So, what exactly is the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic?
It’s a posh event that brings together an eccentric group of champagne aficionados, socialites, fashionistas and picnic-goers alike for an exciting day of fun in the sun—and, of course, a polo match. The upscale event is held annually in New York, Los Angeles and Miami.
Hundreds of well-dressed spectators from around the world trekked to the West Coast this year to experience this coveted, sold out event held at Will Rogers State Historic Park in Pacific Palisades. Long-story short, it’s a bougie, boozy, people-watching extravaganza!
In this post, I’ll recap my experience as a first-timer and share some tips along the way.
There are three different ticket types for the event:
Picnic Lawn Ticket (General Admission)
Price: $110 per person
Since this was my first time, I opted for this general admission ticket. It includes transportation to and from the check-in lot and event grounds via shuttle. Once you arrive at the venue, you have first-come, first-served lawn seating and access to offerings like the champagne bar, merchandise tent, photo moments, food trucks and gourmet lunch options for purchase.
Rosé Garden Ticket (VIP)
Price: $520 per person
This option comes with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Rosé, a gourmet lunch, priority check-in/entry, transportation, and access to both an open lounge and seating (aka tables and chairs). In my opinion, I think this route might be worth it if you are traveling with a larger group. Whether it’s truly worth the price tag is still up for debate.
La Grande Dame Cabanas
Price: $19,000 per group of 10
This ultra-luxe option includes private and elevated luxury viewing platforms, a bottle of limited edition of Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame 2012 champagne and 2 glasses of Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame Rosé champagne per person. You’ll also experience dedicated butler service and security, a gourmet lunch, as well as hor d'oeuvres for your crew. I assume the additional perks change year to year, so check out the official website for more details.
Where to Stay
If you are flying in specifically for the event, I recommend staying in the Santa Monica area. We stayed at the Hilton Santa Monica Hotel & Suites, which was 4 miles from the event check-in area. Even better, this location is just a few steps away from the Santa Monica Pier and beach, as well as several great restaurants. It was reasonably priced and basically the perfect spot for our short stay.
What to Wear
Dress to impress—#period. Bring out the custom fits, flowy floral dresses, fascinators, big hats, colorful sets and designer bags. This event is ALL about the pomp, and extra on the circumstance! I LOVED gazing at all of the different outfits and looks! People were dressed to the nines.
But be warned: the event happens rain or shine, so definitely check the weather leading up to the event. It’s LA, so more than likely, it will be HOT. It hit the 90s while we were there, so you can imagine how that went. Thank goodness for makeup hacks!
Survival tip for the ladies: Bring comfortable shoes. I repeat: bring comfortable shoes. You are literally walking around on grass and concrete all day. Even with Grasswalkers, your chances of survival are slim. I took a few pictures in my heels and changed into some cute flat sandals ASAP because my feet were killin’ me—and I can withstand heel pain! But maybe it’s just my 30s kicking in.
You guys know I’m all about looking fab without breaking the bank. You can shop my look below!
What to Bring
You are allowed to bring your own food and snacks to the event, as long as they’re pre-packed and sealed. Don’t be slick, because security WILL check. My friend grabbed some trail mix at Target the day before, and good thing she did. We attempted to grab a bite from one of the food trucks, but there was a 50-minute wait for pizza because they were so backed up. Hence what I said before: arrive early so you have less people to deal with.
If you decide to go with the general admission ticket, a blanket is absolutely necessary. After all, it’s a picnic! Just like any event, bottled water can cost you $3 a pop, so buy some at the store beforehand and bring them with you. Also, bring a portable charger. You’ll definitely be draining your phone battery from taking photos and videos of all the action. Note: My cell service was basically non-existent while at the park, so for my social media mavens, you might be forced to live in the moment and post later (that’s my preference anyway).
Tip: Wear sunscreen to protect yourself. They also have branded umbrellas for sale at the merchandise shop, which seemingly everyone purchased to help beat the sun.
How to Get There (Oh, and Get There Early)
As mentioned, shuttle transportation is included with your ticket. Check-in started at 10 A.M., with the first shuttle out at 10:45 A.M. and the event itself started at 11. In retrospect, we should’ve pushed to catch that first shuttle, but we were fashionably late, arriving at check-in closer to 1 P.M. It was only about a 20-25 min ride, but by the time we reached the venue, the lines to all of the photo moment set-ups, souvenirs and champagne were crazy long! We waited in line for at least 35 minutes to get pictures at ONE of the photo stations. After that, we decided to forego the others. Although we met some cool people while waiting in line, it was grueling in that sun. I imagine if we were to arrive on the first shuttles, we would have been able to have less of a wait and cover more ground.
Tip: Pre-schedule your Uber or Lyft from the check-in location. Once the shuttle brings you back, it will be surging and the wait times will be super long. Even though we ordered our ride on the way back, we still had to wait a while.
If I had to sum up the one thing that’s needed for a successful Veuve Polo Classic experience, it would be preparation. Sorry spontaneous friends—the major key to making this event an enjoyable one will take some pre-planning.
So, you’re probably wondering what the final verdict is and if I would attend again. My answer? Absolutely! It was a learning experience for me, and I feel better prepared to conquer this event and take it up a notch next time.