What Kind of Food Do You Serve at a Bridal Shower?

bridal shower brunch buffet set up

With your big day fast approaching, getting all the preparations perfect can seem stressful. Not only do you need to prepare for your wedding day itself, there are engagement parties, bridal showers, bachelor / bachelorette parties, a rehearsal dinner and more. When it comes to hosting any event, one of the most important things is getting the food right – so what kind of food should you serve at a bridal shower?

At a bridal shower, you should serve food appropriate to the time of day. Because most bridal showers are brunches, this usually means finger foods and snacks. You should also have a cake and specialty drinks, both non-alcoholic and alcoholic (unless you’re hosting a dry event).

If you’re looking for more help when planning the food for your bridal shower, you’re in the right place. In this article, I’ll show you exactly how to go about serving a scrumptious meal for your shower and how you should decorate your bridal shower cake to ensure it stands out.

Wondering if you should even have a bridal shower? Read this first.

What Kind of Food Do You Serve at a Bridal Shower?

Getting the food right for any event can be challenging, and your bridal shower is no different.

The food served at your bridal shower should match your theme (if there is one). If there isn’t one, you can match it to your wedding theme. It should also be appropriate for the time of day – a bridal shower lunch will generally involve a full meal, while a brunch or early evening shower may not.

A good rule of thumb that you should keep in mind for your bridal shower is that there should always be food available – but everything else is up to you. 

There are numerous considerations that can impact the type of food you serve at your shower, including:

  • Your Budget: If you’ve got a smaller budget for your shower, you’re likely not planning on having a full plated meal served by waitstaff. Read more about how much a bridal shower costs and who typically pays for it.
  • The Time of Day: If your shower takes place in the afternoon, your guests will be expecting either lunch or enough food to fill them up in place of lunch.
  • Theme: If there is a theme, the food should be centered around it. Choosing a theme also makes it easier to determine the menu, so I always recommend having one. Your theme doesn’t necessarily need to be “Brunch and Bubbly” or “Tea Party.” It can also be something unique like “the bride’s favorite foods” or “international potluck.”

Your food should also be accompanied by drinks. Unless you’re specifically planning on hosting a dry bridal shower, I do recommend serving both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages so that there’s something for everyone. Here are more basics of hosting a bridal shower.

future bride and groom toasting with champagne

What Kind of Food Is Good for a Bridal Shower?

Good food to serve for a bridal shower include finger foods like mini quiches, sandwiches, and scones. You can also serve light dishes like salads, artisanal cheeses, lobster rolls, spring rolls, tarts, crostini, and bruschetta. Finish with dessert dishes like cake, cupcakes, and mini cheesecakes. 

Unless you’re serving a full plated, sit-down meal, the food you serve at a bridal shower should be easy to eat when standing and balancing a plate in one hand. Your menu should accommodate the dietary needs of your guests when practical – you can either send out a survey before the shower asking about dietary restrictions or create a menu with some dishes that everyone can enjoy. 

Among the most common dietary restrictions you will encounter are:

  • Vegan and vegetarian
  • Gluten-free
  • Nut allergies
  • Lactose intolerance

You should try and serve at least one dish that accommodates each of these restrictions, though this may depend on how many dishes you’re planning to serve. If you’re only serving a few items, choose at least one that will accommodate everyone. This will ensure that all your guests will have fun, and no one will go home hungry. 

german themed bridal shower that says "prost!"
German Themed Bridal Shower Invitation – Available from Loud Bride on Etsy

Bridal Shower Food Ideas

If you’re unsure what dishes to serve, look for ones that use local ingredients and serve up some hometown favorites from where the bride grew up. The food will provide a great sense of nostalgia for the bride and can be an introduction for out-of-town guests to local food. 

Here’s an accidentally vegan and gluten free peanut butter cookie recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I don’t typically seek out these kinds of recipes that are defined by their lack of ingredients. But it’s a favorite of mine and just happens to work with most restrictions (except nut allergies of course!)

If you’re planning to have a non-traditional bridal shower, the food you’ll serve will differ. For example, if you’re hosting a virtual shower, you’ll obviously not be serving food. If you’re hosting a potluck shower, on the other hand, the food served will depend on what the guests bring. While you can provide recommendations, there will still be a level of surprise.

That said, keep in mind that if you are hosting a potluck, I recommend having some dishes prepared from your end as well. While your guests will hopefully bring dishes as requested, having a few light food items ensures that if they don’t – or if there isn’t enough food for everyone – you’ve got things covered.

bridal shower bar cart

What Do You Put On a Bridal Shower Cake?

A bridal shower isn’t just about food – it’s also about the cake. However, this can also pose another challenge for brides and shower organizers – what should you put on the cake?

A bridal shower cake should be decorated more playfully than a wedding cake. This cake is a chance for your creativity to go wild. You can complete it with fun bride-themed toppers, fondant versions of the bride and her favorite things, or words encouraging the bride to look ahead at her new life.

The cake design will depend on the type of bridal shower you’re hosting. More formal showers will have formally decorated cakes with lighter colors and simpler cake toppings.

However, if you’re having a more casual get-together or celebrating primarily with friends instead of family, you can go all-out with the cake. One popular option is to commission a fondant figure designed to look like the bride, surrounded by some of her favorite things. Alternatively, you could choose an alcoholic cake, like rum balls, to complement your dishes. 

Final Thoughts

You should serve light and easy-to-eat food at your bridal shower. It should also be appropriate for the time of day during which the shower is taking place. 

Make sure you have dishes that can accommodate every guest’s dietary needs. Additionally, you should ensure that you serve savory foods as well as desserts. Finally, make sure your bar has both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options, as there may be guests present who prefer to avoid alcohol.

Not sure how to budget for all of your wedding events?

You can check out my free budget guide if you sign up for my newsletter. It automatically calculates what you should spend where based on your budget and guest count and helps you stay on track. It’s like the fairy godmother of numbers.


Jaime is the owner of Loud Bride and Coast Designs LLC. She got married in 2017 in Geneseo, NY and designed her own wedding invitations and programs for the occasion. Now, she designs bespoke wedding stationery and affordable templates for other couples. She lives in New York city with her husband and two children.

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