Fresh Ideas for a Couples Shower aka Cocktail Party Needed Please!

I'm hosting a shower (really a cocktail party) at 7pm on a Saturday night for <65 people. I had planned to prepare the food myself, but unexpected business travel the week prior will significantly impact that plan. My favorite caterer is booked so I'll have to do everything (flowers, food, spot cleaning) the day of the party.

I'm looking for a fresh idea on how to handle the food. It must be gluten free or adaptable (I can get good baguettes, rolls, etc.). I want cohesive menu that will satisfy the men too. Although I don't want football food. The food must be easy to eat and not messy when standing.

Due to the time hors d'oeurves take, I'm happy to go with a light meal.

I'm very much looking forward to your inspired suggestions! Thanks!

Tracy C
  • Posted by: Tracy C
  • January 29, 2015


Pegeen January 30, 2015
Tracy, have a great party. Many hands make work light! :-)

Voted the Best Reply!

Molly F. January 30, 2015
Set up a buffet with grilled sliced beef tenderloin with several breads, a bowl of shrimp, smoked salmon platter and a cheese board.
Tracy C. January 30, 2015
Thanks everyone so much for your suggestions! I think I'm going to combine many of your suggestions. I'm going to call my caterer to see if she can prepare a few different items instead of the full service. Then I'm going to call on my mama and see can help. Then I'll come back and fill in the gaps with the menu. Your food ideas have inspired me. Thank you! Feel free to keep them coming!
ktr January 29, 2015
How about a taco bar . It's easy and quick to put together for a large number people. It's also pretty quick to put together burritos for 40. The issue there may be having enough oven space to cook them all. That may not be formal enough for your event - I never have formal events.
Is there another guest you can ask to either bring a dish or come over and help you cook?
Tracy C. January 30, 2015
We just did a similar concept Tostada Bar for another party that took place during the week. It was well received and made a for a really fun atmosphere. I was, however, shocked at how long it took me to get everything ready. lol There was a ton of last minute chopping/shredding that I hadn't considered! Everyone loved the food though and we would do it again....on a Saturday night!
Pegeen January 29, 2015
You might want to find another caterer. It’s not easy to provide food for 40 on a short schedule! For a more upscale event, you want to have a few hot things and unless you have two ovens or steam trays yourself, that’s not easy.

Anyway, here are a bunch of ideas – just ideas – not that you should serve all of them! Some require the oven.

Beef Filet Skewers

Anchovy Puffs

Pub Gougeres with Anchovy and Cayenne

Crispy Spice-Brined Pecans

Creamy Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms

Spinach, Feta and Artichoke Dip

Shrimp Spring Rolls with Hoisin Dipping Sauce

Have a great party!
Nancy January 30, 2015
Agree you m ight want to find another caterer. But what if you're afraid to serve guests from a chef you don't know or trust. Consider catering from a local restaurant, butcher or other food suppliers whose food you've enjoyed. Or maybe order one hot main dish from them and supplement with your cooking, to take some of the short-lead burden off your shoulders.
petitbleu January 29, 2015
I fall back on gougères a lot. They're delicious, beautiful, and somewhat fancy but are still finger foods (and they go well with sparkling wine).
Gravlax on very thinly sliced black bread or buckwheat blinis with a little crème fraîche, cucumber or minced pickled beet, and chopped dill.
Savory palmiers with store-bought puff pastry and a filling of blue cheese, toasted walnuts, and finely chopped dried figs.
Belgian endive leaves filled with good things like crab or lobster salad, a fruit-nut-cheese mixture; or you could make a dip of some kind and have the endive leaves for dipping.
A really nice crudité platter is always good. The sad thing about crudités is that people usually buy them in plastic containers from the supermarket and you get dried out carrots, stringy celery, and flavorless cherry tomatoes. If you get really awesome produce, you can make a gorgeous crudité platter. French breakfast radishes, romanesco florets, asparagus tips, fennel slivers, celery hearts with leaves, tiny carrots (if you can find them; and I'm not talking about "baby" carrots), blanched haricots verts, etc. Serve with aïoli.
Stuffed and baked mushrooms. I love the combination of leeks and mushrooms, and I've used creamed leeks in this application before. Top with a good melting cheese of your choice and bake or broil until browned.
bigpan January 29, 2015
The trick with canapés is to make them the size that is one bite! Then you guests don't spill any crumbs or food on their nice clothes.
Last week I made the following the night before:
Smoked salmon roll ups - take two packages of plain goat cheese, soften to room temp and mix in a tablespoon or two of liquid honey. Take a small amount (1/2 T) and shape into an oval about 1" long. Roll a piece of smoked salmon over it to cover the cheese (but not the edges).
With a mandolins make some long slices of English cucumber (toss the first slice that is all skin away). Slice thin enough to see through it. Wrap around the salmon cheese log and secure with a nice looking toothpick. If you make long slices of cucumber you can cut to a length of 4 or 5 inches. The trick is to slice only until you get to the seeds, then turn and use the other "meat" side ... You will find the cucumber slices nicely in thirds.
Wrap in plastic overnight in the fridge.
Bring out an hour before serving so the are cool, not cold.
ktr January 29, 2015
I have a couple questions that may make giving food suggestions a little easier:
What kinds of foods do the couple like? Also, how many people are going to be there? And is this a laid back or more formal affair?
Tracy C. January 29, 2015
I'm anticipating there will be approximately 40 people. As far as food, he's a meat and potatoes kind-of-guy while she's a healthy eater, loves vegetables and digs good cheese. As far as formality, I would say more formal than casual. Thanks!
Tracy C. January 29, 2015
Here's the rest of my message: Due to unexpected bus travel, I have limited time and my favorite caterer is booked. I'm looking for ideas for a cohesive menu that will satisfy the men too, but I do not want football food. Since hors d'oeurves are time consuming to make, a light meal may be better.

I can't seat everyone so food needs to be easy to eat and not messy when standing.
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