one for the girls
A bridesmaids’ luncheon or tea is the perfect opportunity to celebrate friendships and thank the women closest to you for their pre-wedding love and support. It’s also an ideal excuse to indulge your passion for all things pretty!
The bridesmaids’ luncheon usually takes place after the final dress fitting and a day or two before the wedding, allowing any out-of-town bridesmaids to take part. The etiquette surrounding the affair is flexible and the “luncheon” needn’t be a lunch at all. Choose what fits best with you and what you know your friends will appreciate, be that a formal dinner or morning pamper-party at the spa. Our favourite option, and the one featured here, is an elegant afternoon tea of champagne and cake. It’s easily achievable for the busy bride, doesn’t take weeks of planning and can be hosted at home or in a nearby tea garden or coffee shop.
Whilst not compulsory, printed invitations are a lovely touch and create a sense of occasion around the event. Send them out two to three weeks in advance. You can also extend the invite to your mother, mother-in-law and close female relatives to make them feel appreciated too.
Create a focal point for the tea table by stringing up floral celebratory pennant bunting and tissue paper pompoms. You can also sew together pretty paper doilies to fashion a lace backdrop.
For an added touch of the whimsical, use a floral patterned paper to make paper pinwheels and napkin rings. It’s easier than you think!
The turn of events
Bridesmaids luncheons are not typically centred around planned games and activities; the one constant is that the bride thanks her bridesmaids – either formally in a prepared speech or toast, or one-on-one during the event.
Craft some pretty champagne glass tags, so everyone knows whose glass is whose – and with a quick glance, who is who.
The tea and titbits
The ideal menu for a bridesmaids’ gathering is something light and luscious. Kick off the celebration with a glass of fine champagne served with an oyster or two. Follow this refreshing “first course” with an array of French sweet and savoury treats: meringues, macaroons, quiches and a cheese board with fine fruits. Alongside, serve a selection of both hot and ice flavoured teas.
Decorate the treats with petite food flags and drinks with retro striped paper straws.
The bridesmaids’ luncheon is often where the bride will present the bridesmaids’ gifts, along with any gifts to the mothers and grandmothers in attendance, from small pieces of jewellery to personalised stationery.
Use a patterned floral paper to wrap the gifts and pen a thoughtful message to each recipient on the coordinating gift tags.
The perfect ending to a perfect day? Present a chocolate ganache cake with an all pink rose centre. Complete the look with gold candles for the bridesmaids to blow out together and make a secret wish. After all, hasn’t many a lady met her future husband at a wedding?
Basic Vanilla Cookies
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1½ tsp baking powder
1 cup white sugar
½ tsp salt
1 cup butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp cream
- Preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
- Cut in the butter and blend with a pastry blender until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the egg, vanilla extract and cream. Blend well and chill the dough for one hour.
- On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about 6mm thickness and cut into shapes. Place the shapes on an ungreased baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake for 6-8 minutes until lightly brown.
- One batch makes 40 cookies. Recipe can be halved.
Custom favours will make all your guests feel special. Add a twist to the traditional bundt charm cake and give guests little tea tins filled with tea bag-shaped cookies, complete with fortune-telling tags.