This Is Our Last Goodbye - The Bridesmaids’ Luncheon

Photo by Gulnara Studio

This is the time to thank those wonderful women who have been by your side during not only the whole wedding process, but throughout all of life’s ups and downs. It is a time to say goodbye to being their single friend and hello to a new phase. True this is an older tradition, but that does not mean it can’t be done with a modern twist. It doesn’t even have to be a luncheon, just anything that is unique and special.

Most people choose those nearest and dearest to be by their sides on the wedding day. Bridesmaids are a reflection of the bride, and who she chooses to have beside her can say volumes about her as a person. Sisters, childhood friends, college friends, cousins – all variations of this formula tend to make up the bridal party. They have been there for the tears and the laughs, the ridiculous and the fantastic. So why not thank them in the most special of ways and go beyond

the standard bridesmaid luncheon. Remember, this is different from the bachelorette party. This is not about the bride, but rather her way of saying “thank you” to those who are part of her life and will continue to be there for her after this chapter is closed.

First, however, a bit of back story on this custom. It is a tradition that initially became popular in the South, often co-hosted by the bride’s mother, who helped to spearhead a lot of the bridal activities. Historically, the luncheon was an informal get-together that took place the day before the wedding. It was usually a simple tea or lunch. At the luncheon, the tradition was to offer a “bridesmaids’ cake” which is a custom that dates back to the Victorian era. A small trinket such as a coin or ring was baked into the cake, and the bridesmaid who found this charm in her slice was said to have good luck in love. That is a sweet idea, but probably best to skip at this point. Just celebrate the girls as themselves without focusing on their love status.

Instead of lunch, why not have an intimate dinner at a fabulous restaurant? Wine pairings are a way to elevate a regular dinner. Choose somewhere very elegant where dressing up is required. Have those girls don their best dresses…style all the way! Make sure the chosen place fits the tastes of all the gals. If one does not like sushi, forgo that idea, and do the same for the girl who has allergies. Try to at least find a common ground. And once at the restaurant, flirt shamelessly with the cute bartender over cocktails, and then continue the same at dinner, providing you get a cute and personable waiter. Chances are some of the bridesmaids are single, so help them out. Have fun!

Or how about going to a wine tasting? Educational as well as special. Pick up a copy of Food and Wine and see what types of wine to sample, then research a wine tasting. Better yet, how about a vineyard tour? Travel to the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. This wine country will impress even the most skeptical. Try the Seneca Lake Wine Trail and visit the Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards. Sample a semi-dry Riesling in their rustic barn. For an even better experience, hire a limo to take you around. Driving won’t be fun after an hour or so, and no one will need to abstain and be the responsible designated driver. Or head out to the Hamptons and visit the Channing Daughters Winery. With such varieties as Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, and Gewurztraminer, it is well worth the trip to the East End. Twenty-five acres of lush vines, and only a bit outside the City.

How about a day at a spa or, better yet, an overnight trip to a fabulous inn and spa? Treat the girls to massages, manicures, pedicures, facials, and body scrubs. They need relaxation too – after all, they had to put up with wedding talk for months on end. The Mayflower Inn in Washington, Connecticut is an impressive place to treat these special ladies. This Inn boasts a world-class 20,000-foot spa with such services as the Herbal Detox Wrap and PMS Treatment. Needless to say, you will be with all women, so this could be the perfect treatment choice! And whatever you do, do not miss the 90-minute Mayflower Massage….heavenly!

Ah, cocktails. One can never go wrong with having a wonderful get-together at a lavish hotel bar. How elegant is that? The King Cole Bar in the St. Regis Hotel in NYC is a wonderful place to have an old-school gathering. There is nothing more sublime than big leather chairs and classic cocktails. Or if wanting something a bit more modern, the Mandarin Oriental is another great spot. Located in the Time Warner Building, it is a towering 36 flights up, with commanding views of Central Park and an impressive list of well thought out cocktails.

Reminisce and have fun. These women deserve sincere thanks. Remember, just because marriage is taking place does not mean it should be a sad night. Sure, saying goodbye to the single life with the girls is hard to do, but relax and embrace the good old days. And most of all, show your gratitude for having friends who are wonderful and kind. Tell them how much they have given, which is usually more than they will ever know. And not to be all dramatic, but these girls will be there for you if times get rough, so treat them well.

Raise a glass and make a toast! Tell them they are loved and appreciated!


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