Hosting a Bridesmaids' Luncheon

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Lilly Pulitzer and Jay MulvaneyPhotography Ben Fink on May 3, 2005 at 5:35AM

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The Tradition

a Lilly Pulitzer and Jay MulvaneyPhotography Ben Fink on May 3, 2005 at 5:35AM

Lilly Pulitzer is as well known for her entertaining as she is for her fabulous floral-print fashions. Just in time for wedding season, she offers suggestions for a bridesmaids' luncheon, inspired by an elegant affair (over the top and head-to-toe pink!) she hosted for a close family friend.


The custom of having bridesmaids at a wedding dates from medieval times. Two young girls, often sisters, and dressed alike, preceded the bride in the wedding procession bearing sheaves of wheat, which is a symbol of fertility. Over time, customs changed. Flowers replaced the wheat and the young girls were replaced by women who are contemporaries of the bride ‑- sisters, friends and in-laws to be.

A nice way to express thanks to these women is to revive the lost tradition of hosting a bridesmaids' luncheon ‑- a dress-up, fancy lunch party that the bride throws just for her wedding attendants. It's a way to personally acknowledge each bridesmaid and her contribution to the wedding, and to focus some attention on them, since they'll take a back seat to the bride at every other wedding party. For the bridesmaids, well they can celebrate their induction into the sisterhood of the dyed-to-match-peau-de-soie-pumps.

Excerpted from Essentially Lilly: A Guide to Colorful Entertaining by Lilly Pulitzer and Jay Mulvaney. Photographs by Ben Fink. © 2004 HarperResource.
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