Food is often a conversation starter at gatherings and a bridal shower is no exception!

Everyone knows being a bride involves a ton of research, planning and completing administrative tasks but bridesmaids typically have their fair share of ish to do before the big day, too. Organizing and executing bridal showers, teas, hen parties, bachelorette parties, bachelorette trips, not to mention trying to ensure the bride-to-be has the best wedding day possible…It is time consuming and often pricey. I recently met a woman who was asked to be in a wedding where the bride had six, yes six, different wedding-related events in her honor before her actual nuptials! Anything to help ease the costs associated with all this seems like a great idea to me. Enter: The Potluck Bridal Shower.

I know some of you just rolled your eyes. But don’t stop reading. Potlucks have been given a bad wrap as low-budget or tacky to some folks but they certainly don’t have to be. Selecting a theme is key to transforming any event from boring to bangin’. Consider making your potluck a brunch. Why is it that brunch (versus lunch or dinner) always seems to give an event a little more panache? Is the bride to be having a destination wedding in Jamaica? Then have all the bridesmaids prepare dishes from that region like jerk chicken, meat patties, etc. Maybe the bride to be is a southern belle. Then consider the bridal party preparing dishes such as shrimp and grits or buttermilk fried chicken. Below are a few other ways to make a potluck bridal shower memorable:

  •  Have everyone who is preparing a dish bring the corresponding recipe. Compile all the recipes into one file for a unique cookbook to distribute to all guests later. (They can be sent to attendees with their thank cards.) The bride will also appreciate the cookbook as a memory of her special bridal shower.
  • Presentation is key! Lose the aluminum foil lasagna pans (y’all know the ones!) and place all the food in pans, bowls, platters, etc. in the same hues of the shower color scheme. Look for sales at retailers like Target or Michael’s to frugally pull this off.
  • Remember to get guests RSVPs so there is enough food for everyone. At most potluck affairs I’ve attended, there is either not enough food or way too much. Either can be frustrating. Remind guests that the point is to taste a little of everything — not take multiple helpings of each dish.
  • If you think your guests will be pining for a favor to physically take home with them after the shower, try to stay within the theme. A cute apron in the colors of your scheme is a nice idea and you can even have it embroidered with the bride’s name and shower date.
  • Stay organized and delegate accordingly. This is important to avoid ending up with seven bowls of potato salad but only one platter of fried chicken.
  • Don’t forget the cocktails! A signature drink is a surefire way to loosen up guests and ensure the shower is a hit. Choose something that works with your desired theme (and can also be served virgin for those non-drinking guests). For a Caribbean potluck shower, try a rum punch. For a Southern one, consider a mint julep or a fun moonshine concoction.

*BONUS* Another great idea would be to purchase a recipe box with cards. Send the blank recipe card in the bridal shower invitation and have guests bring that to the party so all you have to do is drop it in the box for the bride!

What are your thoughts on a potluck bridal shower? Would you consider planning one for the bride-to-be in your life?