What is a Bridesmaids Luncheon?

'85/365 - Bridesmaid's Luncheon' photo (c) 2007, Lauren Nelson - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/A couple of days ago I posted a question on Facebook about Bridesmaids Luncheons. So many of you participated and were super helpful in providing info. Apparently this is not as common a tradition as I previously thought. I still can't tell if it's a regional thing or not. One respondent said maybe it's a holdover from a previous generation that is still honored mostly in the South.

I am a product of the South. My parents were living in Little Rock when they met and were married, so many of the traditions they took part in were southern traditions. Thus, when it was time for my wedding, my planning was very much influenced by southern customs. My bridesmaids, however, were from all over the place—from Atlanta to the Philippines. My Matron of Honor and her mother hosted a Bridesmaids Luncheon for me the day before the wedding and I think it was an unfamiliar tradition to some of the members of my bridal party, and I don’t think they’re alone. What seemed common to me is, in fact, just an optional event for the wedding week.

It might have its origin in the South, or it could just be a holdover from a previous generation. Whatever the source of the Bridesmaids (or Bridal) Luncheon, it is certainly not a required event. However, if you elect to have one, or are just curious as to what it is, here are some thoughts on planning an uplifting, meaningful time for the bride and her attendants.

In general terms, the Bridesmaids Luncheon is a small party given by the bride in honor of her bridesmaids. It is a chance for the bride to thank them and spend special time with them in the midst of the wedding rush. It can also be hosted by a family member or friend on the bride’s behalf. It is commonly held the day before the wedding as a precursor to the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. The guest list includes the female members of the bridal party as well as both the bride’s and groom’s mothers and any other close female family members. You can also invite other close friends associated with the wedding—a soloist, flower girls and their mothers, etc.

I personally love this tradition because it’s a chance for the bride to give back to those who have sacrificed to serve her. It is one moment in which the focus is on others, and it’s just a great time to relax and be with close friends and family members. It can also be a special time to focus on the Lord, surrounded by those who know and love the bride best.

On Facebook my friend Winnie shared what made her luncheon special:

A very close family friend hosted my bridesmaids luncheon and also invited women who had influenced me and pointed me to Christ. We ate and I gave my gals some gifts. These precious women asked me about my fears/concerns/hopes and then spent time praying for me. I am so thankful for that time.

Another benefit to this event is that it gives members of the bridal party a chance to get to know one another if they have never met. My college roommate had a bridal tea the day before the wedding and everyone was asked to wear a hat. Now, understand she lives in Knoxville, TN and this was a very southern event. We had a great time sipping tea, modeling our hats and getting to know each other, mostly by telling stories about the bride. She was the common denominator and telling these stories—some embarrassing, some heart-warming—was a fun shared experience for all of us.

Have you been to a Bridesmaids Luncheon that was particularly special or meaningful? What made it great?