway.
Cheers, my friends!
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