02 Feb Trend Alert: 9 Bridal Shower Ideas

In the past, bridal showers have typically involved the bride getting together with her closest female friends and family and the guests “showering” her with gifts. Throw in some boring banquet-style food and a punch bowl and the bridal showers of the past were more of a stuffy soiree than a fun celebration. Thankfully, there are some great new ideas surfacing to turn a dull luncheon of making bouquets and hats out of bows into a fun, unique party that will leave your guests impressed.

Party Themes

Activity Showers

Themes add an element of fun to a bridal shower. If you want to stay traditional and keep it just the ladies, mix it up with an activity. Rather than sitting around at a table, get your guests involved. Bring in a wine expert to lead a tutored tasting of wine and cheese, schedule a paint party where each guest gets to create her own masterpiece or have your caterer step out of the kitchen and teach the guests to make an appetizer.

Couples Showers

Couples showers are also becoming more popular. With men taking a much more active role in wedding planning, why not include the special men in your lives, too? Keep it casual with a BBQ, or bring in a beer expert from a local brewery to lead a tasting. Other popular co-ed themes include a “Honey-Do” shower, where guests bring gifts to help the groom complete household projects (think power tools!), or a sports-themed tailgate with a broadcast of the big game on a large screen TV.

Vintage Showers

Another shower theme that is gaining in popularity is vintage showers—think rustic decor, lace tablecloths and napkins, mix-and-match vintage china and finger sandwiches and tea. Just because it’s vintage doesn’t mean it’s old-fashioned, however. Add your own touches by displaying photos of your ancestors or even your family tree!

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Food Themes

Food Bars

Food themes are also popular. Do you just have to have your morning cup of joe and a sweet before starting your day? How about having a coffeeshop theme with baristas making to-order coffee drinks for your guests? If you want to satisfy your sweet tooth, set up a doughnut station and let chefs prepare homemade glazes in front of your guests. Simply choose which glaze you want and the chef will dip it fresh for you— then add your own fun toppings!

Mini-Breakfast Bar

Rather than having traditional sit-down service for your shower, set up interesting food bars with wow factor! Everybody loves breakfast and it’s a fun, relatable meal for party-goers. And since many bridal showers are held during brunch hours, this menu is sure to please. One of the hottest trends for 2016 is miniaturizing dishes so that guests’ hands are free from large plates and extra cutlery while mingling. Set up a mini-breakfast station with delicious dishes like sausage, bacon and potato frittatas in mini mason jars; chocolate-covered bacon in mini shot glasses; mini pancakes with blueberry jam and maple syrup or French toast cubes with vanilla bourbon almond syrup with powdered sugar. Some sweet endings for your mini-breakfast bar include coffee crème brûlée, berry parfaits with homemade crunchy quinoa granola or white chocolate-dipped donut holes with raspberry crunch.

Vegetarian Bar

Is your crew a health-conscious bunch? You can set up a vegetarian bar just for them. Think beyond salads to elevated vegetarian fare like stuffed portobello mushrooms with chickpeas, spinach, roasted garlic, tomatoes and grilled squash; roasted eggplant and bell pepper stack topped with fresh mozzarella, basil and a creamy garlic sauce; and roasted vegetable and cheddar tartlets.

Taco Bar

Bring your party south of the border with a taco bar with housemade tortilla chips, hard taco shells, plantain chips, shredded chicken and ground beef. Take it up a notch with a variety of toppings like sour cream, spicy pepper jack cheddar, roasted tomato salsa, guacamole and cucumber-tomatillo salsa.

Dessert Bar

What’s a party without dessert? Have an ice cream bar and let the chef prepare several flavors of homemade ice cream before your guests’ eyes. The chefs can also prepare mini-waffles as a base for the dessert. Of course, your ice cream bar deserves all the fixins—from hot fudge and caramel to nuts, fruit, sprinkles, homemade whipped cream and more!

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Drink Bars and Specialty Drinks

We don’t want to forget the drinks, so set up a Bloody Mary bar and let your guests get creative with additions like lemons, limes, celery, pickle spears, olives, pickled vegetables, Worcheshire sauce, Tabasco, horseradish, salt and pepper. Let them go crazy with a punch of protein by including cocktail shrimp, bacon or even a hard-boiled egg as options. You can also set up a mimosa bar with different fruit juices to add to the Champagne like orange, pineapple and grapefruit juice. Have fresh fruit like strawberries as an option to add to the glass, too.

Since this is your special day, another great idea is to serve a specialty drink at your soiree. Perhaps your intended and you lingered over a certain cocktail on your very first date. Just let your caterer know and they can re-create it. Check out our recipes for some truly special drinks below:

Spiked Tea

  • 2 oz. chilled black tea
  • 1½ oz. organic vodka
  • 1 oz. mint simple syrup (recipe below)
  • Splash of chilled sparkling water
  • Sprig of spearmint, for garnish
  • Lemon wedges for garnish

Make simple syrup: Combine 1 cup sugar in 1 cup water and add several handfuls of mint leaves. Simmer until sugar has dissolved. Cool thoroughly. Refrigerate any leftovers. Combine the black tea, vodka and mint simple syrup in a shaker with ice and strain into glass. Add splash of chilled sparkling water and garnish with lemon wedges and spearmint.

Spiked Chocolate Milkshakes (Serves 6)

  • 8 oz. dark rum
  • 6 scoops of chocolate ice cream
  • 6 oz. Kahlua
  • 10 oz. club soda
  • Coffee beans and shaved bittersweet chocolate for garnish

Add first four ingredients into a blender and puree. Pour into 6 tall glasses. Top with a few coffee beans and shaved chocolate.

Raspberry Basil Limoncello

  • 2 lemon wedges
  • 4 basil leaves, roughly torn
  • 6 raspberries
  • ½ tsp. superfine sugar, optional
  • ½ oz. limoncello
  • 1 ounce lemon vodka
  • Splash of champagne

Muddle the raspberries, lemon and basil until raspberries are pureed. Add ice, limoncello, vodka and sugar. Stir and top with the splash of champagne. Serve over ice.

Lavender Lemon Drop

  • ½ oz. Torani Lavender Syrup
  • ¼ oz. Torani Cane Sugar Sweetener
  • 1½ oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 oz. citrus vodka

Rim a martini glass with sugar and set aside. Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice and strain into martini glass. Garnish with a lemon wheel.

Ready to start planning your party? Schedule a consultation with one of our event managers today!

Robert Ryan Catering and Design plans and executes over 400 events each year, boasts a five-star rating on WeddingWire and has received WeddingWire’s Couple’s Choice/Bride’s Choice Award seven years in a row. Learn more about Robert Ryan Catering & Design and tour our venuesSubscribe to our e-newsletter for exclusive offers, up-to-date news and recipes from our executive chef.

Ronna Dewey



From inception to execution, Robert Ryan Catering & Design works with you to realize your vision for your event, and translate it into a successful affair.