Hosting a Bridesmaids’ Brunch

Photography by Abby Lorenz.
Photography by Abby Lorenz.

Hosting a Bridesmaids’ Brunch to Remember

Just before you walk down the aisle, take a moment to honor and thank your closest friends who have supported you throughout your life. A bridesmaids’ brunch is a wonderful way to give a heartfelt thank-you to your bridal party. Take it as a way to unwind and begin to enjoy the festivities of the wedding itself. Typically, these luncheons are held the day before or the morning of your wedding. However, if you plan something much earlier, you can use a bridesmaids’ brunch or luncheon as a sweet and memorable way to ask your best girlfriends to be a part of your wedding.

The bridesmaids’ brunch has long been a Southern tradition, and Hampshire House is the best place to give your event some Southern charm with a New England flair. We have several unique, sophisticated spaces in which to host this event, and our intimate setting makes it all the more memorable. Our staff will work with you to create a custom brunch menu (complete with mimosas, if you so desire) so that you can leave your best girlfriends with a memory they’ll cherish for a lifetime.

Hosting Etiquette and Who to Invite

Bridal brunches are a wonderful way to express your gratitude and unwind amidst all the wedding stress. In order to ensure that you don’t add unwanted strain, choose a venue that will take care of all the finer details for you. Who to invite is completely up to you: keep it small and intimate by inviting the bridesmaids only or open up the invitation to additional girlfriends, moms, and family members.

Sweets, Treats, and the Bridesmaids’ Cake

In addition to the fabulous menus offered at the Hampshire House, consider taking part in the historic cake tradition. A staple of bridesmaid luncheons, this tradition includes serving a cake that is baked with a coin, ring, or thimble inside. The bridesmaid who finds the token in her slice of cake is thought to be lucky in love, and maybe the next to marry. In the Victorian era, this ritual evolved with six different charms attached to ribbons, which would be baked into the cake. Before the cake was sliced, the bridesmaids would each pull a ribbon to get their special charm.

Thoughtful Gifts for Your Bridesmaids

It is customary to give your bridal party gifts for being in your wedding. Consider giving a bracelet or earrings that they can each wear during the ceremony or select a pretty memento for each one that says something about your friendship. Increasingly, brides are also purchasing matching robes for their bridesmaids to get ready in before they put on their dresses. Although many couples still opt to give out their bridal party gifts at the rehearsal dinner, this is a fun and thoughtful option for the bridesmaids’ luncheon, too.

If you want to use a bridesmaids’ brunch as an opportunity to ask your best girlfriends to be a part of your wedding day earlier in the planning cycle, then you can surprise each one with an extra-special card — pick something out pre-printed or have one custom-made with your bridesmaids’ names — and a small token of your appreciation, like a miniature champagne bottle or a customized charm or trinket. With that being said, the brunch is enough of a gift on its own!

An Intimate Ambiance

At the Hampshire House, bridesmaid luncheons are typically hosted on our third floor. In the cozy Thayer room, a fireplace will be made in cooler months to warm up your gathering. From the windows, you can overlook the Boston Public Garden. In warm weather, take a stroll through the garden after your meal to capture some pictures of your bridal party. This intimate ambiance is perfect for smaller groups and provides you with an especially enjoyable backdrop to calm your pre-wedding nerves.



How to Plan Your Bridal Shower This Year

IMG_1449AGet a head-start on planning a memorable shower for the bride-to-be with the help of Hampshire House’s bridal shower planning guide. If you are the maid of honor, it is up to you to lead the charge on this celebration, but don’t be afraid to enlist the help of your fellow bridesmaids, the bride and groom’s parents, and the venue to create a day tailor-made for the bride. You’ll want to start by discussing ideas with the bride — venue, theme, favors, décor and menu — and then divvying up tasks for the rest of the bridal party and the bride’s family.

Our exquisite Bostonian mansion, situated in the heart of Beacon Hill, lends itself well to both intimate and larger bridal showers. We’re happy to work with you and the bride-to-be to create an enchanting bridal shower that suits her special love story, with our unique venue as the backdrop. Brides of all styles will be delighted to throw a memorable shower in our space, which comes complete with fireplaces, hand-crafted oaken bars, brass chandeliers and sweeping views of Boston!

Initial Planning: Working with the Bride

While this is your event to throw, have an early conversation with the bride to get a sense of her ideas. Bridal showers are typically held about a month or two before the wedding, but she may want to coordinate it when certain friends or family will already be in town for the main event. Find out if she is looking for a big event or a more intimate gathering and determine whether the shower will be primarily bridesmaids or if it will also be open to other friends and relatives. Now is also a good time to decide whether to keep the event ladies only or to invite men as well. Coed bridal showers (also called “couples’ showers”) are quite the trendy option, but if you decide to go for this nontraditional take, consider that you’ll have to account for double the guests.

A Themed Occasion that Tells a Special Story

As you develop your friend’s bridal shower, decide whether to incorporate a theme. Even if you don’t go for an explicit theme, you’ll want to create a cohesive feel with décor, favors, food, and drinks that work together, even if they’re only tied together by a color scheme. If your friend is planning a beachy wedding or an upscale affair, you can draw from her existing plans to throw something in a similar vein. Another option is to opt for a full departure and host a fancy high tea even if she is having a low-key wedding. Once you have the theme nailed down, you can make decisions on food, favors, and décor.

Popular bridal shower themes for this season include:

  • Around-the-World — Deck out the Hampshire House Library or Oak Room with travel-themed décor, such as decorative globes, antique luggage, and plenty of maps. Work with the catering staff to develop a global menu with dishes and desserts from her favorite destinations.
  • Glamorous Garden Party — Brides who love all things floral will adore the garden party themed bridal shower. Cover tables with colorful, fresh flowers in spring or summer themes and send guests home with adorable seed packets or miniature planter favors. Make it an extra-sweet affair when you pair it with high tea.
  • Effortlessly Eclectic — Hampshire House provides the perfect backdrop for eclectic affairs, with our Old World finishes and handsome hardwood. Complement this theme with wildflowers, antique centerpieces, and popping pastel décor for an eclectic approach.
  • Literary Love Story — Another ideal choice for the Hampshire House Library, the literary bridal shower theme is a perfect pick for academic brides. Craft unique centerpieces and décor from old books and order shower invitations that look like library cards to tie your theme together.


Memorable Bridal Party Favors

Create some charming favors to give back to all of the gift-bearing friends and relatives, and to help them remember the occasion forever. Consider local candies and treats from a Boston sweets purveyor, or find another local artisan who can craft candles, bookmarks, or makeup bags for the special day.

Activities and Games

Shower activities like a wedding-related bingo or the newlywed game are fun and topical, while more unconventional bridal shower games — wedding Jeopardy and two truths and a lie, for example — will keep things upbeat for out-of-the-box brides. Encourage games that get the bride to dish about her fiancé and their relationship, while keeping everything appropriate for grandma!

Memorable Menus

Champagne is the perfect way to top off a mid-day brunch or afternoon high tea while keeping the mood light. If the bride is not a fan of champagne, consider a specialty cocktail featuring seasonal ingredients.  At the Hampshire House, a range of menu items are available for a brunch, tea party, or late afternoon reception. Contact the Hampshire House today to schedule your Bridal Shower!