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While brides are not required to host a bridesmaid luncheon, it is such a lovely tradition.  Want to know how to throw this party?  Here are some suggestions to having an unforgettable time!

The Purpose:  You want to thank your bridal party for a job well done. Unlike the bridal shower, the focus is on the bridal party. Because of scheduling, many brides choose to have this event a couple of days before the big event, but you can host whenever.

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Guest List:  In addition to the bridal party, it's also nice to invite junior bridesmaids and flower girls (also make sure to invite their moms), if the event is appropriately timed.

Gifts: Bridesmaids shouldn't bring a gift to the bride to this party, as they are the honored guests.  The bride might decide to give her bridesmaid gifts to the gals at the party, or she can choose to hand them out the morning of the wedding (whatever works).

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The Setting:  In some regions, it's tradition for the mother of the bride to co-host the luncheon at her house.  However, you can have this party anywhere. Depending upon your budget and lifestyle, it can be swanky and upscale or completely chill in your living room.

Activities:  Often this is a luncheon in order to keep the event focused (it could just as easily be brunch or midnight snacks).  If you have asked your bridesmaids to attend tons of wedding-related events and errands, it might be kinder to their schedules to keep this one short and sweet. Basically, "read the room" beforehand by asking the maid of honor's advice. If your pals are down for a long hangout, you can certainly plan games or activities, but you don't need to.

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Food & Drink:  Of course, imbibing is often encouraged (but not required). If it's brunch, set up a mimosa station (above, right) for your friends to create their own champagne and fruit concoctions. For a luncheon, you could serve champagne or wine.  Serve plenty of small bites, salad, and a few sweet morsels.  Again, don't feel pressured to throw a luxe party you can't afford. Let your budget determine the menu.

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Decor:  No decor is really needed, but go crazy if you want. For many mothers of the bride this is a great outlet for their creativity (that according to them was totally unappreciated during the wedding planning). If they want to host the event of the season, why not?  But if this is a casual night in, don't spend your money on decor details. Rather, save it for treating your bridesmaids to a nice gift.

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Toast:  You don't have to deliver an epic address, but as everyone is gathered together, it is a perfect time for a heartfelt toast. Sincerely thank your friends for all of their help. You should also thank them individually, but it doesn't have to be during the toast. You could take each one aside to let them know how appreciative you are for their specific contributions.

Are you a bridesmaid that needs help planning a bridal shower?  Go here for plenty of helpful tips!

Credits:  Ashleigh Jayne Photography   |   EE Photography   |   Nicole Ryan   |   Mariel Hannah   |   Design Love Fest   |   KT Merry   |   Luminaire Images