Think light and easy to eat when it comes to party foods for an afternoon bridal shower. The afternoon timing typically means that many guests have already eaten lunch and are not yet ready for a heavy evening meal. A light lunch menu, filled with everything from mini munchies to snacks with substance, gives guests the freedom to nibble as they please. The easy-to-eat part is important because it allows guests to stand up and mingle as they snack, which helps keep your party atmosphere social and friendly.
Appetizers aren’t a necessity when you’re serving other finger foods, but they’re a nice addition for guests who like to nibble. In fact, appetizers work as more of a mini side dish than they do a starter. Stuff celery sticks with green onions and cream cheese for a creamy and crunchy appetizer. Top baguette slices with garlic-butter, tomato slices and shredded mozzarella for an Italian-style snack. Wrap cantaloupe balls with prosciutto, which is a salt-cured cured ham, to create a sweet and salty nibble.
Flavorful Main Dishes
Sophisticated sandwiches are a classic choice when it comes to easy-to-eat main dishes for an afternoon party. Smear cream cheese onto French bread and top with cucumber slices for a light main dish with a sweet flavor. Stuff sliced croissants with a mixture of diced celery, green onions, mayonnaise and shredded crab for a flavorful sandwich with a delicate texture. Shish kabobs are another smart choice for a light party food. Not only are they visually appealing, they use bite-size pieces so that there’s no need for a knife. Sprinkle grilled shrimp kabobs with lime salsa to create a light dish with a spicy kick. Grill teriyaki chicken and pineapple kabobs for a main dish with a rich flavor.
Tantalizing Side Dishes
Salads may be simple to create, but they’re capable of complex flavors that can rival any easy-to-eat gourmet dish. Toss baby spinach, red onions, strawberries, celery and raspberry vinaigrette together for a sophisticated spring salad. Sprinkle lime juice over a pineapple, mango and cherry mixture to make a sweet salad with a tangy twist. Baked vegetables are not only easy to eat, they provide a relatively healthy dish for those watching their waistlines. Bake baby carrots with a light honey mustard coating for a side dish with a refined taste. Bake asparagus with lemon and dill for a light dish with a hint of zip.
Cake may be the typical dessert for a bridal shower, but it’s far from the only easy-to-eat dessert option. Cover chocolate-cherry cupcakes with chocolate frosting and top with a chocolate-covered cherry for an indulgent treat. Garnish mini key lime pies with whipped cream and lime zest for a lightly flavored dessert with a tropical twist. Serve an assortment of gourmet cookies, such as lemon lavender drops and macadamia cranberry cookies, for a classic sweet selection with an upscale touch.
A writer since 2000, Aya Pauli has covered a variety of topics including food, fashion, beauty, health, parenting, education, decor and crafts. Her award-winning recipes have been published in food magazines such as "Taste of Home," and she is also the author of a salad cookbook. Pauli's craft projects appear in major manufacturer websites, including Dow Styrofoam. She also holds a CDA in early childhood education and works as a preschool teacher in Wyoming.