What to serve at a bridal shower
Here's the thing: you can pretty much serve whatever you want at a bridal shower. It used to be that you had to serve tiny ham sandwiches on Hawaiian bread (delicious) and those chalky pastel mints that dissolve in your mouth (which I can never, ever stop eating for some reason). But with the interwebs we've figured out that bridal showers, like weddings, are about creativity and customization, which means that you can actually serve anything you want at a bridal shower. Anything? That makes it easy, right? No, if anything it makes it harder because now you have too many options and it's too easy to make a bad decision.
So, here are a few things to remember when deciding what to serve at a bridal shower:
- If it's food it's never a bad decision. The whole reason people have parties and showers is to create an excuse to eat food. Do not fret for if you host a shower with pastel chalk mints and baby ham sandwiches and invite me I will show up, and I will eat all of the food because I love food, as do most people.
- Pick foods that go with your theme. This also works the other way, meaning you can base your theme off of your food. For example, if you're dying to try a taco bar then you could host a fiesta themed bridal shower.
- Pick foods that work with your budget. I'm just going to put this out there: if you're hosting a low-budget bridal shower you're not going to be able to afford a macaroon bar, but you will get fine on a coffee and donut bar just fine.
What are Food Bars
When I say, "food bar," I'm specifically referring to a self-service buffet for your guests that focuses on and glorifies one type of food (or beverage), wherein you provide numerous options for guests to choose from in order to customize their meals to their exact tastes.
An example of a food bar would be mashed potato bar where every guest is given an individual serving of plain mashed potatoes, and then chooses from various toppings like bacon, cheese, gravy, or green onions to create the mashed potatoes of her dreams.
Also, you might want to note that I use the terms, bar, station, spread, and buffet interchangeably because I started to feel like a robot using the word, "bar," 3000 times when I was writing this article.
Why You Should Try a Food Bar at Your Bridal Shower
Like I said, if it's food I don't have a problem with it, so traditional buffets with several different types of foods are totally legit, but I thought you should know some of the advantages of a food bar to help you understand their appeal:
- You only have to make one type of food. Instead pulling up 11 different recipes from your Pinterest account, you can just pull up one (or none sometimes), and save yourself some stress of shopping for, timing, making, and containing multiple recipes. Instead you make one food, and then you shop for toppings.
- Your guests get exactly what they want. You don't have to guess the percentage of mustard sandwiches vs. mayo sandwiches because everyone is making her own sandwich exactly how she wants it.
- Your guests will be excited by their creative potential. This sounds cheesy, but since we've already established that most people love food, they will love the idea of customizing their mimosa, biscuit, or sundae with seemingly infinite possibilities.
Why You Must Consider Palatable Alternatives
Now that I've gotten you all excited about creating your own food bar, I'd like to get slightly serious.
I dated a guy once who had a party catered by his favorite BBQ joint, and the food was truly ah-mazing. Several of his friends had religious dietary restrictions and others were vegetarians, and I swear I'm not making this up, even the coleslaw had bacon in it. So, that played out really awkwardly. Avoid having to apologize to your guests because the only thing that you can offer them are hamburger buns. Also, even if the coleslaw didn't have bacon in it, have you ever wanted to just eat coleslaw? If you answered, 'yes,' to that please email me, because I'd like someone to explain to me why coleslaw even exists.
Here are the main things you must consider when thinking about your food bar alternatives:
- Food allergies. Maybe a tree nut bar is not the best idea.
- Religious dietary practices. I'm just saying, you might want to serve at least one thing that is not pork-based.
- People who just don't like things or can't stomach things. An example would be that I don't drink coffee, so for a coffee and donut bar it would be really nice if you also served milk, so I don't end up doing cartwheels in the parking lot.
- Vegetarians and vegans. I was a vegetarian for 6 years, and I can tell you that you never get used to people looking at you like you have a third arm as they hastily offer you chicken upon revealing to them that you're a vegetarian. First, never ask a vegetarian if she eats chicken, and second have a salad or pasta set aside for this situation if you're doing a meat-based food bar.
And Now it's Time to Select Your Food Bar
I'd like to consider this article a food bar food bar, also my head just exploded. I've divided the food bars into categories, so have fun exploring 29 incredibly creative food bar ideas!
Learn more about what to serve at a bridal shower: