Crystal Palate Bachelorette Parties and Bridal Showers

Move over Magic Mike, more and more Hampton Roads brides are skipping the club in favor of upscale wine tasting bachelorette parties and showers. “Many brides are trading in the shot glasses for wine stems,” says Crystal Cameron, a certified sommelier and president of Crystal Palate. She founded the wine consulting service in October 2013, after a successful career in journalism.

The process begins with a complimentary consultation and a short quiz. Cameron asks 10 to 20 questions to learn the bride’s palate, including food preferences. “Asking a simple question, such as ‘Do you take your coffee with cream and sugar?’, can help me gauge the tannin levels someone might prefer,” Cameron says. Brides may have an idea of what they like, but Crystal Palate would like to guide them toward unique wines from regions they may never have considered.

Next the bride selects a theme. One of the most popular is “Cupcake and Corks,” which features five cupcakes paired with matching wines. In “Bubbles Around the World,” Cameron teaches guests the difference between a $15 bottle of Prosecco and $150 bottle of Champagne. Each packages is customized. “We will work with a couple to tell their story through food and wine.” For example, if the couple is planning a honeymoon in Tuscany, a “Taste Of Italy” flight may fit the bill. “We want the couple’s family and friends to learn about them through their wine experience.” 

The actual party is a two-hour wine education and sensory analysis, led by Cameron. Each flight includes five wines expertly paired with cheeses, charcuterie or hors d’oeuvres for 10 to 30 guests. Brides can pick the setting of a private home, restaurant or even hotel. The flat rate fee includes food, wine, tasting notes and personalized folders for the party. “One of the best parts is that guests are together in a safe environment, and there’s no clean up for the host. We provide the stemware, dishes—even the cocktail napkins.”

Once brides begin to understand the importance of wine, it can lead to consulting services for the big day. Cameron works with Tinto, a wine shop at Hilltop in Virginia Beach (see more on them here). That relationship provides her access to hundreds of wines at discounted prices. “People can get some really good wines, if they'd just dare to drink 'outside the box,’” she says.

Choose from one of following themes:

• Wine 101 (Swirl, Sip & Savor)

• Cupcakes & Corks

• Blushing Bride (Rosé Flight)

• Bubbles Around the World

• Virginia is for Wine Lovers

• Golden State Getaway

• Taste of Italy

• Spanish Vino & Tapas

• Tour of France

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