Food and drinks are one of the most important elements of any bridal shower (or wedding shower). The bridal shower menu is one of the center pieces of the party, and keeping guests fed and happy with a variety of tasty treats should be a priority. The bridal shower food should also be one of the items you leave some wiggle room in your budget for as you're planning your party.
But planning the menu can sometimes be a little daunting, because there are a lot of moving parts to consider––finger food, appetizers, seated meal, buffet—and even the bridal shower theme. The good news: Whatever kind of shower you’re throwing, there is a perfect menu to be catered to it. Below we take a look at some things to keep top-of-mind when planning a bridal shower menu, as well as 20 bridal shower food and drink ideas to inspire or choose from.
Now that you’ve got an idea of how to select the bites and menu items for your shower, let’s talk inspiration. Below we share 20 of our favorite drink and food ideas, from towers, to skewers, to mimosas, and more.
Along with any cocktails and bubbly you might have, you’ll want to provide a few non-alcoholic options. Or, perhaps you’re hosting a dry shower altogether. In either case, you can display beverages like lemonade, punch, and fruit-infused water in beautiful glass dispensers.
Set up a table that allows guests to mix together their own craft cocktails. Include a variety fresh ingredients, such as liquors, mixers, and garnishes. You can even put a few framed recipes on display.
Early to midday affairs benefit greatly from a mimosa and breakfast bar. Provide a variety of breakfast and brunch foods, like acai bowls, quiche, fresh fruit, yogurt, granola, and so on. Top it all off with some mimosa mixings for an ideal brunch set-up.
Perhaps you’d like some readily available bites for your guests. An easy and impressive option, here, is an oversized grazing table or platter. Include all of the necessities you’d have on a cheese board (such as cheeses, crackers, and jams), as well as crudité, fresh fruit, sliced meats, nuts, olives, honey, and/or olive oil.
What’s the difference in a grazing platter and charcuterie board? Well, while a grazing board has a variety of different snack foods, a charcuterie board focusses mainly on cured meats or pâtés. That being said, they’re often paired with cheese and crackers. Put together a few different boards and place them around your shower for your guests to pick from.
Another fresh and delicious hors d'oeuvre idea centers on a variety of dips. Display a handful of dips such as artichoke dip, guacamole, and salsa at the center of a table and surround them by dipping options like bread, crackers, tortilla chips, and crudité.
Similarly, you can base an appetizer or bites off of wine pairings. Have the bride-to-be select two to four wines and pair each with a few complimentary foods. Consider cheeses, meats, desserts, and other small bites.
Who doesn’t love a beautiful display? For fancy affairs, place smaller desserts such as tarts, cheesecake bites, cupcakes, macarons, and brownies on tiered platters.
Bridal showers inspired by regency-era shows such as Bridgerton will delight in a high tea set-up, complete with all of the fixings you’d find at a tea party—tea sandwiches, deviled eggs, chicken salad, scones, and, of course, a selection of teas.
If the idea of small bites appeals to you, but you’re not keen on a high tea theme, consider sticking to finger food. Such foods—like finger sandwiches and pinwheels—are easy for guests to navigate and take with them as they mingle with other guests. This is a particularly good option if you aren’t planning on a sit-down meal.
Formal seaside celebrations can lean into their setting with various seafood stations. Guests are sure to be impressed by a selection of sushi, lobster rolls, oysters, or shrimp. Just be sure to have some beloved staples as well, for less adventurous guests.
Speaking of beloved staples, you simply can’t go wrong with a pasta bar. Provide a few different types of pasta (bowtie, angel hair, etc.), as well as some sauces (tomato sauce, fettucine) and perhaps a few other options like gnocchi and allow guests to put their plates together with their favorites.
Seasonal salads serve as a fool-proof app. You can cater a salad (or selection of salads) to compliment just about any main course, making them ideal for sit-down meals.
Before you sit for your main course, there are two things guests are likely to want to do: Snack and socialize. Make it easy on them by serving easy-to-eat skewers. Stack your sticks with caprese (mozzarella pearls, tomato, and balsamic), tortellini , an assortment of veggies, kebabs, or whatever else is in season.
Perhaps you’d love to serve pizza, but want to step things up a bit. For a more formal alternative, consider artisan flatbreads. You can go traditional (tomato and mozzarella), step outside of the box (grilled apple and goat cheese), or have a few different options available.
Unique and delicious, a few fondue stations are sure to excite your guests. Either set up a few large fountains (with cheese and chocolate, of course) for everyone to dip from on a large table or—our favorite—set up smaller fountains at each dinner table so everyone can sit and eat at their leisure.
Of course, you can always rely on professional catering. Take the location of your bridal shower into account and reach out to local restaurants and caterers that match the formality of the shower, as well as the kind of food the bride would enjoy.
Laidback showers can lean into a fun summer theme with foods you’d find at your local fair. Present your guests with pretzels and cheese dip, corn on the cob, churros, snow cones—you get the idea. Top the whole thing off with a cotton candy machine for added flair.
So restaurant catering isn’t the feeling you’re going for. No problem. Non-traditional bridal showers can hire the bride or couple’s favorite fast food joint to cater the day. Some fast food restaurants, like In-N-Out, even have food trucks that can simply pull up to your event and serve. Not only is this a fun way to source your menu, but a personalized addition to the day.
Ditch traditional desserts like cake (or don’t) and have a fun champagne tower moment. Once guests have settled in, direct their attention to a beautiful display of towered coupe glasses. Then, simply have the bride-to-be get pouring! Guests will be thrilled at the elegant display, as well as the handing out of freshly poured champagne. Plus, this gives the host(s) or bride a chance to give a lovely toast and thank everyone in attendance.
Ultimately, you have the final say. Do what makes the most sense for you, your partner, and your budget to craft the best bridal shower menu for you. There are a lot of ways to approach it, and although food is one of the big ticket items for a shower, it doesn't have to break the bank or be a stressful endeavor. Your family members, bridesmaids, close friends, and other guests will appreciate whatever you prepare for them.
Deciding on food and drinks isn’t exactly as easy as choosing what sounds good. There are several things you’ll want to take into consideration before setting anything in stone.
Whether you’re having an evening bridal shower party or a bridal shower brunch, the time of day you’re planning to have your shower will play a factor in the kind of party food your menu will consist of. Are you going for a more relaxed vibe at your house or at a friend's? Are you springing for an event space or hosting it at a restaurant?
An afternoon cocktail hour shower will generally consist of smaller bites and hors d'oeuvres. There are so many ways this can go with twists on bar food, such as mini hamburger sliders made with veggie or impossible burgers, elevated tacos, or even Pan-Asian inspired dishes incorporating seafood such as shrimp and scallops.
If you're hosting a shower during dinner hour, consider serving heavier items, because some people may be expecting a full meal. Think caprese salads, dishes that incorporate hummus and other protein, or personalized pizzas with a twist.
If you’re hosting your party earlier in the day, a brunch menu may be more appropriate. You can’t go wrong with a take on waffles, pancakes, breakfast sandwich sliders, and fresh fruit. Also, don't skimp on things like hash browns and breakfast pastry classics like blueberry muffins, scones, and donuts.
Planning any kind of party regardless of its size is an undertaking. And when it involves potentially cooking a lot of food, the task can feel overwhelming. Depending on where you have your event, either at home or in a venue, one thing you can do to help alleviate the stress is to hire a professional chef or caterer. They can work with you to create a customized menu that incorporates your favorite party foods and others that are sure to be winners.
When working with a chef or caterer, be sure to ask them their professional opinion on how to approach the menu. They can help give you advice on something you might have not considered and can help you get creative and come up with new takes on familiar dishes. Taking popular items such as avocado toast and doing a mini version of it as hors d'oeuvres can be the fun twist that will leave a memorable and delicious impression on your guests.
When it comes to planning your bridal shower always remember to plan around the season. This can greatly affect both the kinds of food you can have and also where you will be having it. This will also ensure you’re working with the freshest, highest quality ingredients you can get. Going to a local farmers market, for example, can be a great way to help introduce you to items that are currently available and can also be a jumping off point for some menu items.
For summer and spring showers, think about seasonal berries and fruits that can be used to create beautiful fruit salads or berry-infused drinks or desserts. Also, consider the bounty of fresh vegetables available for a variety of veggie-inspired dishes.
For fall and winter, items such as leeks, squash, and other root vegetables can easily be used in a variety of ways—everything from complex sauces, soups, roasts, and more. Remember to think about how to use proteins in a way that incorporates the seasons, as well.
The sky's the limit when you’re planning your shower menu. Having a DIY element, such as a make-your-own ice cream sundae or sandwich bar is a fun way to get your guests talking and interacting with the food in a different way—a unique memory for sure.
The container you choose can also help mix things up. When you're looking for bowls, trays, and other serving vessels, think outside of the box. Using interesting containers to serve things such as a salad, dessert, or more can also elevate the food—especially if you’re opting to have food stations.
When you're hosting any kind of party there are certain items you can never go wrong with. Cheese boards are one item that leave a lot of room for possibilities. You can include everything from:
If you're strapped for ideas, considering food items that your hometown or state is known for can also be another way to get creative. For example, if you live in Vermont, incorporate maple syrup into your menu. You can also source local items from surrounding farms and merchants to show hometown pride.
Although a bridal shower is a celebratory occasion, you can decide how much or how little alcohol you want to include. If you choose to have a bar at your shower, you can limit it to things like beer and wine and just have drinks passed as opposed to offering a fully stocked bar. Signature cocktails are also all the rage nowadays and having two specialty drink items can also help to cut back on what people are drinking. No matter what, be sure to have some non-alcoholic options such as tea or orange juice on hand, too.