Hens’ nights, bridal showers, dress fittings and family reunions – do you really have to hold another pre-wedding event? No, you don’t. But up until now it’s all been about you. A bridesmaids’ luncheon gives you the chance to thank your bridal party for their relentless efforts in your campaign to be wed, and let your hair down with close friends and family on this rare occasion you’re all in the same place at the same time. But first, some planning…
Set the date
Bridesmaids’ luncheons are typically held before the wedding, and in the interests of interstate and overseas members of your bridal party, it’s best to host the event as close to the ceremony date and venue as possible. The luncheon is also a great opportunity to introduce the out-of-towners and ensure everybody is comfortably socialising before the wedding.
Pick the host
It’s most common for the bride to host the event, but in some cases the mother of the bride or other significant matriarch, sister or aunt will take the reigns. Other times the bridal party will participate in the planning, but this is less common, as bridesmaids are chiefly responsible for hens’ night festivities and the luncheon is their time to kick back and relax.
Plan the day
There’s no reason why you couldn’t hold a dinner event, picnic or winery tour in place of a luncheon. If the pre-wedding plans have been particularly chaotic, it might be nice to pamper your bridal party with a spa treatment, beauty therapy or hot rock massage. Event type will depend largely on the invite list, as Grandma will likely be partial to a high tea over a hot air ballooning.
Invite the guests
The bridal party are top of the list and this is your chance to sit down, relax and engage with these friends before they head back to their busy lives in a few days time. Luncheons can be multi-generational affairs, with a variety of female relatives and in-laws making an appearance. It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a bevy of women to hold a wedding – this is your time to thank them all!
Prepare the gifts
Gift giving is not mandatory, however if bridesmaids have travelled internationally or contributed to the cost of accommodation or dresses, it’s a nice gesture to arrange a simple token of your appreciation. Often brides will give an item of jewelery to be worn on the day, such as a charm bracelet or earrings. Alternatively, a well planned speech thanking each of the bridesmaids is a nice touch to remind them how much you appreciate their help and friendship.
Bake the cake
If you want to do it by the books, you can’t just duck into the local bakery on the way. Thanks to an old wives’ tale, traditionalists will have you bake a coin, ring or knitting thimble into a cake, with the belief that the lady who finds the foreign ingredient is next in line to tie the knot. For those concerned about breaking bridesmaids’ teeth on the eve of their ceremony, poems and fortunes can also be hand-written on pretty pink paper, wrapped in foil and placed inside the cake before baking.
Last but not least, remember to charge the camera, take lots of happy snaps and make an effort to spend one-on-one time with every participant – you don’t know how long it’ll be before you all catch up again, so make the most of your time together!