I did it! I finally attended the glorified picnic that is the Veuve Polo Classic. After three years of last minute cancellations, the stars finally aligned for a perfect summer day at Liberty State Park. This classic was a day party, polo match and fashion show all combined into one. It’s a great excuse to visit New York City and stunt with your friends for the gram. It’s also an easy way to blow money because everything will cost.
For a complete guide on how to prepare and what to expect for this event, keep reading!
The event: The Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in both New York and Los Angeles are signature events of the Veuve Clicquot Season. Set against the backdrop of New York City and Lady Liberty, the New York VCP is perfect for an afternoon of watching polo, sipping champagne and picnicking. The proceeds benefit Work to Ride, a non-profit equestrian program providing disadvantaged urban youth with activities centered around horsemanship, equine sports and education.
What ticket to buy:
There are three levels of tickets: General Admission, Early Access and VIP. The only difference between the early access and GA ticket is that you’re granted access to the first ferry. In my opinion, it isn’t worth spending the extra money for this ticket unless you absolutely can’t get a regular GA ticket. Otherwise, the check-in process was very smooth and efficient and the ferries hold a large number of people so there was plenty of space.
VIP vs. General Admission: I had the privilege of experiencing the Rose Garden and General Admission (GA). The ticket outlines the basics of the two tickets. General admission literally grants you admission and the ferry ride from New York City to New Jersey. Everything else is a la carte. VIP grants you admission, ferry, a full bottle of Rose, lunch and a beautiful setting to watch the polo match and enjoy the event. The Rose Garden really was beautiful. There was a huge tent protecting you from the hot sun, plush seats and dining tables, very nice bathrooms – this a big deal for women, and amazing photo areas that were much prettier than tGA. The vibe was also much calmer in VIP and the crowd was generally older. Everything was very polished. I recommend VIP if you are celebrating a special occasion. When you add everything up, the cost of the bottle + food + general convenience that VIP grants you; i.e. not having to carry a blanket and picnic basket, it can be justified. However, if you are just going to turn up with your friends, take a few cute pics and catch a few minutes of the polo match, do the General Admission. The key to GA is arriving early, eating a large breakfast and splitting the cost of the bottle. The bottles start at $105 and with 6 glasses per bottle, a group of three can share 2 bottles for $60 each. There are also food trucks scattered throughout the ground if you get hungry and everyone is allowed to bring picnic baskets and snacks.
What I didn’t like about the General Admission is that the lines to take pictures and purchase bottles/drinks were extremely long, the grass was much wetter and muddier than in VIP, and it was hard to see the polo match even if you were in the front because people could simply stand up at the gates. However, the party was definitely in the General Admission. If you plan to do VIP, I think it’s a great way to start the event, but after the match has ended and you’ve enjoyed your food, drinks and photo opps – head out to the General Admission section for the turn up.
What to Wear: This event is dress to impress; however, you will be spending hours in the sun and grass so your outfit should be weather appropriate. I would not recommend wearing heels or shoes that can get ruined by the grass or mud. Block heels and wedges are appropriate but bring a pair of flats because there is a long walk from the ferry to the field. If you’re in General Admission, take in account the fact that you’ll likely be sitting on the grass. Photographers from major magazines and blogs will also be on the grounds taking pictures, so make sure you are photo-ready.
What to Bring:
If you are in VIP, you literally only need to bring yourself and a few personal belongings. Veuve had plenty of sunscreen on deck as well as fans to keep you cool. The VIP section comes complete with plush seating, bathrooms, water, lunch and tables, so not much else is needed.
If you are in General Admission, your list will be much longer. First, the best seating is going to be on the grass. There are a few scattered picnic tables, but most are far from the viewing area. If you’re lucky enough to snag a picnic table with a good view, you won’t need much else but you have to arrive EARLY.
Additional must packs: WATER, food that won’t spoil in the heat, a hat, hand sanitizer, wipes, a blanket, lawn chairs, portable charger.
The Polo Match: Yes there is a real polo match that occurs and it’s fun to watch. If you’ve never seen a match before, read about it before attending the event so that you understand what’s happening. However, the commentator does a great job of explaining the match to the audience.
Where to Sit: If you want to see the polo match, the best seating is on the left side of the field opposite the Rose Garden. This will require an early arrival, but if you can get there you’ll have a great view of the event and easy access to the field to Stomp the Divots.
The Bubbly: The name of the classic means that the only drinks available is champagne. VPC offers three types of champagne: regular, Rose and premium, along with the option to purchase champagne cocktails. Technically you aren’t suppose to bring additional drinks outside of water, but if you can be creative it isn’t hard to sneak some in.
Would I Attend Again? The answer really is, it depends. While I still believe this was a glorified picnic, I genuinely had a great time. The DJ was amazing, the setting was gorgeous, and the crowd was great to look at and interact with. However, this isn’t an event I would travel to unless I was a true polo fan or wanted to make a weekend trip to New York City. It’s definitely an event worth experiencing, just know it’s a costly experience.
Photo Cred: @princealib & @jspotphoto