Shower Menu Planning 101

Menu Planning – take it one step at a time.

Menu planning can often be very daunting, leaving hosts and hostesses to rely on the grocery store cheese trays and the, often forlorn and sad veggie tray to feed their hungry guests.  I don’t know about you, but if I attend an event for someone special to me, I want special food and I want to share in the food they love — that is exactly what we focused on in our recent bridal shower.

So here are few steps you can take to make menu planning for your next event less difficult and, possibly, enjoyable.

Your Menu Must Match the Time of Day

  • Seems simple, but this step is often overlooked.  If your party is at 11 am, serve lunch; at 2 pm, serve afternoon tea or appetizers; at 5 pm or later, dinner or tapas is important.
  • A range of drinks is mandatory – water, juice, soda, coffee and/or tea. But alcohol is always optional – except in the evening.  If anyone you are inviting for an event after 5 pm, or an evening Bridal Shower, enjoys a glass of wine or cocktail, make sure you have something to  serve them (unless, of course, you do not serve alcohol in your home at any time).

Serve what the Guest of Honor likes, but keep your other guests in mind to.

  • When outlining the menu, first serve items that your guest of honor, in this case the Bride, likes.  Our beautiful Bride, for example, loves a shrimp recipe that we prepare in our house.  So that was the first thing on the menu.  From there, we chose a menu of finger food that would accommodate both those looking for something light and those looking for something more heavy (the shower was at 2 pm).
  • Make sure to also keep the guests in mind.  If your bride, for example, only loves pasta and wants tons of pasta, keep in mind that you may have some guest watching their weight who would be looking for a salad or something lighter (I realize the situation may be totally reversed for most brides, but go with me here).  In general, make sure to have a balanced menu – fresh food like fresh fruits and veggies or salads, combined with heavier items like cheeses, dips, meats and sandwiches.

Write Your Menu Down 2 Weeks in Advance

  • Yep, another simple tip, but if you write down what you are thinking of serving and have some time to look it over before you hit the store, you may find that you have a hole.  For example, you may find you have a menu heavy in sweets and sugar, but nothing else.  Or you may be missing some fresh elements.
  • Once your menu is final, write our your grocery list in detail … make sure you write every single ingredient down, then cross-off those you have in your kitchen.  This way you will avoid those last-minute store runs and panic moments.

Plan Your Table

  • This is one of the best things that I have learned over the years.  What you simply do is write each menu item on a sticky note and lay out the platters you expect to use for the party.  Then, simply place the sticky note on each platter and move them around the table until you have a layout of food that makes sense and fits on the table.
  • This will also help you prune your menu, no space for it, take it off the menu.

In the end, menu planning is fairly easy if you approach it step-by-step and plan.

Julia Montgomery Stewart

Nicknamed “Julia Child” at a young age, our own Julia is most at home in the kitchen. Lately, she has combined her culinary talents with a new hobby—fitness and healthy living. As a result, her recipes reflect an intriguing balance between eating well without sacrificing flavor. Outside the home, Julia is a consummate event planner, and spent the first ten years of her career as a publicist before expanding her portfolio of talents with the launch of Live Pretty in 2010. Balancing the busy demands of career and family, Julia lives with her husband and daughter in Orlando, Florida. In addition to her work in marketing, she serves a number of community organizations and initiatives in Central Florida.

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One Response to “Shower Menu Planning 101”

  1. Laura Davis Ferris — June 24, 2011 @ 6:21 am (#

    Thank you! These are great tips for planning the menu for any party or family gathering. I chuckled when I saw that you use the sticky note technique to organize your serving dishes — I do that too, and I find that doing that a day or two before an event really helps me feel like I’m ready.


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