One of the things that many bridesmaids stress over is finding the perfect menu for the bridal shower. And even if you ask, the bride is probably not going to be much help. She is, after all, trying to plan out her own menu for the big day.
But don’t worry. You’ve got this. Just follow these simple guidelines and you’ll be able to put together a great menu that is going to wow your bride’s guests and keep everyone nice and satisfied during all of those minute-to-win-it bridal shower games.
Guideline One: Plan for food allergies
If you’re planning for a big bridal shower, it’s a good idea to have allergy-friendly foods available for some of the more common food allergies, just in case. That’s going to save you the stress of having to contact every guest before you put the menu together. Here is a list of some of the most common food allergies:
- Tree nuts
- Shellfish/ Fish
Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to completely leave these ingredients out of your menu, but make sure there’s at least one option that doesn’t contain any of the big allergies. It’s also a good idea to clearly label everything.
If you’ll be throwing a smaller shower, on the other hand, you can contact each guest and ask them to tell you of any food allergies. This will allow you to create a tailored menu that makes everyone happy. The best way to go about this is to include a question about food allergies in the invitation under RSVP. You might even say, Please RSVP with any potential food allergies by [date].
One thing that you might remind guests is that a weight-loss diet is not a food allergy. We say this because, if you have to create a menu that will abide by every guest’s chosen diet restrictions, you’ll go crazy. It’s okay to set that boundary.
Overall, this step may seem a little irritating to planners, but the gesture will be so appreciated by the guests who do have food allergies. And, again, you don’t have to cater the entire menu to 60 people’s food allergies - just make sure to have a few options for the food allergy folks, and you’re set.
Guideline Two: Create consistency
Think about the theme of the bridal shower. Picnic, cabin, tea party, slumber party, or whatever the theme may be, the menu is a great way to create the right ambiance.
Even if you don’t feel like there’s a specific theme, you still know whether you’re going to be creating an elegant, fancy shower or a relaxed unconventional shower.
Here are a couple of ideas for different common bridal shower themes:
Elegant, floral, tea party
- Bruschetta or Crostini - you can top them with a spinach spread, ricotta, dried tomatoes, olives, arugula, or anything that sounds tasty to you
- Mini quiches
- Antipasto Cheese Board
- Mini lox bagels
- Crab cakes
Relaxed, backyard bbq, casual get together
- Pulled pork sliders
- Thick cut seasoned french fries (or sweet potatoes)
- Devilled eggs
- Veggie and shrimp skewers
There are also a few food items that are great for any theme. Fresh fruit, for instance, is a tasty, healthy addition that is right at home alongside some of the more elegant dishes as well as any casual spread. If you want to dress up a bowl of fresh fruit, you might dust it with powdered sugar or serve it in a nice tray.
Guideline Three: Pick easy-to-eat foods
The idea of a bridal shower isn’t to have everyone sit down to a formal three-course meal. Instead of chaining everyone to their seats, you want to facilitate movement so that everyone gets a chance to chat with the bride and possibly other friends and family members. Remember, some guests will be coming from out of town, and the bridal shower is the perfect mingling party.
So, with that said, you want to choose food options that can be eaten easily and effortlessly. Appetizers and finger foods are the best for bridal showers because they don’t require anyone to sit down with a fork and knife. Guests can mingle as they please.
Guideline Four: Not too filling
Generally, bridal showers take place in the early afternoon. And, unless you want to lull the guests into an afternoon nap by filling them completely up with heavy food, you’ll want to keep things light.
The tricky part is finding dishes that are satisfying but not over-the-top. Sliders, skewers, mini quiches, tartines are all good examples of foods that won’t make your guests hesitant to get up for the activities.
Guideline Five: Have a vegetarian option (even if you don’t expect there to be vegetarians)
Let’s face it, veggie options are light, tasty, and add a bit of class to any event. And, they tend to be a bit cheaper than some of the meat-heavy food items. So, even if you don’t expect any vegetarians on the guest list, you should include at least one vegetarian option in the menu.
Of course, if you are expecting vegetarians at the event, they will love you for taking the time to consider them!
A few extra tips
At this point, you hopefully have more of an idea of what you might include in your bridal shower menu. Here are a few final tips when you’re ready to lock the menu in:
- Run it by the bride. She might quickly glance and give you the okay. She might remember that her elderly Aunt Janie can’t eat anything solid. You’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to make any changes that the bride suggests.
- Include the finalized menu in the event reminder, about a week from the bridal shower. While it may be too late to change the menu, giving guests the opportunity to look it over will help them decide what to do if, for some reason, they can’t eat anything. Perhaps they’ll have a larger breakfast.
And our last tip is this: don’t stress so much about the food. It’s an important element, for sure, but it’s not the main event, and you’re never going to please 100% of the guests with the perfect magical menu. Instead, make sure it’s a spread that the bride will like, and you’re good to go!