The bridesmaids’ party is a tradition that doesn’t get as much play as other wedding-related customs. It is a pre-wedding event that is the obligation and responsibility of the bride. The party can be held as a luncheon, which it most typically is, or as a breakfast, brunch, dinner, or after work “for drinks” get-together. Some brides make a day of it, by going with their bridesmaids to pick up their dresses and do a last minute try on together. The concept began as a result of the desire of conscientious brides to have a way to thank their attendants for their assistance before and during the wedding celebration. Because attendants often can be from places other than where the wedding is being held, it also provides an opportunity for the attendants to get to know each other before the wedding. Today, many brides choose instead to buy a personal gift and give it to each of their attendants. That custom has been widely accepted. As an alternative, the bridesmaids’ luncheon is another, more personal way to say “thank you,” while also sharing good times and good feelings with special friends and family. 

For the concept to work best, you should choose a setting for your luncheon that is quiet and private. This kind of venue will allow your women friends to relax, to be silly (if they wish) and to have a good time. Find a restaurant with a good reputation for food and service that also has a private “back room” that can be rented.

Should you wish to be more innovative, alternative venues are also acceptable. If your wedding was formal, you may wish to continue the theme with a formal dinner party. You can choose to meet in a restaurant, or have the party catered, or, if you are so inclined, you can do the cooking!

Perhaps you will decide to spend a “ladies only spa day” by treating your attendants to a day of beauty. In this case the luncheon works particularly well if held before your wedding day. Spas are great stress-busters and this “luncheon” experience will allow you and your attendants to share a relaxing experience that is so much more fun when it’s experienced in a group. It allows you not only to pamper yourselves (and do deserve it), but also to have the beauty treatments you were planning for before your special event. Spas offer a smorgasbord of services. You can schedule appointments that include hair and nails to massage and aromatherapy, with the choice based on your budget.

Cities that are along waterways, offer yachts and cruise lines that can accommodate you. It’s important to ask if your group will be there exclusively and, if there are others aboard, whether you can have a private space. Many yacht and cruise boats offer catering as part of a package, or you can have a local caterer make up “bag lunches.” 

Another option is an afternoon tea. A tea can be either a formal, or informal event depending on where it is held. Choose a coffee/tea shop, a café, your house or even a hotel dining room accessible to your guests. You can be as elaborate or simple as you please. Decorations, flowers, music (harpist, string quartet, duo, etc.) . . . or just an intimate, informal gathering will all work.

If informality is your preference, then consider an ice cream or dessert party. You can have such a party in an ice cream shop, or cut the budget and do it in your home. Have the fixings ready and let your lady friends make their own banana splits or sundaes.

What what could be more fun than a girl’s night out, with an old fashioned, retro slumber party! This setting allows everyone to be ultimately comfortable and provides the venue and, in the case of attendants not living close to one another, it provides an opportunity for attendants to get to know one another better before the big day. Anything goes . . . “Truth or Dare,” “Twister,” “Hula Hoops,” old records . . . This alternative is especially good for sharing stories and pictures. How about having everyone bring along baby pictures and try to match them to the adults? Whatever you think would be fun. Set your budget. Do your looking, and then when you found the perfect place, relax and enjoy!