|A mix of modern and vintage girly touches like ruffle-edged china, rose bud garnished sweets, floral hankies used as napkins and retro-style sterling silver jewerly and vanity gifts play hostess as a glamourous bridesmaids' s tea.|
Back in the white-glove days, the bride hosted a formal luncheon at her home for her attendants.
"This custom continues today, but the event can now he formal or casual, held anytime of the day or anywhere, and not limited only to the bridesmaids; sometimes groomsmen also join in the celebration," says Maria McBride-Mellinger, author of the new book, "The Perfect Wedding Reception: Stylish Ideas for Every Season."
An attendant party is a perfect opportunity to thank close friends and family for sharing in the big wedding day. It is also a good time to give them a thoughtful gift of appreciation. Mellinger suggests personal, luxury gifts like sterling silver jewelry that can be worn at the wedding, a picture frame, holiday ornament, desk or vanity accessories that can be monogrammed or engraved. She also recommends coordinating gifts with the party's theme that can also serve as table tools. For example, at a garden luncheon, fill silver tankards or china creamers with flowers to serve as individual, take-home centerpieces. A bangle or personalized charm bracelet makes a stylish napkin ring at a "Glamour Girl" tea. Small, silver frames engraved with bridesmaids' names and filled with pictures of the bride-to-be and each of her guests serves as a perfect place card.
Whether the attendant party is at home or at an outside location, use this opportunity to try out ideas, the wedding caterer, florist, even the photographer, recommends Mellinger. This way you're likely to be able to negotiate a better price for services used for the wedding as well as make any last-minute changes.
Mellinger suggests starting with a theme around a season, color scheme, activity or interest. Carry through the idea to the location, menu, table setting, flowers and gifts. Here are some easy ideas for hosting the perfect bridal attendant party.
Plan a casually elegant, garden luncheon outdoors or create a lush, botanical setting indoors. Set tables with spring-colored, chintz cloths or green checked place mats. Mix and match floral, leaf and fruit motif china or use. Everyday stoneware, complemented by colored glasses and floral patterned silver flatware and servers. Carry through the botanical theme with a light, garden fresh menu. Freeze edible flowers into ice cubes for a refreshing surprise. Seat guests on wrought iron garden or green slatted bistro chairs.
Fill pitchers with many daisies or plant wooden flats with flower bulbs for a colorful, seasonal centerpiece. Tuck seed packets for spring and summer flowers into sterling mint julep cups for take-home, mini-planters. Script each guest's name on a seed packet that can also double as a place card. Flower and butterfly motif pins, pendants or holiday ornaments attached to a napkin will not only enhance the table but serve as charming party favors as well.
Invite bridesmaids to an oh-so-girly tea party dressed in pastel or bright pink, lavender and soft greens. For a playful mood, set the table with a mix of feminine touches like fun, kitschy china, a grand silver tea service and vintage, embroidered or lace-trimmed hankies for napkins. Serve a variety of special floral and herbal teas and sweets like miniature wedding cakes, petit fours and cookies in shapes of tea pots, hearts, bows and flowers.
A grouping of individual, engraved bud vases filled with flowers on a silver tray makes an elegant centerpiece, and each guest can take home a vase as a gift. To carry through the glamour mood, indulge attendants with a monogrammed, sterling silver compact, perfume flacon, purse mirror or makeup brush tucked into a cosmetic pouch with a new shade of lipstick and nail polish to wear on the wedding day.
"In lieu of separate bachelor and bridesmaids' parties, combined attendant events are becoming popular," says Mellinger. Plan an informal or ritzy wine tasting or cocktail party at home, a hotel or favorite restaurant. Create a special drink to commemorate the event as well as a gift like a sterling wine stopper, set of hor d'oeuvre or olive picks, cheese spreader, cocktail stirrers or engraved jigger.
For more attendant party ideas, visit www.silverinfo.com.