20 Sep Beautiful Napa Valley Bachelorette Party Weekend
In case you didn’t know, I’m the oldest of 5 children, and four of us are girls. My husband and I got married in 2011. Then the next-sister-in-line, Claire, got married in 2014. Carly, who’s next behind her, is getting married to a boy she met in preschool [yes, seriously so cute] in a little over a week and I could not be more excited for her! [The others are still too young to get married so we’ll let them take their time!] As a Matron of Honor [my sister, Claire is the other Matron and my youngest sister, Cathlyn, is the Maid of Honor], it was up to me and my sisters to plan the most wonderful bachelorette weekend away for our precious Carly!
This summer, we decided to pack our bags and head to the beautiful Napa Valley for a bachelorette party that the bride and her bridesmaids would never forget. Napa is such a special place to me. It’s where my husband and I spent our honeymoon. I love the essence of Napa – the wines, the nature, the food… I can’t tell you how near and dear this place is to my heart. So, when Carly chose this location for her special weekend, my heart burst with excitement.
Before I share the details with you all, let me tell you that I started the planning and preparation for this weekend back in February. I found out I was pregnant 2 weeks before we left. I do not recommend being newly pregnant and traveling anywhere, but most definitely not a place where the wine tastes better than the water, and where you’re surrounded by amazing young women who keep asking you “When are y’all going to have another baby?” and you have to keep it a secret. Can’t complain, though… just BEING in Napa is a pleasure enough. It’s so gorgeous there!
Here’s the invitation we sent out. It was illustrated by the talented Missy Harris in Austin. Didn’t she do an AMAZING job?
Thursday, July 20th
On Thursday, the ladies arrived in San Francisco, where they loaded up on a bus for a trip across the Golden Gate Bridge and over to the Napa Valley. My mom, my sister, Claire and I had arrived a day early and checked the entire party into the Meadowood Hotel, where we would be spending our weekend celebration. Meadowood is unique because it’s tucked into the valley. You’re surrounded by trees and placed into mini cabins, where you wake up in the middle of nature. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience. The amenities are fabulous and the rooms are gorgeous. The suite that the girls were staying in was unlike anything else – it was unbelievable.
As soon as we could get into the girls’ suite, we ran in to decorate and set up all the fun things we had waiting for them. Of course, we couldn’t plan a weekend event without some awesome wine-centered swag, so each girl arrived to a set of pajamas, a wine carrier filled with goodies, a darling, felt sunhat, a personalized agenda for the weekend and more!
The girls arrived and party began. We started the night with a “Welcome Party” of sorts. Champagne, sweets, bachelorette activities and – my favorite part, The Twerk-Off. I made a bracket for us to fill out and we had “Carly’s Twerk Madness” where the girls had a dance off to see who the winner was. It was one of the more hilarious things I’ve ever seen and was a fun way to break the ice!
Friday, July 21st
Our first, full day in Napa was very busy. We were up early and headed into town for a day full of wine tasting. We started the day at my favorite winery in Napa – Cliff Lede Vineyards. If you’re in Napa, Cliff Lede is a MUST-VIST. Their wines are amazing, but their vibe is what sets them apart. The owners LOVE classic rock and each vineyard is named after a rock song. They have great music playing, guitars on the walls and some of the most gorgeous views of Napa. Whenever people ask me for my Napa Valley recommendations, the very first thing I tell them is to make sure to go to Cliff Lede. Trust me, it’s a unique experience that will make you feel like you’ve found a family there. Make sure this is a must on your Napa Valley to do list!
Usually, I try to stay away from bigger names when touring wineries in Napa, simply because I feel like you get a much different experience in the smaller, less-crowded places. So when Meadowood recommended that we visit Rutherford Hill Winery, I was a bit hesitant. Boy did I end up putting my foot in my mouth.
Y’all… the people at Rutherford Hill went above and beyond to ensure that our experience there was as unique and one-of-a-kind as possible. We had a private tasting outside in the gardens, which were just gorgeous. From there, we toured the caverns and caves that make for the most gorgeous [and nice and cool] setting! After our tour, they escorted us over to the Olive Grove where they had set a table just for our group! We sat on top of the mountain, looking out at the entire valley and enjoying the most incredible wines and lunch. It was the most breathtaking experience. Rutherford Hill has some incredible wines too. I can’t recommend visiting them enough! Just walking around their gardens and looking out at their views is enough, but to get to enjoy a beautiful and tasty lunch out there? I was in heaven.
After Rutherford Hill, we made our final stop at Hall Winery, where we had a private tasting in an old building that was built in the 1700’s. This stone and wood building used to be used for making amazing wines and the inside was decorated so gorgeously! Hall Winery is unique best of the art you’ll see there. There’s a tapestry made entirely out of costumes as you enter the building! The wines are amazing and the experience is awesome!
We headed home after Hall for nap time and to get ready for dinner. When considering the theme for Friday night’s dinner, I wanted to incorporate something fun about the bride! Carly studied abroad in Spain, so I found these darling Spanish rose hair clips on Etsy and told all the girls to wear black! The end result was so much fun and made for some awesome photos.
Our dinner was set in the courtyard at Bouchon, the world-renowned French Bistro by Thomas Keller in the heart of St. Helena. First of all, if you want to make a dinner reservation at any restaurant in Napa, make sure you consider Bouchon Bistro. The food is unbelievable and the service is top notch! The only way that I can describe this dinner is that it was “magical”… absolutely magical. Sitting outside in the beautiful weather, in a gorgeous, ivy-laden and gravel, European courtyard, while all these gorgeous girls sipped wine and ate amazing foods with roses in their hair – This was my favorite part of the evening, just sitting back and watching everyone enjoy the dinner. We went around the table sharing some of our favorite and hilarious memories of the bride and then ended our dinner with a champagne toast. We were all exhausted, but full of amazing wines and food and memories made. Day one was done.
Saturday, July 22nd
Day two of our Napa Valley bachelorette party weekend was just as full, but infinitely more relaxing. We started the day with breakfast and then a late-morning lingerie shower for the bride. For this, we decorated the room with more… um… scandalous… details and then had the girls come in. Meadowood catered the event with yummy breakfast treats and sweets and we sipped on champagne and toasted the bride. If you look closely at the gummy candy in the JASON trays, you’ll see a funny touch! We started with a round of “The Marriage Game” where we had a video of the groom answering the questions. It was a great way to break the ice. Then we played a hilarious game that shall not be mentioned, which made for a VERY funny morning.
Prior to the Napa Valley bachelorette weekend, my sisters and I had contacted each girl and assigned them a song. Their homework was to find some lingerie that reflected the song they were given and to creatively deliver the gift down a red carpet to the bride. Costumes and props were not mandatory, but were highly encouraged. I cannot tell you how amazed I was… each girl took complete ownership of their song… there wasn’t a performance without a costume or some sort of choreographed routine. We had a nun walk down to “Like A Virgin,” a complete memorization and execution of the “Ride That Pony” dance from Magic Mike and we even had a video entry for the one bridesmaid who couldn’t attend! Was any of it appropriate? Nope. Was every single one amazing? Absolutely! Obviously, there were no photos taken so you can use your imagination.
While this part of the party was hilarious, we still wanted to keep it classy, San Diego. And we did. I have to say it was all done in good nature, but still was appropriate enough for my mother and her best friend to be there – and they were. Yes, we have a cool mom.
After the lingerie shower, we all walked down to the pool where the Meadowood staff had set up a private pool party for us! They poured cocktails while the girls lounged poolside. It was the perfect way to spend the afternoon. [this pregnant lady had to go inside and lie down… but I’m pretty impressed with how much I was able to keep up with, especially considering how this was the week that the morning sickness hit the hardest].
After the pool, we showered and got dressed for a wonderful dinner we had planned on the Croquet Lawn at Meadowood. I told the girls to wear all white, which sounds like the opposite of what you’d wear to a bachelorette party, but I had a plan. I found these amazing grey wraps and had one at each seat and Meadowood set the most gorgeous table outside with hanging lights. We ate an incredible California Barbecue served family style and went around the table each telling why the bride was so special to us. It was truly a beautiful and touching evening. After dinner, we had a surprise for everyone – including the bride… We were off to watch Jay Leno perform a standup comedy routine in Napa! It was a huge surprise and everyone had the best time laughing!
The next morning, we were up early and off to San Francisco to catch our flights home. This Napa Valley Bachelorette Party Weekend is one that I know I will never forget and I hope that our sweet bride and all of her bridesmaids never forget it either! Now, time for the wedding!