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Need menu planning help for Bridal Shower/Tea Party/Light Luncheon!

DanaB Apr 7, 2008 07:14 PM

Hi all,

I'm helping to throw a bridal shower later this month, and need help with the menu planning. There will be around 12 in attendance (or, maybe I should say, 10-15), and it will be held on a Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. One of the co-hosts wanted to do a formal tea, but given the hour of day, I think a combination tea/light luncheon is more appropriate. Here's what I'm planning (and where I need help):

Three varieties of tea sandwiches (2 dozen of each):

Sesame-crusted chicken salad tea sandwiches (from Martha Stewart's Hors D'Oeuvres Handbook)

Smoked salmon with lemon-caper cream on mini bagels

A vegetarian sandwich -- need help here! There's a recipe on Martha Stewart's website for a "yolk butter and asparagus" tea sandwich which sounds good (it's basically a modified egg salad with asparagus), or maybe something more basic, like radish/watercress/butter sandwiches? Or maybe a cheese/chutney or the like. Any ideas?
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Two quiches (each cut into 8 slices):

One quiche lorraine

One spinach quiche
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Scones with jam and clotted cream (I will have plain and ginger, about 2 dozen total)
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Fruit salad (something simple, like this recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
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Lemon bars and Cinnamon-nut bars
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A small chocolate mousse cake (the bride is a chocolate lover)
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For beverages:

Two types of tea (an english breakfast tea and an herb/fruit tea) with option to add cream, sugar, honey and lemon.

Mimosas or bellinis

Sparkling water
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First, does this seem like the right amount and combination of food? Do you think I should add a fourth tea sandwich? Do you think I should add a green salad? Are there enough sweet options? Any other ideas or things I am forgetting?

Thanks so much for any and all assistance! :-)

  1. DanaB Apr 8, 2008 10:04 AM

    Thanks, everyone, for the tips!

    I will definitely add a green salad.

    As for the preparation -- the lemon bars, cinnamon nut bars and chocolate cake have been delegated to the other hostess. I also got a friend who bakes excellent scones to do those (they are already prepared and in my freezer, so all I have to do is bake them the day of the party ;-) I was trying to figure out what else I could do in advance, and making the spreads for the sandwiches is a good idea. I think the rest I'm going to have to do the morning of (you really can't do quiche in advance, can you?), but I think I will have help in assembling the sandwiches, at least!

    For the person that suggested a cheddar and chutney sandwich, what kind of chutney? Otherwise, I think I'll probably go with an herbed cream cheese and cucumber.

    Thanks again!

    3 Replies
    1. re: DanaB
      MMRuth Apr 8, 2008 10:10 AM

      You can make the sandwiches early in the morning, as long as you put butter or mayonnaise on both sides of the bread - I then cover with wax paper and a damp kitchen towel.

      1. re: DanaB
        fayehess Apr 8, 2008 10:29 AM

        I wouldn't bother with the green salad. Especially if you have a vegetarian option with watercress in the sandwich. Not that you have to stick to the English, but they would never but never have a green salad. I have been fighting for years to get one for Christmas dinner with my English/Scottish family, and no go. How about asparagus braised with a little olive oil, leek and garlic, and then dressed with a beatiful olive oil or served with a homemade mayo as a little dip on the side? The other thing about green salad and a tea is, you want foods to hold up well on the table, and salad is not a holder. fayefood.com

        1. re: fayehess
          MMRuth Apr 8, 2008 10:30 AM

          I agree - and it's harder to eat gracefully than the finger foods or even the quiche.

      2. k
        kalidaemon Apr 8, 2008 09:52 AM

        I've done a lot of tea parties and have a few suggestions. I would make the spreads and bake pastries the day before. You might want to delegate something (ie bars or scones) to one of your co-hosts if possible. If not, you might want to substitute lemon pound cake for lemon bars, which are really time-consuming to make and eliminate the cinnamon nut bars. The sandwiches also depend on how much help you're going to have the day of. Make three sandwiches if it's just you and maybe add some cucumber or watercress sandwiches if you have a friend or two helping out. Herbed cream cheese or olive-sundried tomato spread are a couple options for veggie/vegan tea sandwiches. Other than that, your menu looks great! Good luck!

        1. e
          emilief Apr 8, 2008 09:24 AM

          Another vegetarian option is avocado and mozzarella with a little mayo and mustard.

          1. h
            humblegourmand Apr 8, 2008 09:12 AM

            Your menu sounds lovely. For a vegetarian tea sandwich option, there are some great Barefoot Contessa recipes that came to mind: cucumber with an herb cream cheese spread; cheddar and chutney on mini-brioche rolls; herb goat cheese and roasted peppers. Thumb through her books (Barefoot Contessa Parties!, etc., and see what you think...

            1. soypower Apr 7, 2008 10:21 PM

              it must be wedding season, because i'm helping with a bridal shower luncheon next month...since ours is a luncheon, it's going to be a bit heavier on the protein, but i think for a tea shower, your menu sounds great. i might just add a nice orzo or taboulleh salad...

              1. cardiovass Apr 7, 2008 10:10 PM

                I am also giving a bridal tea shower...it is at 11am. Have been deciding on what to have for the luncheon and your menu closed the deal. My was similar, but I like your fruit salad idea instead of fruit on a platter/bowls and also the greens salad idea from milklady. This is why we all put oursleves out there and bounce ideas off each other, so you can learn and people like me and can learn and benefit too. Thanks all!!!

                1. m
                  milklady Apr 7, 2008 07:18 PM

                  I have hosted showers with very similar menus that went over splendidly. I think that three sandwiches are enough, considering you will also have two quiches! I would add a green salad. I think that women often appreciate them at a lunch like this.

                  I think you have plenty of sweets. This menu is perfect.

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