Whether you’re a diehard fan of The Bachelor, or one of the 6 million or so who casually watch the reality television show, viewing parties are a great way to bring friends together over a glass. Here, Lauren Zima, host of the recap show Roses and Rosé, and the real-life girlfriend of The Bachelor host Chris Harrison, shares tips for virtual and socially distanced viewing parties.
“What’s fun about having a viewing party is that you can invite anybody, and anybody can have a great time. The fans love to drink wine, so who’s not going to have a great time, even if they’re not up to date on the current season? They can just come over and drink.”
Pair your wine with the show.
“I make it dependent on where we’re at in the season. In the beginning, things are a little lighter… so I like to do my light rosés and have fun. Everyone’s meeting everyone. It’s a great introductory drink. As the season progresses and the drama gets more intense, you’ve got to move into your reds, your Cabs and your Pinot Noirs. You’ve got to get a little dark.
“In the finale, if they’re still together, you pop a bottle of Champagne. We’ve got to celebrate the love.”
Share the good stuff.
“You never want to run out of wine. You have to have a variety for everybody. I really love to fill a bucket and just have more ready to go.
“When I have people over, I like to go into the cellar with them to show them all the wines I have and see what they’re into because it’s always fun to learn about wine. That’s one of my favorite parts about drinking wine. It’s always interesting to me what somebody might say. So, I like to start out with a couple things and then say, “Maybe we’re all a little bit tipsy, now let’s go to the cellar and really have fun.”
Create a special cocktail.
“My favorite Tequila drink is something I came up with myself. It’s a shot of Tequila, fresh lime juice, a little still or sparkling water, depending on your preference, and then I like to do a splash of St-Germain. I call it the Saint Tequila. If you drink a little too much, it kind of sounds like you’re saying it was “sent to kill ya.” And some of the people on The Bachelor give off that vibe! That’s why it’s perfect for The Bachelor.
“Bachelor in Paradise is a great one for cocktails too, because you think you’re on the beach. You can make a little “paradise Piña Colada,” a little “drama daiquiri.”
Keep your food on theme.
“Last season, the bachelor was a pilot, Peter Weber. I loved seeing people make little airplane-shaped cookies—or they gave everybody a little set of wings to wear. On Hannah Brown’s season, she had a famous fantasy suite moment in the windmill and, man, oh, man, did I see a lot of cakes with windmills on them.
“I also like to be on theme per the episodes, because you have your famous hometown episodes and fantasy suites. So, for the hometown, tell your friends, “Hey everybody, bring your favorite hometown snack, or bring a bottle of wine that’s from where you’re from.” For fantasy suites, get a little sexy. Make a chocolate-dipped strawberry situation happen… Maybe a love connection happens at your Bachelor party!”
Décor needs to be on point.
“Decoration has got to be on theme, too. You’ve seen the show. It’s roses everywhere, it’s candles everywhere, so you have to play with your florals and with your candles. You can get great wine buckets and Champagne buckets very inexpensively, so just fill up the room with that. Your decoration is your drink. Nobody’s complaining—wine’s available everywhere.”
Turn up the drama.
“One of my favorite things I ever saw at a Bachelor viewing party at my friend’s [was] they had someone dress up like Chris Harrison in a suit and greet every guest at the door with a rose. That’s theater. That’s acting. I like that.
“If you want take it to the next level, if you’re with someone you’re dating at the party, pretend to be getting in a fight all night and then blow up at the end of the night. Make it like dinner theater. At the end of the night, reveal to your friends, ‘No, no, no, we’re fine. But we made this an interactive experience.’”
You can keep your social distance.
“If people feel comfortable with it, I’ve also been doing an outdoor hang. Find a cool way to get a projector outside, sit six feet apart, and talk about a way to decorate and make that Bachelor-like, or Paradise-like. You can create a little island in your yard. You could do a mansion-like feel with the beautiful roses and the candles and the garland, and everybody bring a red blanket and cozy up. If you feel comfortable and everybody does, I support that.
“And maybe there’s something helpful about the masks. They slow you down a little bit because you have to lift them to drink.”