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First- a sincere apology for the slacking this week. Times they are a little crazy. I escaped the New York weather last weekend in favor of a short weekend trip with my bestie to Charleston, SC and nearby Kiawah Island. It’s my favorite place on the planet, and it was a much need and super fun trip. I was taking notes for friends who are heading down for a bachelorette weekend in April. The bride in question, is super laid back and far away from the scary pink feather boa place. (me too- truth be told) So she opted for a mini-vacay with her best girls down south.  Listen up ladies… here are our suggestions.

Drinks over Charleston…
Pavilion Rooftop Bar-Market Pavilion Hotel

Market Pavillion Bar

Market Pavilion Bar

So there’s nothing more wonderful than the brand new Market Pavilion Hotel in downtown Charleston. Complete with views of historic Charleston, a cascading pool, signature cocktails, eclectic cuisine offerings and the city’s most spectacular sunsets, you will not want to miss this hot spot to kick the night off right. It’s a little bit pricey, but totally worth it. Hold out on appetizers and just and just go and enjoy the amazing view and the drinks. You might even see some heat lightening in the distance like we were. I highly recommend the Pavilion Sweet Tea Martini. It’s AMAZING. They use the always delicious Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka and layer it with freshly squeezed southern lemonade. Trust me. Another hot spot worth checking out, The Library at the Vendue Inn in historic Charleston.

Bring out your inner S.N.O.B at Dinner…
Slightly North of Broad (S.N.O.B)

S.N.O.B. Charleston, SC

S.N.O.B. Charleston, SC

One of Charleston’s most incredible dinner spots, Slightly North of Broad (S.N.O.B), one of the Maverick Southern Kitchens is the perfect place to continue the evening. Located in a 19th century brick warehouse just north of historic Broad Street, you’ll get a taste of some of the south’s best dishes.  Award-winning executive chef Frank Lee starts with the Carolina Lowcountry’s rich resources, then adds his own blend of flavors from Charleston’s multicultural heritage. I highly recommend the Pesto Gnocchi to start- sounds so simple, yet so incredibly different and delicious, and then move on to the Grilled Southern Medley complete with locally grown vegetables and don’t forget dessert. The Sour Cream Apple Pie, is like nothing you’ve ever tasted. Promise. and I really don’t like Apple Pie. It’s to die for.  The other great thing about S.N.O.B, is that they use locally grown food from nearby islands. They can accommodate groups of 12, but there is no private dining, just calm your inner snob and sit with the common folk. It won’t kill you. In fact I’m fairly certain you’ll thank me. If you’d rather test your senses elsewhere check out other Maverick kitchen restaurants, High Cotton and the Old Village Post House.

Day Trip
Kiawah Island, SC

Kiawah Island, SC

Kiawah Island, SC

I shoudn’t recommend this to you, and increase the already crowded beaches, BUT. Kiawah Island is the best place ever. Especially if you go in the off-season. It’s a mere 50 minutes from downtown Charleston, and the easiest of drives. It’s a quiet little island, with low wooden street signs, and not a commercial building in sight. If you go, rent bikes from the Kiawah Resort Bike Shop, lunch at the poolside grill at the brand new, and seriously regal Sanctuary Hotel and Resortenjoy a paddling tour of the island, or take a Sunset Cruise with a bottle of your favorite champagne.

Now. Don’t forget to get in some serious shopping on historic King Street, experience the open air market with loads of southern gifts and treats, and maybe even fit in a carriage ride. It’s a beautiful little city, and perfect for the laid back bride and her entourage to relax and enjoy a little bit of downtime before the big day.

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My friend Lisa is getting married in November of this year, and marks my 8th and final wedding of 2008.  Because many of her friends live out of town, she opted to have both her shower and bachelorette party the same weekend, therefore cutting back on travel for her friends, and the expenses that come with traveling far distances multiple times. (Which, by the way is awesome.)

 

 

In lieu of the paparazzi of peen, feather boas and bar games, Lisa opted for a party bus field trip to the Finger Lakes vineyards with 28 of her closest friends and family.

 

Lisa and the girls heading to the Wineries

Lisa and the girls heading to the Wineries

 

May I reiterate…this is such a great bachelorette party alternative. It’s so much fun, and it’s a great way for the bride and her girls to have one last hurrah before married life intervenes.  I’m told that’s when you’re not allowed to hang out with the girls anymore. (Although, I’ll go out on a limb here and say that actually hasn’t happened since 1954).

 

Getting a party bus is really the best way to do this.  Having a driver is absolutely worth it when you’ve tasted your way through half of Cayuga Lake.  If everyone chips in you can have quite the day trip underway.

 

Lisa and the girls tasting award winning Red Cat Wine at Hazlit Vineyards  

 

Lisa and the girls tasting award winning Red Cat Wine at Hazlit Vineyards

 

 

Lisa and some of her friends

Lisa and some of her friends

 

We kicked off the day with mimosas and a variety of food was on hand for later in the day.  We made our way through Cayuga and Seneca Lakes to four of the Finger Lakes wineries.  

 

Thirsty Owl Winery

Thirsty Owl Winery

 

 

Tasting at Thirsty Owl Winery

Tasting at Thirsty Owl Winery

 

 

Her shower was the next day, in the afternoon, which gave everyone substantial time to recuperate from the previous days “tastings”.  Paving a modern day bridal trail, Lisa opted for the display shower, and guests brought unwrapped gifts to her outdoor shower. I will reiterate again, how I love display showers. There is no watching the opening of gifts for hours upon hours as you sit, stuck to your seat, golf clapping along to every blender, ice cream maker and serving tray that pops out of a box.

 Guests could walk in and see EXACTLY which gifts Lisa received and move along to mix and mingle with other guests.  Some of Lisa’s more “risqué” gifts were left wrapped, which was wonderful, because Lisa was still able to open some gifts, and it added an extra element to the shower. IMPORTANT: Hand guests an envelope to fill out as they’re arriving at the shower, to address to themselves.  Then tape the envelope with their gift so it doesn’t get lost among the others.  You can also leave a pile of envelopes with pens at the door with instructions on fun paper as well.  

 

 

Yay for Display Showers!

Yay for Display Showers!

Lisa’s sister filled luggage for the honeymoon with super cute gifts like Mr. & Mrs. coozies, lingerie, flip flops and champagne. Such a cute idea! 

 

Decorating without wrapping!

Decorating without wrapping!

You can still decorate your gift without wrapping paper! Here Lisa’s wine glasses, a bottle of red and white wine tied together with matching bows let the bride know that the gift goes together.  Plus it’s decorate with these FABULOUS poofs– They’re Martha’s brilliant idea, and I’ll have a whole post dedicated to all the wonderful things you can do with them soon. But you can click the link and get the directions on how to make these wonderful decorations.

The thing with display showers is you really need to fill the time with other things to keep guests engaged in the shower. Lisa’s bridal party led a few games, which kept everyone involved.  One I had never played before was writing captions for 6 randomly selected photos of the bride.  Lisa then had to judge the captions and then give the winning table a point for each picture. It yielded some pretty funny captions and we managed to embarrass the bride a bit, which lets face it…is always one of the days objectives.

 

Other things to keep in mind when you throw a display shower is to make sure there is music somewhere flowing, add a personal touch somewhere in shower, whether it is in the menu, the cocktails or the décor.  Make it personal, keep it simple.

 

Five very drunk brides-to-be with their posses of scantily clad bridesmaids in tow threw down in a Battle of the Bachelorettes this weekend in Newport, RI. Ridiculous getup’s ranged from a Red-Sox hat/veil and feather boas to plastic peenie weenie straws and drink stirrers.  Even a giant blow up penis went parading down Thames Street, getting horrified looks from both the yuppie Newport locals, and the bachlorette’s partying sans plastic peen for the night.

Newport, RI. Home to the tawdriest bachelorette parties this side of Boston. Who knew?  I actually couldn’t believe the number of women out celebrating their last night of “freedom” in this tiny seaside resort. Having been to Newport once about six years ago, I anticipated your typical preppy seaside resort town complete with boys in boat shoes, popped collars and everything pretty in pink and green.  Not so, at least not so at night…

No, Newport is filled with cover bands that play Sweet Home Alabama and Don’t Stop Believin’ on repeat, men dressed as Captain Morgan, and yes… a couple of New England yuppies who got lost on their way to the Hamptons.

But, it is one of the most fun places I’ve ever been to. It’s really beautiful, and if you can make time to do anything outside the bar for the weekend, do it. The Salve Regina cliff walk is really beautiful and walking distance from downtown Newport. There are sails around the island, and fancy shmancy places you can pretend you belong at like the roof bar at the Hotel Viking, the dining room at the Mooring House, where Giada DeLaurentis went on her RI weekend getaway and Castlehill resort, which offers cocktails on the lawn every afternoon at sunset.

But, for those of you just looking to party out in the traditional Bachlorette style in Newport, read some helpful tips to remember for a successful weekend away.

1. Take rides from Strangers: Otherwise you might not get home. There are a total of eight cabs in Newport, RI, and when the bars say last call, those streets fill up like State Street on a Saturday night when SUNY’s in session.  It’s pretty easy for nine girls to flag down a pick-up truck (or a Civic) for a free ride home if you just ask nicely.

WARNING:  Be careful. Don’t try this at home. Especially with less than 5 people, 2 of which aren’t at least something close to what you would refer to as sober. Also, beware of PVC piping in the truck bed.

All in all – pretty bad idea. But it beats walking up hills in heals.

2.  Make use of what you’ve got: There is no “adult entertainment” in Newport, unless you count watching the drunks stumble home. However, there’s nothing wrong with “asking around” to “see” if anyone in your general vicinity… including but not limited to hot, young bell boys, “happen to know anyone” who “may or may not be willing to provide some entertainment when they get off work.” Just don’t make the poor little things panic and break into a nervous sweat. Watch your wording too.  Pretty sure that other kind of favor could land you in jail.

3. Flasks are mandatory: Bringing these little babies with you to the bar will significantly decrease your bar bill. That or, raid the mini bar for nips before you leave the hotel and stuff them in your purse.  Drinks are yet another of Newport’s overpriced commodities.  Plus, some Newport bartenders are a little bit on the slow side, and you might be better off going to the bathroom to spike the punch than wait behind six girls ordering a round of red headed sluts.

4. Watch out for the little ones… they bite: If you find yourself in the company of a brood of highly intoxicated and fairly unattractive men, who a) can’t stop sweating b) can’t stand up straight, and c) continue to fall into you to the tune of the Dropkick Murphy’s, take a few steps back, and wait for the smallest of your friends to tell the guy off. He’ll be so confused that the littlest one is screaming, he won’t know what to do except apologize, kiss you on the cheek and be on his merry way.

5. Watch the bride… or you just might lose her:
When the night is over it’s pretty easy to lose track of people. Try very hard not to lose track of the blinking bachelorette in her pink feather boa. They tend to wander away, shoeless attempting to get into vans filled with people they think they know. Taking her phone away might not be a bad idea either…in general this is a good idea for any and all serial drunk dialers in the group, but particularly helpful if her fiancé happens to be at his bachelor party at the same time. But if you want a good laugh… let her keep it and watch her attempt to lie her ass off about the hypothetical nonsense that ensued through the night to the best man. Now, that is priceless.

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