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Southern Kitchen’s guide to New Orleans-style bridesmaids' tea
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Southern Kitchen’s guide to New Orleans-style bridesmaids' tea

From burying a bourbon bottle to keep the rain at bay to the second line marching band in New Orleans, Southern weddings are ingrained with long-standing traditions. One of our favorites is the New Orleans bridesmaid tea. Hosted by the bride, the bridesmaid tea celebrates friendship, family and the hard work bridesmaids put into your special day. Plus, there’s a very special dessert involved: the charm cake. Here are six tips to make your NOLA-style bridesmaids' tea special.

Keep it intimate. No need to invite the whole wedding guest list. Include your bridesmaids, maid of honor, flower girls, mothers, grandmothers and any other close female family members.

Host where you feel comfortable. While you may prefer to host it at your home, you can hold the gathering elsewhere and skip the clean up at the end. Tea at a local coffee shop, a hotel lobby or one of your favorite restaurants are all viable venue options. Make sure to book far enough in advance to secure sufficient seating or a private room.

Make it as fancy as you want. Some brides choose to keep it casual while getting ready for the big day (think rollers and robes) and others go full throttle by wearing white gloves and their Sunday best. Either route works as long as everyone feels comfortable.

Give your bridesmaids gifts. If you have a small gift for the maids, the tea time is the perfect chance to show your appreciation for all of their help. A tea box or set of mugs, though a little obvious, make a good choice. Makeup and perfume are easy options, as well. Or look for something more personal that will really make the gesture memorable.

Stick with a light meal. Say yes to finger foods, small pastries and salads for this event. A rented venue often suggests foods that pair best with the tea being served. If you can, delegate to them and save yourself the additional planning.

Don’t forget the charm cake. Move the typical desserts to the side, because a New Orleans-style bridesmaids' tea isn’t complete without a charm cake. In a tradition as entertaining as it is delicious, this is where single ladies get to pull a ribbon that will decide their future. While most venues will be able to provide one from a local baker, the Southern Kitchen has an easy guide to baking your own for DIY-oriented brides.

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