Food Buffet Ideas | Shower Menus

by mandeesears

Food buffet ideas are plentiful for almost any event. Buffets are especially perfect fare for your baby or bridal shower menus.

Are you planning a bridal or baby shower for a close friend or relative? Then you will probably want to serve some food to the guests (or have them ticked off from the beginning!)

While "cake and punch" showers were the way to go in the past, hosts can plan a menu that will fill and delight your guests and still be easy on the pocketbook.

My Sister's Baby Shower Buffet Table

Baby Shower Buffet Table
Baby Shower Buffet Table
Mandee Sears
Baby shower Buffet
Baby shower Buffet
Mandee Sears

Shower Menus

Brunch or Afternoon

Over the years, I have catered more than my share of baby and bridal showers. Interestingly, I found that for showers taking place from 11 AM to about 4 PM -- hosts often gravitated toward lighter fair. Late morning, lunch time and before dinner showers can still give your guests an array of foods to choose from while keeping the costs within reason. 

A simple buffet menu for a shower during this time of day could include 5 types of food:

  • Light Main Dish
  • Starch/Carb
  • Salad
  • Fruits and Veggies
  • Dessert

With this type of menu you can please most all guests. Setting it up buffet style where they browse, mix and mingle and serve themselves makes it the best! 

What is your favorite time of day to attend a Shower?

Bridal or Baby?

My Favorite Showers Menu

Baby or Bridal

After a couple of decades in the catering/event business, I have settled on my favorite menu for showers - baby and bridal alike. You should try it! 

  • Chicken Salad
  • Tuna Salad
  • Bow Tie Pasta Salad
  • Fresh Fruits and Vegetable with dips
  • Assorted crackers, mini banana nut muffins, blueberry muffins, white, wheat and sourdough breads
  • Assorted Individual desserts along with a modest sized cake
  • Coffee, Tea and Lemonade

This simple menu can be made to look very elegant and even gorgeous for your guests! It is a light fare and works best for a shower taking place between 11 AM and 4 PM.

Setting it in a very attractive manner or creating a "buffetscape" that follows the colors and/or theme you have chosen for the shower is pretty simple with some pre-planning.  

Clinton Kelly Buffet Tips

Shower Buffet Set Up Tips

  • Place plates at the start of the buffet and the silver at the end. This allows guests the freedom to use one hand to serve themselves and one to hold the plate. Once through the line, they can use the other hand to grab their silverware. 
  • I have found setting your drink selection on a separate table (or "Drink Station") makes the flow much easier. You can have ice, glassware, sugars, creamers and spoons displayed nicely on its' own. This also helps when a guest only wants a drink refill. This way they won't have to wait in the main buffet line just to refresh their coffee.
  • Use silk greenery to spice up the buffet table decor. Place it at the base of tiered stands, around a bowl or platter or on top of ice that is keeping your perishable foods cold. 
  • Use different heights of dishes -- like tiered stand or use risers to achieve the same effect. This adds visual interest to your food table. 
  •  Make use of baskets for things like silverware, napkins or, in the case of this sample buffet, have some of your assorted breads spilling out of the baskets. 
  • Use vintage items or borrow from mom and grandma. This is eco-friendly and allows a nice, family dish collection a moment to shine! Jewel Tea, Fostoria, Depression Glass, silver collection... anything you can find in the hutch.
  • Buffet centerpieces can be flowers but don't limit yourself to that. Use anything that will add to the theme of the event. In the intro photo, I used a diaper cake decorated in the theme colors for a buffet centerpiece. Cool! 

Use Serving Dishes with Height to Create Visual Interest

Rosanna Decor Bon Bon Footed Round Bowl White
Only $50.00
Rosanna La Pâtisserie Large Footed Bowl
Rosanna Imports, Inc
Only $78.00
Tag Whiteware Porcelain Ceramic Square Pedestal Cake Plat...

My Favorite Chicken Salad Recipe

Simple but Yummy!
  • 2 1/2 cups diced cooked chicken
  • 4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 cup halved green grapes
  • drained1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 dash Worcestershire sauce

Combine the chicken, bacon, celery and grapes in a bowl and set aside. 

Stir together remaining ingredients until well mixed. (I then like to salt and pepper to taste.) Pour mixture over chicken mixture. Stir until well coated. Chill until ready to serve. 

Beautiful Buffet Stands -- Single and Tiered

Antique Silver Beaded Small Cake Stand
Universal Lighting and Decor
Only $299.0
White and Pink Beaded Multi Cake Stand
Universal Lighting and Decor
Only $49.95
Midwest CBK White Twelve Arm Cupcake ...
Godinger Dublin 3-Tier Server
Godinger Silver Art Company
Only $44.99
Studio Silversmiths
CreativeWare 5 Station Unbreakable Po...

Desserts are the Best!

Individual and Dish Desserts

The fun part about a dessert buffet, is being able to sample some of most of the desserts offered. I bite here, a tidbit there makes for a party in your mouth! Some of my favorite desserts to include :

  • Mini Cheesecakes
  • Cake Pops
  • Brownie Bites
  • Cookies
  • Banana Pudding (bowl)
  • Robert Redford (bowl)
  • Mini Tarts - Lemon, Raspberry, Chocolate, etc...
  • Chiffons (layered gelatin, whipped cream desserts)

Almost any dessert you like can be sliced into small, bite sized pieces or served from a bowl by the spoon full. I always giggle at the guests as they walk the perimeter of the dessert table ewwwing and ahhhhing at the display of goodies. 

If you really want a cake, get a small one and elevate it on a cake stand -- use it as a centerpiece on the buffet table. 

Help for Planning Baby & Bridal Shower Menus

Creative Wedding Showers: Homemade Invitations, Decorations, Games, Planning Tips, Menu Ideas ...

It's so easy to throw a stylish wedding shower with the wealth of ideas and crafts found in this book. Covering everything a hostess needs to give the bride-to-be a memorable ...

North Light Books  / $10.62  $2.38

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Simple Stunning Wedding Showers

Of the many celebrations surrounding a contemporary wedding, the wedding shower is especially personal—and especially meaningful. As its name implies, it’s the occasion when ...

Stewart, Tabori and Chang  / $9.77  $3.24

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How To Prepare a Baby Shower Menu

When you are planning a baby shower, the menu is an important part of the party. Make sure you give the menu planning the thought and attention that this critical part of ...

Quick Easy Guides  / Only $4.95

View on Amazon

Showers: The Complete Guide to Hosting a Perfect Bridal or Baby Shower

Beverly Clark details all aspects of organizing a bridal or baby shower, from making invitations through selecting a location and theme to decorating and arranging the ...

Wilshire Pubns  / $10.05  $12.88

View on Amazon

More Ideas for Buffets

Ideas, suggestions and the tools you need to create an elegant sweets table or candy buffet at a wedding.
Beautiful buffet tables are something guests remember. Designing a buffetscape is not as hard as you might think. These suggestions and ideas will inspire your ideas for buffets.
Cake Pops are a perfect addition to a sweets table at a wedding. They can be made to match the colors or theme of your special day.

Showers and Food Menus

Remember, the food at your shower should fit the time of day and the formality of the event. Lighter fare for between meals and earlier in the day and heavy appetizers or even a meal if later in the day or during a traditional meal time. 

Have fun! 

Updated: 04/28/2012, mandeesears
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jewel on 04/08/2014

Great suggestions. Light, elegant and filling. Nice touches. Thanks

cmoneyspinner on 08/27/2013

Chicken salad, mini cheesecakes and brownie bites?

Pinkchic18 on 03/25/2013

Gorgeous article, lots of wonderful ideas. Those tiered platters are lovely!

WordCustard on 08/03/2011

I've never organised a shower and wouldn't know where to start, well at least not before I stopped by here. Your helpful advice would certainly help things run smoothly and the menu suggestions are perfect. Although I didn't know Robert Redford was also available in dessert form... LOL someone will need to explain that one to me!

happynutritionist on 08/03/2011

I like the simplicity of the foods you suggest for a shower. Great suggestions and the recipe sounds good for any occasion:-)

pkmcr on 08/02/2011

Gosh you really do know how to organise these things :-) Nicely put together as always

mandeesears on 08/02/2011

Thanks ladies!

dustytoes on 08/02/2011

You are the buffet queen Mandee! I used to do many parties, but not so much now. That chicken salad recipe is a keeper...!

bev-owens on 08/01/2011

Oh Mandee these are lovely ideas for a shower.

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