A bridal luncheon is the traditional way brides thank their bridesmaids for all they do to make the bride’s wedding day special. We’ve all been to them. They are sweet, lovely, well-intentioned occasions that, on a fun scale of 1-10, typically rate a strong “Meh.” You want to do something especially fun and memorable, and you’ve come to the right place! We have a plan for a poolside spa party worthy of all the time and energy bridesmaids spend on the bride that won’t take a ton of your time and energy. With the top five wedding months being May-September, a poolside spa party makes sense. Besides, who wouldn’t choose “relaxed, exfoliated and manicured by the pool” over “dressed-up and bored indoors?” This is also a terrific party to host for tired moms, stressed-out girlfriends and helpful neighbors! Best of all, even though it appears to be “all about the bridesmaids,” as host, you’ll get pampered too! Check out this easy plan for creating a spa oasis for your girls!
At least five to six weeks before your event, you’ll want to start preparations and figure out what spa services you’ll offer at your party so you can book your professionals. If you have a spa or salon you frequent, ask if it’s possible to book staff for private parties. If you’re holding your party during off hours, you’ll have an even better chance of securing them. Find out if they are able to bring all the necessary equipment – foot baths for pedicures, massage tables for massages, etc. Ask what they’ll need from you as far as set-up, and have it ready for them. There are a number of companies offering mobile spa parties these days, so do an internet search for services available in your area. (One I found in my area offers a “milkshake mani-pedi.” I don’t know what that is, but I’m in!) Another option is to contact local massage therapy and cosmetology schools to see if they have students to recommend. You can often save money this way.
Whichever way you go, I recommend meeting with your techs ahead of time, getting references and making sure the techs are properly trained in the services you want them to provide. I would also book one more tech than you think you’ll need. You don’t want to be caught short-staffed at your event because someone cancelled at the last minute. Be sure to call your professionals a few days before the party to remind them of the start time and go over once more their list of needs. If your budget allows, I recommend negotiating a price for providing each bridesmaid with a mani-pedi and a shoulder massage. If your budget allows for more services, like facials and full massages, go for it! Ask your specialists to arrive 30 minutes before party time to set up.
You can get custom invitations printed through sites like etsy.com, or you can make your own. We love this one we spied on meandmyinsanity.com. You have to admit it has a certain “polish” to it! It’s so cute; your girls are likely to save it as a special keepsake. Be sure to print all your party details on the label like date, time, what services will be provided, and be sure to tell guests to wear their swimsuits. You can find all the how-tos here.
Set the Scene and the Mood
This party plan offers something appealing to all the senses and offers your busy bridesmaids a chance to slow down and unwind. Just having your party poolside makes for a serene setting. Add to the beauty and serenity of your spa setting with a few “lotus blossoms” floating in the pool. Thanks to water-resistant battery compartments, these beautiful floating lotus flower lights add beauty to your pool both day and night. They’re the perfect compliment to your spa theme.
Consider having pretty, comfortable robes for your bridesmaids to wear once they enter your “spa.” Sites like etsy.com offer specially priced sets for bridesmaids like the ones shown below. Just type “bridesmaid robes” in the search bar. These make for a special keepsake the bridesmaids can wear during the party and again while getting dressed on the big day. At robemart.com, you can get waffle knit kimono style robes for as little as $10.99 each when you order four or more. There are also services that rent robes for such occasions. Or, if you travel a lot, just take one from each hotel you stay in. Just kidding!
Be sure to load your iPod or smart phone with soothing, instrumental music or nature sounds and play your selections via a pair of portable speakers or docking station during the party. Many libraries have a selection of CD’s of instrumental music and nature sounds you can check out at no cost.
Light scented candles throughout your spa setting. Put out a few containers of scented body butters for guests to apply to hands and elbows. Place a few fashion magazines around. Take clippings of fresh flowers, large leaves and ornamental grasses from the yard to put in vases. Scatter some pillows on your lounge chairs, and set out a pretty basket of your best towels for guests to use.
Being that your party will likely occur just days before your bridesmaids will don the bridesmaids’ dresses they’ve had carefully altered, your guests will probably prefer to eat light. (Believe me, I know from experience Spanx can only perform so many miracles!) We recommend a menu made up of small bites your girls can eat one handed as they sip and receive a mani or pedi by the pool. Keeping portions small will allow each guest to try a taste of this and that, leaving them happily satisfied. Here’s a spa-tacular menu that’s easy on waistlines and hosts!
- Cucumber-mint water – No spa is worth its weight in bath salts if it doesn’t offer the classic spa drink. Simply add sliced cucumber and fresh mint to a pitcher of ice water.
- Flavored ice tea – It’s also nice to offer a flavored iced tea such as peach or raspberry.
- A signature drink – By offering one signature cocktail you make by the batch, you’ll save time and money. We like this Skinny Girl-Inspired Sparkling White Sangria from nutrition coach Linda Wagner. It’s a slimmed-down version of a summer favorite that is beautiful to boot.
Skinny Girl-Inspired Sparkling White Sangria – Lindawagner.net for the full recipe. Simply add the sliced fruit and mint to the wine and then the stevia until desired sweetness is reached. (Linda recommends an alcohol-free stevia.) Let sit for at least an hour in the fridge to let the flavors infuse. You can also freeze half of the fruit and add right before serving to keep the Sangria cold without diluting the flavor.
Spa facial cheese ball – We fell in love with this clever and adorable appetizer from Hungry Happenings and are sure your girls will love it, too! Check out the Hungry Happenings website to see what you need!
Finger sandwiches – Use favorite sandwich fillings to make finger sandwiches. Consider perennial girl favorites like chicken salad, cucumber and cream cheese and pimento cheese. You can buy prepared chicken salad to save time – Trader Joe’s has several delicious varieties – and prepared pimento cheese as well.
Fresh fruit skewers – make up skewers of fresh fruit guests can nibble on while receiving spa services. Seasonal and favorite fruits like strawberries, watermelon, blueberries, pineapple and cantaloupe make a pretty and delicious combination.
Mini dessert tray – Make up a tray of small favorite desserts like mini éclairs and cream puffs (these disappear any time I serve them), mini lemon bars, and cheesecake bites. I will share my secret recipe for these with you: I buy the cream puffs, éclairs and cheesecake bites in the frozen food section of the grocery store. I buy the lemon bars from the bakery and cut them up into smaller bites. I arrange them on a pretty tray with some fresh mint leaves or a few pansy blossoms. You’re welcome!
When Your Guests Arrive…
Greet them with the drink of their choice, offer them robes to wear over their swimsuits if you choose to provide them, and encourage them to turn off their cell phones or at least set them on vibrate.
Discuss what treatments are available and let the guests rotate through the circuit. While they are waiting their turn to have a mani, pedi or massage, let them enjoy a facial mask you can make up easily and inexpensively. This DIY skin-brightening mask caught our eye. Be sure to have enough ingredients on hand to make up enough for all your guests.
Ideal bridesmaid gift – Tradition dictates that a bride gives her bridesmaids a thank you gift such as a picture frame, scented candle or a necklace or pair of earrings for the bridesmaids to wear during the wedding. Tradition once dictated that women were not allowed to vote or show their knees. Present your bridesmaids with a unique, nontraditional gift they will cherish using during your spa party and all summer long like a pool float! Your girls will happily think of you and your savvy gift skills each time they peacefully lounge. Picture frames, candles and earrings are really nice, but I can’t nap, lounge, or tan in any of them! Just sayin’!
Allow guests to rotate through desired service stations and sip and nibble at their leisure. You will have created a spa afternoon so wonderfully Zen, that when the party is over, your bridesmaids will say, “Leave? Namaste right here!”
Check out our Pinterest board for more party ideas!