Planning the shower menu
The key elements of a good shower usually include the following: a warm atmosphere, the surrounding of pleasurable company and, of course, good food. The possible options for the shower menu are limitless. A wedding shower can consist of almost anything-- from a backyard barbeque to a sit-down dinner at a restaurant. As long as the option you are going for fits your budget and the tone of the shower, go for it.
Before deciding, first consider the time of the day that the shower is being held, the amount of guests attending and the theme of the shower (if there is one). For morning or early afternoon showers, think brunch. Luncheons are great for noontime showers, and a mid-afternoon tea with finger foods is perfect for showers between 2-5pm (making sure the shower starts no later than 3 or 3:30pm). Dinner should be served for showers held between 5-7pm, and a dessert shower would be appropriate for late evening showers—around 8pm.
Think about the theme you chose for the shower. You will most likely serve up some foods that go hand-in-hand with the theme (i.e. if the shower is themed around the couple's tropical honeymoon, think about throwing a luau and serve the usual luau fare.) An afternoon tea with finger sandwiches, scones and a variety of teas-- or a luncheon with an array of fresh salads and light pasta dishes-- would be perfect for a lingerie shower or even a linen shower.
When the shower is being held in a banquet room, or if you are having the event catered in your home, be sure to discuss all of the menu options with your caterer or the banquet manager of the restaurant. If you don't already have an idea of what you would like served, their expertise in this area will be quite helpful in assisting you with making a decision. On the other hand, you won't have to worry about what to serve if you are throwing the shower at a restaurant where the guests can decide what they want from a menu-- just don't forget to pick out a cake.
If the shower will be held at your home or another location, and you are not hiring a caterer- don't fret. Even if you are not used to entertaining more than five people at one time, your shower menu-- when planned out in advance-- should not be a problem. You don't have to flip through hundreds of pages in fancy cookbooks or watch cooking shows for weeks beforehand in order to host a wonderful meal. Whether you're a great cook, or an amateur in the kitchen, be sure to plan ahead and shop for your grocery items a couple of days before the shower. Get help from friends and family members with baking and cooking. Cook any foods from the menu that can be prepared in advance the day before the shower, so you won't have to worry about it on the actual shower day. You could also pick up trays of freshly prepared deli meats, cheeses, vegetables, fruits and a wide variety of other finger foods at your local grocery store deli. Fresh rolls and an array of interesting breads are also available in the store's bakery section. This may be your best option if you are really short on time. Chips, cut veggies, dips and pretzel mixes are great for setting around to snack on before the meal. For the main course, you can either serve the food buffet-style (everything is set out on tables or countertops while everyone self-serves) or have a sit-down meal. If you are short on table space, a buffet usually works out well. Be sure to supply your guests with sturdy plates and/or lap trays so they won't be awkwardly trying to balance their food and drink.
Don't forget about the most important menu item of any shower: the cake. If you've decided to eliminate serving any other kind of food, be sure to at least serve the ever-popular shower cake. Trek out to the bakery if you don't wish to venture into baking the cake on your own. Visit several bakeries, as well as the local grocery stores' bakeries, to find the best quality cake for the price that you are willing to pay. This is another area where you will find your choices practically limitless. Cake flavors and fillings are available in a long list of delectable options today. And, whenever possible, sample the cakes. Your guests will remarkably remember a good tasting cake-- or a terrible dry cake for that matter. Don't forget to choose a nice sentiment to have written on the cake.