When it comes to the bridal shower, there's just one thing guests are looking forward to almost as much as seeing the bride: the food. Gone are the days of boring bridal shower fare like simple salads and tea sandwiches. If you want to wow your guests with a menu that's as perfect as the bride-to-be, you're in luck. Here, find six simple tips that will ensure the food at your bride's shower blows everyone away.
Ask a pro for help.
Whether you're having the bridal shower at home or in an event space, it's almost always a good idea to work with a caterer or chef. It's a big undertaking to host a large bridal shower, and it's an even bigger undertaking to be make all the food on your own. But deciding to hire a caterer is only the first step. Ask your pro for input and ideas for a crowd-pleasing menu and trust that they won't steer you in the wrong direction. In the end, they'll likely have ideas you would never think up on your own. Nathaniel Neubauer of Contemporary Catering loves the idea of a refined take on finger foods. Serve up endives filled with caramelized apples, onions, walnuts, and gorgonzola, or mini avocado toasts with shaved heirloom tomatoes, toasted cumin, chile flakes, maldon salt, and oil for light bites that impress.
Be open to seasonal flavors.
"When planning the perfect bridal shower menu, always consider the season first," says Neubauer. This way you'll be able to select the freshest, highest quality ingredients. For winter showers, he loves the idea of a light citrus salad in place of a more standard green option. In the spring and summer, try fruit-heavy dishes or proteins with plenty of herbs. In the fall, warming dishes with spicy, autumnal flavors are sure winners.
Think about the style.
Once you've considered the season, Neubauer recommends thinking about your event's style. Do you want the shower to be more formal or relaxed? Once you've decided, work with your caterer to "develop a menu that's congruent with the experience guests are having." This will help you decide on the food, service style—sit-down, tapas, buffet—and staff attire and numbers. The result: comfortable guests getting a unique, well-orchestrated experience.
Set up food stations.
When it comes to creating the perfect afternoon shower menu, Colleen Zielinski, executive chef at Colette's Catering, suggests food stations. "Guests are able to move from station to station and enjoy each other's company," she says. In the spring and summer, she likes a bruschetta bar complete with traditional bruschetta, marinated burrata with tomatoes, ricotta with truffle honey, blackberries, and pistachios, pitas, baguettes, and lavosh. Complement that with a salad station where guests can build their own green salad, grab fruit and cheese, or even something a little more unique like sesame ahi lettuce cups.
When in doubt, serve brunch.
If you're hosting a morning or early afternoon shower, you can't go wrong with brunch, says Sarah Kuhlberg, creative director at Colette's Catering. When it comes to the food for a brunch celebration, Zielinski likes setting out delicious small plates like sweet potato cakes with smoked salmon, a poached egg, and dill hollandaise; steak and eggs en cocotte with chives, roasted tomato, and chimichurri; and grab-and-go parfaits. You can even offer a made-to-order crêpe station.
Be sure to highlight the bride's favorites.
Zeilinski likes telling a story with the food she cooks and says you can do this at your bride's shower by her personal favorites. It's a great way to make the bride front and center. After all, the day should be all about her. Work directly with your caterer to customize the courses according to the bride's favorite foods, which can also tie into the shower style, whether an intimate backyard affair, a soirée at an upscale estate, or a laidback meal on a farm, says Kuhlberg.