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Brunch & Lunch Party Menu Ideas

Whether it’s for a baby shower, wedding shower, birthday, girls brunch, or whatever kind of get together – I’ve rounded up some of my favorite crowd pleaser recipes for such an occasion along with some tips on how to pull it all together and make sure you haven’t missed a thing in planning the perfect party! 

Party Planning Checklist

The key components to hosting a party:

1. Invitations
I used this cute Etsy template for my Mother’s Day Brunch. It was SO easy to edit and we were able to easily adapt it to create the print out for our menu and a party favor. I’ve also found cute templates off of Canva, which is where I found the one I used for our daughter’s 1st birthday. 

2. Decorations
Less is more sometimes! Fresh flowers are an easy way to dress up any occasion. You can also find really cute banners and paper goods these days. Splurge where it counts – like the flowers, and head to your dollar store for the simple adders like napkins, cake plates, and balloons. I’ve had some good finds there. 

For my baby shower, my sister hung up white onesies as part of the decor which was genius because it doubled up as a gift for baby too! 

3. Food
Food is always the main event for our family parties! And it’s probably why you came to this page. So I’m going to spend the rest of this post going into detail about just that. So keep scrolling! But in a nutshell, figure out what time the party is and how many people are coming. That helps me determine what kind of food to pick and if I’m able to serve anything hot or not. I also try to pick as many things I can prepare in advance as possible, so that the day of is assembling and partying, not cooking! 

4. Activities
We don’t do too many activities at parties I host, because I like to focus on just chatting with the people I’m with, but here are a few simple ideas we’ve done in the past:

Mother’s Day Brunch: The women went around and each shared something they had learned from a woman in their life as we brought out dessert. A great way to unify the tables and bought us some time to bring out dessert in this more formal setting.

Kid’s birthday parties: I like to choose activities that the kids can entertain themselves with while adults can hang out. Pull out some simple yard games like bean bag toss, bring out some water balloons, or have a craft table set up. 

Baby shower: In the past, we’ve handed out a small print out of alphabet coloring pages, each with a letter on it from A – Z. Guests could chat as they colored a page. We had each guest sign their name at the bottom of the page they colored. Then at the end we put them in a 4×6 plastic picture book and it was a gift for baby and also acted as a guest book at the same time. Plus it was a low key thing for guests without any pressure to play a game, and something to keep their hands busy if they wanted. 

5. Party Favors
It can be fun to give away a small something to guests, but don’t worry about making it crazy or expensive! For the 1st birthday party I made my sugar cookies in advance and froze them. They tasted like they were made that day and it was very inexpensive! For the mother’s day brunch we gave a way a small potted flower with a small sign attached to a bamboo stick that we inserted in the pot with a cute saying and a thank you.  

Brunch Food Ideas

My favorite recipes for brunch below. Keep scrolling for lunch and finger food ideas.

  • Waffle bar
  • Mini cinnamon rolls (I use my tried and true cinnamon roll recipe, and feel free to browse my rolls for other filling variations, like orange, raspberry, etc. I just roll out the rectangle very long and more narrow to yield more rolls and a smaller spiral to make the most adorable mini rolls. I roll it about 8″ wide.)
  • Muffins (These maple glazed coffee cake muffins are winners! I love making a variety of mini muffins. Most muffins you can make and freeze in advance too.) 
  • Scones (You can make a couple different kinds of these too. They also freeze well! This free download gets you my sourdough scone recipe, but you can also remove the sourdough starter and just watch how much flour you put in.)
  • Fruit cups (Fruit is perfect for brunch, lunch, or an appetizer based party, and putting them in oranges just really dresses them up!)
  • Donut holes
  • Babka bread (Slice up some raspberry swirl babka or chocolate or nutella babka for a sweet addition!)

Lunch Food Ideas

My favorite recipes for a lunch menu, or when you want to add some heartier things to your brunch. I pulled these ideas in combination from our daughter’s first birthday party and my Mother’s Day brunch menu. 

  • Hot Dogs & Hamburgers (easy casual party food for our daughter’s 1st birthday)
  • Marinated Vegetable & Cheese Sandwich (I LOVED this vegetarian sandwich option from Half Baked Harvest. The veggies can be marinated and cooked the day before. I substituted the goat cheese for sliced fresh mozzarella to be a little more crowd friendly. She has so many yummy sandwich options on her site. This veggie sandwich from her is also a a winner.)
  • Turkey Bacon Avocado Club (I used freshly sliced thick turkey from Costco + sliced tomatoes + provolone cheese + bacon (I cooked in oven previously then refreshed in oven prior to assembling) + lettuce + honey mustard mayo + on sourdough sandwich bread 
  • Sliders (these are crowd pleasers and easy to make a LOT at once instead of assembling several individual sandwiches. Classic ham and cheese or this pepperoni one. You can use Hawaiian rolls or my homemade dinner rolls in advance.)
  • Nuts & Berries Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette (I used this recipe from Chelsea’s Messy Apron and used half spring mix/half spinach for the base. I also swapped the sugared pecans for sugared almonds only because I had sugared pecans as part of my sweet potato appetizer (recipe for this below) but either one would be fabulous. 
  • Chopped Vegetable Salad (this Martha Stewart recipe was so simple, yet so refreshing. A great basic addition. I chopped all the veggies the day before then tossed the salad the day of the party.)
  • Caprese Pesto Salad (so easy! We love the fresh pesto from Costco. Use any noodles you want. Here’s a basic recipe to follow.)
  • Fruit cups (I love styling fruit in oranges. But no matter how you style it – fruit just in a bowl, on a platter, or in cute clear cups with fun toothpicks…people love fruit! And once again, another easy thing to do in advance!)

Appetizer Ideas

For that time you are having an assortment of finger foods or need an appetizer to warm up the party….

  • Charcuterie Board (check out this post to see a bunch of ideas on how to create a perfect charcuterie board!)
  • Spinach Puffs (yes, I’m going to say it again…you can prep these in advance! This spinach puff recipe is a hit – with feta cheese, spinach, bacon, and parmesan – its a crowd pleaser. My anti-spinach and anti-feta husband even loves them!) 
  • Sweet Potato Rounds (with balsamic glaze, a candied pecan, and a light touch of goat cheese – it’s unique but totally delicious. We use this recipe on repeat at showers and different events. It calls for an orange olive oil…but I’ve tried just normal olive oil and it’s still amazing.)
  • Bruschetta (there’s so many ways you can go with this – classic, triple berry with goat cheese, peach
  • Peach Appetizer Skewer (this recipe is unique and great for end of summer when those fresh peaches are at their prime)

Drink Ideas

Drinks are an easy way to elevate the food table at a party. I love having water or drinks in these drink dispensers, and we love putting water in this Italian glass bottles. We keep them stored in the fridge to chill and then pull them out to serve or as table refills. 

  • Flavored water (throw in some fresh citrus for a fun touch!)
  • Mint Julep
  • Blackberry Pear Basil Lemonade (I used this fantastic recipe as the base, and then added some fresh basil, pear juice, and threw in some fresh pears at the end as well.)
brunch lemonade

Dessert Ideas

What’s a party without a treat, right? Most of these recipes are very adaptable to convert from cakes to cupcakes, large cheesecakes to mini cheesecakes, etc. 

Any questions? Feel free to leave a question below, and I’d love to try to help! 

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