Technically, the bride is supposed to take charge of this gathering — however, since you're supposed to be helping the bride, you might find yourself lending a hand. The bridesmaids' luncheon is strictly optional — if several of the bridesmaids are coming from out of town, and there's no way to coordinate everyone's schedules before the day of the wedding (or rehearsal), it's probably best to just skip it. Trying to squeeze a luncheon in on the day of the ceremony will defeat the purpose of this gathering. It's supposed to be a nice, relaxing afternoon for the bride and her girlfriends.
The Bridesmaids' Luncheon doesn't have to be lunch. The bride can turn it into a bridesmaids' dinner, a night on the town, a day at the spa, or a movie marathon night at the bride's home.
Since this is a thank-you from the bride to her attendants, each one should be included. Some brides also invite the moms (and if you're invited, the groom's mom really should be, too), and, depending on the time and location of the get-together, some may invite the flower girl (whose own mother should also be in attendance). This is an intimate get-together, so the guest list shouldn't read like a phone book.Saying Thanks
The bridesmaids' luncheon is the bride's way of showing her appreciation for the hard work her bridesmaids have done. This event is a great time for the bride to give her attendants the gifts she's chosen for them. At the very least, bridesmaids have spent quite a bit of money on their ensembles for the wedding, but they also should have paid for the shower, a shower and wedding gift for the bride, and their personal travel expenses, if any. That's a lot to ask from a girlfriend, and even though the attendants knew what they were getting into when they accepted a role in the wedding party, they'll appreciate your daughter's acknowledgment of their efforts.
On the other hand, a bride will occasionally find herself saddled with unruly and unpleasant bridesmaids who are bound and determined to give her nothing but grief. In this case, should she still thank them by hosting a lunch in their honor? Let common sense prevail.The Luncheon Cake
The bridesmaids' luncheon traditionally includes a cake with some symbolic meaning baked in. In one variation, the bridesmaids dig into a pink cake that includes some sort of trinket — a coin, a ring, or a thimble. The lucky lady who finds the trinket in her slice of cake is the next to walk down the aisle. Another variation on the cake comes from Victorian England. The cake is placed on top of charms, which are attached to ribbons that are long enough to hang off the cake plate. Each bridesmaid pulls a ribbon to reveal her charm at the other end. The bride can choose the charms herself (available where wedding supplies are sold), and attach meaning to them in her own creative way. A bridesmaid luncheon can also be high tea, or a girl's day out at the spa. Don't let your daughter think she is confined to just eating together with her bridesmaids. There are plenty of other activities that most brides and bridesmaid's enjoy doing together. Be creative!