Ask the Bride -- Bridesmaid's Luncheon

Question: I have been surfing the net in hopes of finding info on the bridesmaids luncheon. I have checked the wedding related books that I have and all I can find is... yes, you're supposed to have one!! My aunt has offered to host mine and she's wants info about etiquette, who's invited besides the bride and bridesmaids, what to serve, where to have it, etc.

Answer: As for the Bridesmaids Luncheon, it is traditional for the bride to host a small party a few weeks to a few days before the wedding to say thank you to her attendants. Here are some of the basics:

  • WHEN: The timing of the party depends on your attendants, since if your attendants are coming from far away, you might want to wait until the day before the wedding when they will all be in town. If your attendants live close enough to get together a few weeks before the wedding, then having the party earlier might cut down on stress and hassle. Some people suggest that you have the luncheon when you get the bridesmaids together for their final dress fitting, or combine the gift-giving with your bachelorette party. You can choose to forego the luncheon altogether and give the gifts at the rehearsal dinner. Many brides nowadays are too busy and live far away from their attendants, so they settle for the last option.
  • WHERE: If your aunt has offered to host the party, you might want to co-host it with her at her home, since this party is traditionally given by the bride in honor of her attendants, as opposed to the shower, which is given in honor of the bride. You can also have the luncheon at a restaurant or cafe. It can be as casual or formal as you like.
  • WHO: Usually this party is just for the bride and her attendants, but it is acceptable to invite the mothers of the couple, as well as any close female family members (your aunts or sisters). This isn't another shower, it's usually just the small group of women involved in the wedding.
  • WHAT TO DO: The luncheon is typically the time for the bride to give gifts to the bridesmaids to thank them for being involved in the wedding. They don't have to bring a gift for the bride. Again, this isn't a shower, so you don't have to play a bunch of silly games. :)
  • WHAT TO SERVE: As I said before, this is as formal or casual as you like, so you could serve anything from salads and sandwiches to chicken cordon bleu and champagne. If you host it with your aunt, and since you're probably a busy woman, I would recommend you prepare a menu that isn't too fancy and can be prepared that day. A favorite custom that you've probably heard of is the bridesmaids cake, which is usually pink and has a silver ring tied to a ribbon baked inside. The story is that whichever bridesmaid gets the ring will be the next to marry (uh oh, what if that conflicts with the bouquet catcher?). Some wedding and party shops, as well as the invitation mail order catalogs, sell the ring and ribbon with instructions. Your local bakery will also know what to do if you order the cake from them.
  • One last idea is to have a joint party with your fiance and his attendants. I've thought about having a barbeque a month before the wedding with all of the attendants to give them presents and go over last minute wedding details and responsibilities. The bridesmaids luncheon is one of the least strict wedding traditions that I've seen, so my advice is to not worry about etiquette, follow a couple simple traditions and then make it your own. It's all about having fun!


    Copyright 1996-2001, Michelle Nordblom Hottya. Created: July 7, 1996. Last Updated: April 12, 2001.