If you plan to visit with a large group, be courteous and call ahead to each winery to see if they can accommodate you. Some wineries are less picnic-friendly than others.
Visit the Connecticut Wine Trail website (www.ctwine.com) for a list of wineries, a trail map and suggestions for local restaurants, lodging and transportation resources.
Ahhhh, spa: You’ll all want to look your best before the wedding, so why not hit the spa for rejuvenating beauty treatments? Enjoy some girl-bonding over manicures and pedicures, facials and body wraps – a great way to de-stress.
Where to go: If you’re looking for a getaway, consider a Connecticut destination spa. On the shoreline, there’s Water’s Edge Resort and Spa in Westbrook and Saybrook Point Inn in Old Saybrook., Mayflower Inn & Spa in the Litchfield Hills and The Spa at Norwich Inn in the state’s eastern corner.
The Spa at Norwich Inn, 607 West Thames Street, Norwich, 860-886-2401, thespaatnorwichinn.com
Water's Edge Resort & Spa, 1525 Boston Post Road, Westbrook, 860-399-5901, watersedge-resort.com
Saybrook Point Inn, 2 Bridge Street, Old Saybrook, 860-395-2000, saybrook.com
Mayflower Inn, 118 Woodbury Road, Washington, 860-868-9466, mayflowerinn.com
Cooking up fun: If your bride loves getting creative in the kitchen, consider bringing the group to a cooking class. Sur La Table in Canton hosts a series of monthly cooking courses and workshops, covering everything from basic knife skills to complex ethnic dishes.
Sur La Table, 110 Albany Tpke # 609, Canton, 860-693-9560, surlatable.com
Dining tapas-style: Instead of a big dinner, treat your bride to small plates and drinks at a trendy bar.
In Blue Back Square, sample 68 wines by one, three or five-ounce pours and accompanying cheeses, charcuterie and chocolates at Uncorked (63 Memorial Drive, West Hartford, 860-216-2620, uncorkedct.com.) Down the street at Cuvee (37 Raymond Road, 860-756-5590, cuveect.com), enjoy champagne cocktails, creative martinis, sushi and crostini while relaxing on comfortable banquettes.
For a European-style celebration, bring the party to Barcelona (locations in West Hartford, New Haven, Stamford, Fairfield and Greenwich; barcelonawinebar.com) for authentic tapas and a huge selection of Spanish wines.
And for some city flair, you can’t go wrong with Hartford’s Bin 228 (228 Pearl Street,
Hartford, 860-244-9463, bin228winebar.com), Trumbull Kitchen (150 Trumbull Street, 860-493-7412, trumbullkitchen.com) or Max Downtown (185 Asylum Street, 860-522-2530, maxdowntown.com.)
Pole position: If your bride isn’t afraid to get a little sexy, consider a pole-dancing instruction class. Working with qualified fitness instructors, your bride just may learn some sensual new moves for the honeymoon – and beyond. Wedding party beware – keep the pictures off Facebook.
Where to go: Pole Control Studios in Hartford hosts large groups for private parties seven days a week. 75 Pratt Street, 860-246-POLE, polecontrolstudios.com.