Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Bridal Shower Brunch Ideas

This year is the year for weddings.  If you have ever been apart of a wedding, you know that means it is also the season for bridal showers, bachelorette festivities, bridal luncheons, etc.  The list could go on forever.  It was two years ago next month that one of my best friends from childhood, Courtney, along with her mother, threw me a beautiful bridal shower!  When Courtney got engaged, it was a "no brainer" that my mom and I would return the favor.  The bridal shower took place in my mom's Alexandria home, where both Courtney and I grew up, along with the other core members of our group of friends, who were also in attendance.  Growing up in the "mixing bowl" of the Washington DC area, it is not a surprise that my little group of friends is also a mixing bowl.  We all have very different personalities, but not so different that we are like oil and water.  We all seem to blend, like water and sugar, despite our differences.  Courtney is one friend who has always been very "classic."  She is straight-forward, elegant, and practical.  When planning her shower, my mom and I knew that we would have to incorporate all of her into it.  We decided to go with a formal brunch theme, which turned out to be amazing.

~THE DRINKS~
The star of the brunch, besides Courtney, was the mimosa bar.  I bought glass milk containers, like the ones you see at the left.  They add a nice touch and can be found at Ikea or online for relatively cheap ($3.99/bottle).  I filled them with four different juices: Strawberry Guava nectar (Giant), Cranberry Pomegranate juice (Giant), Orange Juice (Trader Joe's), and Orange Peach Mango juice (Trader Joe's).  The Orange Peach Mango and Strawberry Guava were the biggest hits.

We also got the champagne and prosecco from Trader Joe's, which was very tasty and not super expensive, since we needed a lot of bottles!! :)  You can see the prosecco we used (The picture was taken from a different website.  I do not own rights to the picture).  We used various types of champagne, just to test them out.  I know one of them was "Bubbles."  I am not sure what the others were.

For the non-drinkers, we also provided cucumber diffused water, unsweetened iced tea, and a carafe of lemonade.  After gifts were opened and games were played, we had a coffee and tea spread for everyone.


~THE FOOD~

My mom and I went back and forth on the menu so many times...it was ridiculous.  Brunch is difficult because you don't want to make it completely breakfast or completely lunch, so here was what we did:
Spinach Quiche and Quiche Lorraine, which we figured would be our "breakfast" item.  To conserve time, we decided not to make them (though they don't take a super long time to make).  We went to the prepared foods/deli section of the local Giant and got the quiches from there.  I have had some pretty well made quiches in my day, and I have to say that these were fabulous.  It was surprisingly difficult to find whole quiches, not just the appetizer-sized ones, so I was nervous to purchase prior to researching ratings and reviews.  Thank goodness the were amazing and the guests raved about them!

We also had chicken salad sandwiches on croissants, which kind of crossed between lunch and breakfast.  THIS recipe for chicken salad is one of the best ones I have ever had.  It is extremely easy and should be prepared ahead of time, which makes the day-of event much less stressful.  If you want to make it even easier, you can used canned chicken, which I often do when I am making it for myself at home.






Courtney and I used to have basketball practice every week in middle school.  Our moms would take turns bringing us to and from practice.  Before each practice, we would be treated to dinner at La Madeleine French restaurant in Old Town Alexandria.  One of our favorite dishes to get was Strawberries Romanoff, which is basically strawberries with a delicious creamy sauce with bourbon in it (very little).  We decided we had to have a fruit and since it is both classy and sentimental, Strawberries Romanoff was the best choice.  Here is the copycat recipe.

We decided we should also have a light salad.  At a girls getaway weekend my mom had with her friends at the beach, she tried a Caribbean shrimp salad.  She thought this would be a perfect addition to our bridal brunch menu.  A wonderful blend of lime, mango, jicama, and pineapple juice, this cold served, which should be served over a piece of lettuce, was a wonderful piece of our menu.  Not only was it delicious, it was refreshing and colorful.  The recipe can be found HERE.

Some other items on our menu included a bread tray, which contained an assortment of breads and scones from Trader Joe's, and cupcakes made one of my best friends Amanda.  The best things on the bread tray was the orange cranberry scones from Trader Joe's.  The rest of the bread, while good, were not touched due to the fact that people were so full from the rest of the food.  Amanda made an assortment of cupcakes, as well.  She tied in our brunch theme with mimosa cupcakes and "24 CARROT" cupcakes.  They were both delicious!!

~THE GAMES and PRIZES~

My job for the shower was mainly to get the games and prizes together.  The key to a good bridal shower is to make sure that you have enough games, without having too many.  I decided that three games would be just enough for this event.  The first game, which can be found in many bridal shower books, was what I called Celebrity Spouses.  Most of the books tell you to place the names on people's backs and have the couples "find each other" at the shower.  I, personally, don't like games like that.  My husband says it is because I hate people, but it is really just because I am a little more reserved than some.  I decided to simply make a printable for the game, requiring guest to match the famous women with their male counterparts.  Please feel free to use the printable.  I did a mix, since we had a mix if ages and interests at the party.  It was HILARIOUS seeing the guests try to figure it out.

The second game came to me in a dream...not really.  My husband and I watch Chopped all the time and I randomly thought one day- how could I make this into a game for my students?  Well...it didn't quite work out as a game for my students, but it did work out as a game for the bridal shower.  So, for those of you who don't know about the show Chopped, basically, four different chefs are given baskets that contain four random ingredients.  The challenge is for the chefs to make something with ALL of the items in the basket, transforming them into a delicious dish.  For the bridal shower, we changed the show concept slightly so that it fit into the whole "wedding" theme.  Everyone worked in pairs, giving us 6 teams.  I didn't want to store baskets anywhere after the shower, so I decided to use recycle shopping bags from Harris Teeter, in which I put the ingredients.  Rather than have the teams work to make a delicious meal, their objective was to make a signature drink for the bride and groom with the ingredients in the bag.  The only had 10 minutes to make the drink and give it a name.  In the show, the contestants are also able to use the "pantry" of items in the studio.  The guests for the game used the mimosa bar as their pantry if they needed any additional ingredients.  Once I explained all of this to the teams, I announced, "Open your baskets/bags," signaling them to begin.  They began pulling out the mystery ingredients, which included mini bottles of Burnett's Strawberry Banana vodka, pixie sticks, Pineapple Coconut sparkling water, and tropical fruit cocktail cups.  The teams were able to mix their drinks in a large cup and test their products using straws.  Once they achieved their final product, they poured it into three shot glasses, to be tested by the three judges- the bride (Courtney), mother of the bride, and the grandmother of the bride.  To say it was hilarious would be understatement.  Teams worked rigorously to create their products.

The last game, The Price is Right, we played was during the gift opening.  I was inspired by playing a similar game at a baby shower.  To prepare, I purchased some things for the bride, some of which were on her registry and some that were not.  They all HAVE to be from the same store, or else it might be problematic.  I created a printable that had the list of the items I purchased.  The goal in the game was for people to guess how much each item cost. The person with the total closest to the actual total wins the game.  It was a fun game.  People were really surprised at how much things cost!  Please feel free to use the printable.


For prizes, I did giveaway bags.  For the celebrity game, I did a "movie" bag, stuffed with popcorn, mini cans of Sprite, and a gift card for Redbox, which has to be purchased online.  For the Chopped game, I gave a bag to each member of the team.  Each bag contained orange juice, champagne, and a stemless wine glass.  Lastly, for the Price is Right, we did a relaxation bag, complete with Lollia fragrances and lotions, cupcake bath beads, and a candle.

This shower was so much fun!  I could not have been more pleased.  I can't wait until my other friends get married and I will get to plan a shower for them!! Stay tuned...next month we will be hosting a "boardwalk-themed" bridal shower.  Should be fabulous!!


2 comments:

  1. WOW! This is amazing! :) Looks like so much fun!

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  2. I am really happy to know these ideas about Bridal shower brunch in one of event venue Chicago. Last year, arranged a bridal shower brunch for my friend which I managed with great difficulty as was lacking ideas but now I will keep your ideas in mind for future.

    ReplyDelete