DIY Box Lunch Wedding Shower Ideas

Tips and details for hosting a DIY box lunch wedding shower in your home, along with more ideas + inspiration. I’m sharing all the scoop on the box lunch assembly, what we served for dessert, and more!

wedding shower box lunches with ribbon stacked 2023 cropped

*This post was originally published in 2013. We held this wedding shower at our house on Sutton Place. The post has been revamped with current information, up-to-date links, and additional ideas. Affiliate links included. See my disclosure statement.

Planning

The most important first step when planning any type of party or get-together is to make a list. Start at the very beginning, and give yourself plenty of time. (A free checklist is available at the end of this post!)

We started out planning this wedding shower with a large guest list, and no affordable venue. After going back and forth for a few days, we finally decided to have the shower in our home. When we were brain-storming ideas on how we could accommodate around 50 people, we considered a traditional bridal shower brunch or lunch buffet, but we somehow came up with the idea of a box lunch. Pinterest helped, but we quickly found out that we had to find our own resources, and come up with our own plan.

box lunch bridal shower ideas

Our box lunch idea addressed two big concerns:

  • First, our guest list was large, but our space was not. By making box lunches, we wouldn’t have to seat every guest at a table. The boxes would contain the entire meal, except dessert, and could be easily balanced on a lap.
  • Second, I was worried about getting everything accomplished on time the day of the shower. The box lunches would have to be assembled the day before, so the majority of the work would be done ahead. This was a major plus, since we had a start time of 11 a.m. 

The Invitation

With the help of the bride, complile the bridal shower guest list. Include the wedding party, close family members, co-workers, friends, any other relatives. Wedding shower invitations can be casually handwritten, or they can be printed through a website like Minted. Darling bridal shower invitations can also be found on Etsy…which is where we chose to purchase ours. Make sure to include the bridal shower theme if you have one, the wedding registry information, time, date, location, RSVP, and dress code if there is one.

The Menu

Planning food for any type of celebration can be stressful. We went back and forth trying to decide on something that was easy to pack, as well as easy to eat. This was our final decision.

kraft box lunch idea

Box Lunch Elements

The Boxes

After looking around online for what seemed like hours, we decided on these brown kraft boxes. We wanted something with a flat top, so we could tie pretty ribbon around each box. I originally planned to tie bows around the boxes, but then I realized that we would not be able to stack them in the refrigerator. The only way they were all fitting in our two refrigerators was if they were stacked…so the bows were adjusted to a simple slip knot. 

The Plastic Containers

fruit cups for box lunch

The Bags

We knew we wanted some sort of specialty bags for the croissant and chips. After looking around online, we chose these cute bags. Thankfully, we packaged a croissant and some chips about a week before the shower to see how they would taste after sitting in the refrigerator overnight. They tasted fine, but the food oil soaked through the bags. It looked terrible! So we used cellophane bags as a liner to solve that problem. We folded the bags over, and sealed them with a round white sticker.

5 x 7 flat paper treat bags

The Flatware

We knew we were definitely going to use disposable flatware, but we didn’t want basic white plastic forks. We chose silver, heavy duty plastic forks that looked very nice after we wrapped each one in a napkin, and tied a cute bow around it!

flatware wrapped in napkins with bows

Box Lunch Assembly

Once we chose all the elements for the box lunches, the next step was figuring out how to make it all fit. That took some trial and error, but after a few tries we came up with something that looked nice, but not crowded. 

how to assemble a box lunch
  • Box assembly step 1: We lined the boxes with wax deli paper.
  • Box assembly step 2: the first layer contained the chicken salad, croissant, fruit, and chips.
  • Box assembly step 3: the second layer was the pasta salad and flatware/napkin.

The finishing touch was tying a double layer of ribbon around each box. Even though it was a bit tedious, this was my favorite part of the whole thing!

food elements for box lunch

We assembled the boxes the night before the shower, and stowed them away in our refrigerators overnight. We used the refrigerator in our kitchen, along with an extra refrigerator we have in our garage. A few minutes before guests started to arrive on the big day, we neatly stacked the boxes on the dining room table. That was it! Not even 10 minutes on the day of the shower, and the food was taken care of. 

Helpful Hints 

  • Make sure to try out everything ahead of time. We ran into a few problems, that had we waited, could have been disastrous.
  • Make sure everything fits in your box and can sit overnight in a refrigerator.
  • Prioritize the DIY aspect. What I mean by this is don’t feel like you have to do/make EVERYTHING yourself. We made the pasta salad, but we bought the chicken salad. We had help with the fruit, and opted for a dessert table instead of packing a dessert for the boxes.
  • Where you can take a shortcut…do it. Don’t be afraid to use plastic flatware/cups/containers. After all…it’s a casual meal in a casual setting.
  • I had some questions in the comment section about refrigerator space. We have an extra refrigerator in our garage. I cleared it out and removed two shelves. We were able to stack most of the boxes in there, and we put the overflow in our kitchen refrigerator. 
white tables and chairs on deck bridal shower ideas

Wedding Decoration Ideas

When we had the box lunch assembly all planned out, we moved on to the other details and the decor. We knew we were unable to seat everyone in attendance due to space constraints, but we decided to provide as much seating as we could on our back deck. We rented white tables, chairs, and tablecloths which completely transformed the space. 

box lunches on table

Centerpieces

I gathered together my white and cream pitchers, and filled them with daisies and baby’s breath for the centerpieces. Colorful pieces of ribbon were tied onto the handles of all the pitchers. To complete the seating area, we purchased coordinating fabric, and made square toppers for all the tables.

daisies in white pitcher

Wedding Shower Dessert Ideas

We opted not to include dessert in the boxes. Instead, we put together a dessert table for the guests to help themselves. We considered baking our own cupcakes, but decided to buy them at a sweet little bakery in our hometown. We served cake pops that added beautiful color, and cookies as well. My daughter and I agreed it was one of the smartest decisions we made! Not only did it save us tons of time, all the dessert choices were truly delicious.

bridal shower ideas desserts

Bridal Shower Favors

Small gifts for your guests are fun and easy to put together. I’m not an expert on bridal shower etiquette, but favors are a good idea! Here are some suggestions:

wedding shower checklist free printable

Bridal Shower Checklist Free Printable

Just fill out the form below and I’ll immediately send you the free bridal shower checklist! *Current OSP subscribers should go ahead and fill out the form and I’ll send the printables right away. My email company makes sure that you don’t get duplicate subscriptions.

The entire day was as close to perfect as we could get. This box lunch wedding shower turned out just like we had planned (which you have to admit hardly ever happens.) The bride-to-be felt special, she was surrounded by her maid of honor, bridesmaids, friends, and family members. Along with her groom, she received some incredible shower gifts to begin her life as a “Mrs.”

Complete list of sources

Related Posts

  • Gender Neutral Box Lunch Baby Shower

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25 Comments

  1. What are the dimensions on the Kraft boxes? The link isn’t working for me. Thank you.

  2. MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!) says:

    Ann, what a lovely bridal shower you planned! Everything was put together so nicely. You have so many fabulous ideas and I thank you for sharing these with us. I loved the box lunch idea and your boxes looked so pretty. This is such a great idea because everything is put together for the box lunch the day before and the hostess can enjoy her day with the guests. Your tables were so beautifully put together. The bows on the pitchers were so pretty and, again, such a nice idea you had. You always do such a lovely job with everything you do, Ann.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Thank you so much…it takes planning, but it’s super easy!

  3. What a lovely shower. Full of special details for this special occasion.

  4. Jeni Meyer says:

    Thank you… what a lovely idea. This could work for a different upcoming event I am planning for.

  5. Ann, this is a fantastic idea. Thank you so much for all the details and hints.

  6. Kim Hawes says:

    I used your ideas to prepare a box lunch for the ladies of my daughter’s wedding party on the day of the wedding. Box lunches worked beautifully for the bridesmaids while they were having their hair and makeup done. Everyone enjoyed the food and I had so much fun ordering all the supplies! Thank you for this inspiration!

  7. Thank you so much for this post-not only is it brimming with great ideas, it truly was a pleasure to read. I’m a faithful reader finally commenting for the first time. I found you through your lavender sugar scrub recipe. I used it-complete with your labels-for a random, but special dinner I hosted for my girlfriends just before Covid hit. In the long months that followed, I can’t tell you how grateful I was that I went through the effort of planning that special evening. Thank you for inspiring me to make home (and life!) as good and comforting as I can.

  8. Love this! So practical, yet so thoughtful and pretty.

  9. Ann, I want to thank you for this post along with all the links. I hosted a bridal shower for a friend’s daughter in September and used your ideas and resources to come up with a plan! The boxed lunches turned out wonderfully, right down to your pasta salad recipe! Many, many thanks!!

  10. Nancy Powell says:

    Thank you so much for putting out such great advise. I am doing a “happily ever after” party for our son and daughter-in-law in June. (Their wedding was last August) There are 350 people are invited, hopefully the final number will be 250. I think I will rent a refrigerated trailer to hold the boxes. I’ll use the ribbon idea, but to make them really flat, I’ll have a sticker with their personalized monogram. I also appreciate the advise to make a mock-up in advance. The sandwiches will come from a local shop, I may do a fruit skewer tucked into a cellophane bag, instead of a fruit cup, so I don’t need a fork. Thank you!

  11. A thousand thanks for the great detail on this! You’re boxes are beautiful and I will definitely be using this idea. Thank you!!

  12. Such excellent ideas! I hosted a “drive thru” wedding shower last Summer for a bride in our church congregation. It was a little out of the ordinary…but it worked perfect. We placed cupcakes in small clear plastic cups and then down in a clear cellophane bag. Included a fork in the bag to make the snacking easier, tied it off with a pretty ribbon and embellished with a pretty sticker outside the package with the bride and grooms names. It worked like a charm! The options are endless. It just takes a little creative look at what is needed.
    As always, your ideas are excellent! Thank you for being so willing to share.

  13. Great ideas here! Pinned! Thank you!

  14. Mary Evans says:

    Ann, this is the cutest way to do a bridal shower with lots of ladies. I know this will be used over and over by your viewers. I would not have thought of any of this. Different and very charming. Best post ever. Blessings, Mary

    1. This is such a cool idea! Hosting a shower for my daughter in a winery that is 5 minutes from my house. Hoping this idea works! Our shower starts at 10:30 so less prep in the am is better!

  15. Love all the ideas. My niece just hosted a drive by Baby Shower with box lunches…it was so much fun.

    We got out of our cars briefly to participate in three games that were self service. Then as we completed that a luncheon box was placed at one end of a table with bottle water that she made special labels for.

    It was perfect in so many ways.

  16. 5 stars
    Oh my goodness! What wonderful ideas! Just lovely! Thanks so much for sharing!😊

  17. Sue@Housepretty says:

    To say “I’m impressed” would be putting it mildly! For something “casual”, you made it look VERY professional!!!

  18. Wow! This all looks so amazing!! You and daughter are certainly an ambitious pair! That is one very lucky bride! :)

  19. Ann, what a great idea. It sure makes it less stressful the day of the party. It looks so great the way you have it in the box. Thanks for the wonderful pictures and telling us where you found everything. Love your blog. Yarlette

  20. Grace @ sense and simplicity says:

    They’re adorable and look so yummy. How did you fit so many boxes in your fridge though. I would have been afraid they wouldn’t all fit and the salads have to be refrigerated. I love how simple it made it on the day of the shower. Oh and the ribbon would have been my favourite part as well.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      We fit most of the boxes in my garage refrigerator. I had emptied it out so we would be sure to have enough room. I removed 2 shelves and we just stacked up the boxes. We had just a few left to bring into the kitchen refrig. That was a little tricky but we made it work!

  21. I absolutely love this idea! I am planning a bridal shower myself and this is the perfect solution! Thank you for sharing all your sources!!~~Angela

  22. Ohmygoodness, Ann … what a creative, beautiful and genius idea! Your lunch boxes are nothing short of fabulous! And, to see them all set on a crisp, white tablecloth is perfection! Your guests must’ve been so very impressed!