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We take our bridesmaid selection seriously in the South, and rightly so. Southern bridesmaids are the unsung heroes behind every bride’s big day. They’ll host showers, throw a bachelorette party, and attend the bridal tea. They’ll stuff wedding invitations, lick envelopes, and even keep rowdy groomsmen in line at the rehearsal. After months—sometimes over a year—of planning, many Southern brides find themselves wanting to honor their nearest and dearest girls with a special wedding-weekend event: the bridesmaids’ luncheon.

Typically, the bridesmaids’ luncheon (or bridal luncheon) is hosted by the mother of the bride and the bride, or close female relatives. It usually takes place the morning prior to the wedding, which is typically the same day as the rehearsal. She may opt to have a cake with cake pulls (you’re going to want to read up on that Southern wedding tradition), or use it as an opportunity to give the bridesmaids their gifts. No matter the schedule of events, venue, time, or day, there is one thing that’s absolutely necessary at a bridesmaids’ luncheon and that’s a good dose of old-fashioned girl time. There will be laughter, there may be tears, but it will most likely be a highlight of the wedding festivities for everyone who attends.

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A few of our favorite bridesmaids’ luncheon ideas center on Southern food, of course. If the event is at a private home, start the menu with champagne cocktail and a light appetizer. A main-course salad, chilled soup, or quiche are all perfectly suited for the occasion. There will likely be a rehearsal dinner later in the evening where the menu is traditionally on the heavier side, so the bride might want to keep it light and fresh for this feminine soiree. To finish the event, a cake with charm pulls is the perfect photo op.