Type the words "rustic bridal shower" into Pinterest and the results are, well, overwhelming. How on earth do people manage to pull these things off? All that Kraft paper, twine, and wood! Turns out, though, a rustic bridal shower (or any other type of rustic-looking party) is actually pretty simple to throw.
To prove it to you, we planned a cute bridal shower luncheon with tons of accessible ideas. This buffet party was budget-friendly and also totally low-stress, thanks to easy decorations and a menu of mostly make-ahead snacks.
Here's how it all came together.
Before the Party
We did as much as possible ahead of time, so that the actual day of the party would be as relaxed as possible.
Our super-talented freelance graphic designer, Susanna Hopler, created this invitation for the big day. We love it because it's beautiful and it didn't cost any money! Don't know your way around Photoshop (or whatever program she used)? Don't worry, because she created a PDF, which you can download and edit with your party's info and print. All for free! Thank you, Susanna!
When we sent the invitations, we also included two other key pieces: a request to have people send their RSVP along with some names of songs that remind the guests of the bride-to-be, and a blank recipe card, which we asked people to fill out and bring with them to the shower (more on that later). The songs all went on to build the ultimate bridal shower playlist — and a fun game for the bride.
See how it works: The Easiest Way to Build a Playlist for a Guest of Honor
Stocking Up on Supplies
The best thing about a party that's supposed to feel rustic is that things don't have to be all matchy-matchy. In fact, it's better if they're not. To gather enough stuff for the table, we literally just went around the house picking out things we could use. Wooden crates from a makeshift bookshelf? Don't mind if we do! Fake plants from the dining room? Yup! That stool from the mudroom? Already took it!
We also saved up various brown beer bottles (the labels peel right off with a little soap and warm water), Mason jars, and aluminum cans (which we spray painted and tied twine around for extra rustic-ness) leading up to the event. All three of those things make for great bud vases, and the last two double as utensil holders. Those random slices of wood were leftover from a recent wedding and they were literally just cut on a bandsaw in a garage — although you can buy some online if you don't have a garage full of power tools.
The few party supplies we did buy came from two main places: Shop Sweet Lulu (our favorite party supply store ever) and WebstaurantStore (technically a restaurant supply site that's a total life hack for non-chefs too!) Keep reading to see our shopping list.
Planning the Menu
We decided to keep the menu light and simple. Dishes needed to look rustic (it's a rustic bridal shower, after all!) but couldn't be anything that was too hard for us to make or for guests to eat while standing up. (We decided a buffet was more suitable for the space because we didn't have room for a sit-down meal.) Here's where we landed.
A Rustic Bridal Shower Menu
For 25 people
- Bridal Shower Sangria
- Ice Water
Built Your Own Biscuit Bar
Get the whole menu: A Make-Ahead Menu For a Rustic Bridal Shower Lunch
Doing as Much as Possible Ahead of Time
With our menu planned out, we could really wrap our heads around what we could do in advance. The answer? A lot! And that was done on purpose.
About a week before the party, we hard-boiled a few dozen eggs and put them back in the fridge (still in their shells). Then, two days before the party, we peeled them, cut them in half, and made the yolk mixture, stashing it in a plastic bag in the fridge. (The egg whites also went in a container and into the fridge.) Then, the morning of the party, we just had to snip the corner of the bag and pipe the topping into the eggs.
The Hummus Cups
We also picked up a crudité platter from the supermarket and stuck it in the fridge. This way, we could use the precut stuff when it came time to assembling the hummus cups. We also bought hummus and a fruit platter (with the same plans to use the pre-cut stuff for the fruit kabobs). Yes, there's usually a markup for platters like these (versus doing the prep and chopping yourself), but we were looking to save time and it was worth the extra money.
We made several batches of biscuits a few days before the party and stashed them in an airtight container on the counter. We'd be lying if we said we didn't sneak any here and there. Note: You might want to make extra biscuits.
The Pimento Cheese
This is a job for the night before, as the more time the ingredients have to sit together, the better the dish tastes. We made it on the eve of the party, and here's a pretty shot of it once it finally hit the table the next day.
Earlier in the week we baked the two cake layers, wrapped them up in plastic wrap, and put them in the freezer until the night before. The morning of the party, we made the frosting and put it all together.
The Day of the Party
It was party time! (Although you couldn't tell by our outfits.) Big tip here, people: Don't change into your party clothes until the very last detail has been done. You never know if you're going to accidentally get your butt in some frosting. (Speaking from experience.)
Setting Up the Table
This was mostly a process of trial and error. We had a general idea of what would go where (biscuit bar stuff together, dessert at the end) and what went in each vessel (we always label the bowls with tape or slips of paper before we start plating food to make sure everything has a home). But there's really only so much planning you can do ahead of time.
We pushed the dining room table against the wall (some hosts like people to be able to make their way around both sides of a buffet, but we thought this looked prettier) and set the stage by rolling out a length of Kraft paper (sold at your local craft store) to cover the length of the table. The taller items — the wooden crates in particular — had to go in the back for obvious reasons, and the rest came together like a puzzle.
The plates, napkins, and cutlery all went on an upside-down wooden crate in the back so that people would have easy access to them. Note: None of these dishes really called for knives or spoons, but it's always nice to have them on hand just in case.
We had way too much dessert (whoops!), so we decided to keep the cake and fruit on the main table (for more dramatic effect and color, respectively) and we put the drinks and the rest of the sweets elsewhere throughout the party. This kept the main table from feeling too crowded, and it was a guaranteed way to make sure people moved around and mingled.
Flowers can be expensive! Mention that they're for a wedding (or anything wedding-related) and they can double in price before your very eyes. Our trick? Get them at Trader Joe's! The grocery store chain has tons of options, all available at a reasonable price. We got a few bouquets of Ranunculus (for $6 each, although pricing does vary by location) and made them work extra hard by pulling out the individual stems and placing them in bud vases, which we scattered all around the table.
Buy: Ranunculus at Trader Joe's, from $5
We also got some greenery from TJ's while we were there and used it to fill in some blank spaces and spruce up the drinks station.
We decided to give out potted succulents as party favors — and to make them do double duty as decorations. (Did you know that Amazon sells succulents?) We ripped off pieces of washi tape and wrote a guest's name on each one, then we added the tape to the pot. At random, we placed the succulents all around the buffet table (and throughout the rest of the room) as decorations. They really helped to add color to the tables and they got people moving around the room to find their plants.
A Special Gift for the Bride
Remember those blank recipe cards that we sent out with every invitation? We asked each guest to fill out the card in advance with a special recipe. Perhaps one the bride loves? Perhaps something they make for their family? Upon arrival, all the guests were instructed to drop off their recipe by the recipe box and the bride got to keep the box — and all the cards — as a special little bonus gift.
Buy: Citrus Floral Recipe Box, $34 for tin and 24 cards at Rifle Paper Co.
Another idea: 6 Tips for Creating a Group Recipe Book
Featured Party Resources
From Shop Sweet Lulu
- Rose Gold Grid Party Cups, $5.50 for 8
- Liberty Betsy Plates, $5.50 for 12
- Kraft and Gold Small Scalloped Plates, $5 for 8
- Fresh Mint Cake Plates, $4 for 24
- Hip Hip Hooray Napkins, $9 for 25
- Wooden Cutlery Set, $12 for 24
- 3-Ounce Plastic Shooters, $21 for 24
- 3-Hour Tea Lights, $3 for 50
- Clear Plastic Stemless Wine Glasses, $14 for 16
- 6-Inch Bamboo Skewers, $1 for 100
Yes, we realize this was a lot of words on something we said was easy. It is easy — promise! — we just wanted you to have every detail!