Like any good party, half the fun of a bridal shower is the menu. When you’re gathered with close friends and family, it’s only natural you’ll want to celebrate with something sweet. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of creative options when it comes to bridal shower desserts. Read on for our favorite ideas, as well as expert answers to some of the most common questions surrounding these sweets.
Meet the Expert
How many desserts should I plan for per guest?
One of the most popular ways to serve sweets at a bridal shower is the dessert bar, which includes a variety of small bites done in a common color palette or theme. (Macarons, mini cupcakes, frosted sugar cookies, mini cheesecakes, and Oreo gems are common options.) For a group of 20 to 30, Auble recommends three bites per guest and four different dessert types. For larger groups, she’ll often up the number of dessert types to 5 or 6. To increase variety while keeping cost in mind, Robinson suggests limiting the number of dessert types but increasing the number of flavors offered of each type.
At the end of the shower, set out to-go boxes next to the dessert bar. That way, you can cut down on waste and send guests home with a party favor.
Where can I find inspiration for a theme?
“The fun thing about the shower is that it’s specifically about the bride,” says Auble. “And it’s typically on the smaller side, so you can be more creative.” To that end, she’ll brainstorm with clients about their favorite flavors (one salted caramel devotee did an entire display in the flavor), as well as favorite bakeries, local treats, or restaurants that could be a jumping-off point. Looking to bring your love story into the day? Robinson recently incorporated the lyrics of a song written for the bride by the groom onto a cake, and also suggests highlighting desserts from countries or states where the couple met or has traveled together. Another option: highlighting cultural desserts that represent the bride’s family traditions.
Is it okay to serve dessert only at a bridal shower?
“A bridal shower is often held in-between breakfast and lunch, and it doesn’t necessarily have to provide a full meal,” says Robinson. “However, whenever alcohol is involved, it’s important to provide some type of savory option, even if it’s just a small charcuterie platter or a selection of fruits and nuts.” This will help curb cravings, counter the sweetness of desserts, and keep guests alert on their way home. (Sugar crash is real, y'all!)
Does a single large cake work for a bridal shower?
“It’s pretty, but it doesn’t necessarily make sense,” says Auble. “There’s a specific way to cut those, and there’s not always trained catering staff on-site for these events, so it ends up being more trouble than it’s worth.” Her compromise? A dummy display cake, which is decorated to look real and anchor the dessert bar, but can’t actually be cut. Added bonus: the bride can hold onto it afterward as a keepsake.
What’s trending in bridal shower desserts?
There are so many fun ideas in this realm, it’s impossible to go wrong! Here are a few current favorites from Robinson and Auble:
- Individually packaged items. In these pandemic times, an extra layer of protection around desserts while they’re on display is never a bad idea.
- Hand-piped and hand-painted text. This is a fun way to personalize cookies, macarons, and other small treats.
- Plant-focused themes. Dried or candied botanicals as dessert toppings are especially cool right now.
- Mini cakes. This compromise between a large cake and cupcakes works well for a more extravagant affair.
- Dessert grazing tables. While dessert tables more commonly group sweets on trays, plates, and pedestals, this more organic, free-form method of display is a fresh option for more casual affairs.
In need of more inspiration? Here are 18 dessert ideas to serve at a shower.
Mini Ice Cream Sandwiches
Perfect for a warm-weather shower—or just a bride that really, really likes ice cream. For extra design oomph, pick sprinkle garnishes that match the color palette of your soiree.
For a chic brunch affair, serve in a variety of sizes and sprinkled with powdered sugar. The display will go beautifully with a Southern-inspired or ivory-paletted party.
Mini Apple Pies
There’s something supremely warm and cozy about this quintessentially American treat.
A classic indulgence, done in a size that doesn’t feel gluttonous.
Serve laced with liqueur for a more, ahem, grown-up twist.
Red Velvet Cupcakes
Conveniently already colored the shade of love, red velvet cupcakes are the perfect addition to any celebration of marriage.
Filled with your cake batter flavor of choice and then dipped and decorated in chocolate, these portable desserts also make a great to-go treat to give out at the end of the shower.
Think of these treats as a sorbet popsicle with a satisfyingly smooth texture. What's also fun? You can add pretty much any logo or branding you want to the container.
These sugar-coated fried dough pastries are also delicious dipped in caramel and whipped cream, but can be served (as shown here) with a coated chocolate end for easier cocktail-style service.
Available in almost any flavor and color you can imagine and by nature gluten-free, these French delicacies are one of the most popular bridal shower desserts for a reason.
This classic New England dessert hits all the right nostalgic notes. Set out in flavors such as gingerbread or pumpkin (shown here) at a shower for a bride who adores the fall season.
Oui, oui! These dainty cream-filled delights are perfect for a Parisian-inspired soiree.
Mojito Lime Tarts
This playful riff on the part-sweet-part-sour key lime pie is a fun addition to any tropical-weather celebration.
These French confections are a classic bridal shower dessert because of their dainty size and endless decorating possibilities. For a spring soiree, try an unexpected combo of matcha and pistachio (shown here).
Stamping a couples initials into icing is a no-brainer for a bridal shower. A no-brainer for a mid-morning shower? Adding that icing on top of shortbread slivers and serving with coffee and tea.
Mini Ice Cream Cones
Does it get any cuter than bite-sized waffle cones? To avoid a melty mess, just be sure to serve these passed instead of on an unattended stationary display.
Consider this thick Italian cream pudding a blank canvas for whatever fruity topping your heart desires. Violet and currant (shown here) is a bold choice for a bridal shower with a more glam aesthetic.
Dessert Grazing Table
This free-form display of assorted desserts is perfect for a more low-key affair. What feels especially fresh: how the options are grouped together at random, rather than siloed by type on a tray.