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One of the unexpected perks of getting hitched (besides all the obvious and oh-so-wonderful ones)? Planning a wedding also means being able to pencil in some great, quality girl time before the big day. New York may be known for its nightclubs and the allure of staying out until 4 a.m.-making it a go-to locale for bachelorette parties-but the city also offers up some amazing venues for your bridal shower. Check out these out-of-the-box ideas to enjoy with the ladies in your life.
Pasta Making Class at Haven's Kitchen (Above)
Nestled on a Chelsea side street, Haven's Kitchen is known to be part cafГ© and part event space, but it also houses a unique cooking space-a hybrid of a polished residential kitchen and efficient commercial kitchen that provides the perfect backdrop for fun food with friends. Party guests congregate around an antique vineyard table inside the white subway tile, marble, and stainless steel space to begin a private pasta-cooking class with seasonal variations, beverage pairings, and personalized instruction. After chatting and cooking, you and your girls finish the evening with a meal you created yourselves over the course of the evening. All of the fun, none of the clean-up, and a cozy-cool space that feels like home.
Nova Scent Bar
Julie Zangrilli is a self-taught perfumer with one chic nose. Her Brooklyn studio, Nova, is an olfactory dream, a space awash in natural, phthalate-free fragrances, all manufactured in New York City and beautifully displayed for your custom mixing pleasure.
Nova offers amazing group classes that can include drinks and light bites. Up to 10 guests can pony up to the Nova Scent Bar, which presents 12 seasonal fine fragrance blends, ready for mixing into a completely customized scent that's tailored to your taste and skin chemistry. Leave with your very own scent, inside some insanely gorgeous packaging, to boot!
Secret Garden Rooftop Brunch at McKittrick Hotel
The McKittrick Hotel, fabled home to Sleep No More, has another hushed event up its sleeve-a secret garden brunch at Gallow Green, its lush rooftop space. Complete with endless carafes of mimosas and big band music galore, you and your girls can escape from the city life, bask in the rooftop sun and feel like you've been whisked away far, far beyond Manhattan to your own garden oasis.
The Artful Bachelorette Experience
Simply put by its creators, the Artful Bachelorette Experience includes "drinks, drawing, and a nude model"-a.k.a. a "life drawing hen party," as it's more popularly known in the co-founders' native Australia. A two-hour session costs $85 a guest and includes champagne, snacks, a teacher, waiter, hot model in the buff, and some surefire laughs.
High Tea at The Plaza (Palm Court)
Nothing says classic New York like high tea in the renovated Palm Court of the Plaza Hotel-it's sort of one of those experiences you never get around to doing as an NYC resident, so all the better to experience with a girls' guest list that includes out-of-town friends, mom, grandma and more. While the tea list is expansive, and the treats are exquisite, the real beauty here is the elegant Palm Court itself, a beaux-arts beauty of a room marked with a signature stained-glass dome, impressive height, and air of sophistication (but not stuffiness-the hotel pokes fun with adorable accents like Eloise tea kettles, as well).
Murray's Cheese Class
No one knows cheese as much as Murray's. The Greenwich Village institution has been serving cheese from around the world (and around NYC) since 1940 and has been a destination for foodies and city tourists for several decades. If you want to get your cheese know-how on with 10 or more of the important ladies in your life (and really, who wouldn't!), Murrays offers hour and a half long sessions on topics like Grilled Cheese 101, Mozzarella Making, or Whiskey Pairings (with cheese, of course), as well as custom-designed topics. A break from girly bridal events, classes take place in a private space above their Bleecker Street storefront.
Brooklyn Winery-Private Room and Blind Tasting Party
Set in the heart of Williamsburg, Brooklyn Winery produces premium, small-batch wine inside its dramatic, rustic-chic space. With high ceilings, reclaimed wood paneling, and repurposed mid-century decor, it's no wonder the winery is a well-known wedding venue, but few realize they also cater to small groups, especially in the wintery offseason (we imagine it's the perfect warm and cozy candlelit haunt for cold evenings spent with great girlfriends and good laughs). In addition to its awesome decor and Brooklyn-cool vibe, Brooklyn Winery doesn't have private room charges and can even add "wine games" and blind tasting activities, to their cocktail party packages.