Want something more than the usual bridal shower traditions of exclaiming over the presents, reminiscing about the bride’s growing up years, and enjoying the party fare? For an intimate gathering with a small guest list, we have an alternative that’s lots of fun, gets everyone involved, and is highly practical. Host a fun-filled “cooking” bridal shower party!
Here, the focus is on preparing the food and drinks on the spot—with all the guests helping out. To paraphrase that famous line, “Let them make their cake and eat it, too!” Sounds like fun? It certainly can be, with ideas taken from our five easy examples below:
1. A Make-Your-Own-Sandwich Spread – Have 3 to 4 different fillings on hand for guests to assemble their own finger sandwiches. Provide different bread varieties, spreads, and garnishes to suit every taste. To make it even more fun, set out cookie cutters in different shapes, so guests can create pretty sandwiches like the heart-shaped ones shown here. A panini maker can also allow them to give their creations a gourmet flair. Then, for a pretty party look, display the finished sandwiches on doily-lined plates accompanied by different flavors of gourmet chips and crackers to nibble on.
2. A Party Pasta Bar – The idea here is a smorgasbord or buffet set-up. Have a selection of tomato-based, cream-based, and pesto-based sauces awaiting your guests, plus pre-cooked pasta noodles (one kind or a variety). Hint: To serve the pasta hot, put each serving of noodles into a strainer and lower it into a pot of water simmering on a tabletop burner nearby. Drain well and transfer to a plate.
Then have your guests concoct their own pasta variations by topping their choice of sauce with ingredients from the enticing array you’ve prepared—meatballs, Italian sausage, diced prosciutto, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, anchovies, chopped herbs like basil, and grated parmigiano cheese. On the side, have a fresh green salad and an assortment of Italian cheeses, crostinis, and bread sticks to complement the pasta. You may also serve up some freshly made bruschetta as a tasteful appetizer.
3. Dessert Decorating Stations – If you’re planning a tea-time bridal shower, petite desserts and sweet treats would be perfect served with tea or coffee. Set up different “stations” with undecorated cupcakes, cookies, baked bars, and cake slices. At each station, have an assortment of colored frostings, sprinkles, chocolate chips, and chopped nuts. Then, let your guests have a great time decorating their own desserts! For a more grown-up take on this childhood pastime, you can include a variety of frostings infused with special almond, coffee, or orange-flavored liqueur.
4. Happy Hibachi Grilling – Cooking on an indoor hibachi is a truly fun approach to a bridal shower party with an Asian-inspired menu. The small size of this portable grill encourages everyone to gather around and enjoy the party chatter as they cook. Prepare an assortment of very fresh, raw meats (chicken, beef, and pork), seafood (fish and shrimp), and vegetables (bean sprouts, green bell pepper, and onions)—all cut into strips or bite-size pieces. Set out small bowls of steaming hot rice, dishes of soy sauce and teriyaki sauce, and several sets of chopsticks both for grilling and eating with. In the spirit of fun, insist that guests use forks only as a last resort!
5. A Mexican Fiesta – If casual and festive is the party mood you’re aiming for, a Mexican taco barr is just the thing. Set out different fillings like ground beef, chicken strips, and grilled shrimp for guests to stuff taco shells with. Provide condiments like sour cream, chopped cabbage, minced onions and tomatoes, cilantro, and lime; and offer topping sauces ranging from mild to hot. Have tons of tortilla chips available, with matching dipping salsas and guacamole. And of course, have ingredients on hand for guests to mix up their own margaritas! You can also consider a “walking” taco bar!
Have an idea for a fun cooking-inspired bridal shower party? Step into the kitchen and let us know!