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WEDDING MENU IDEAS

Make a statement with your wedding menu ideas!

By expressing your personality and experiences into your wedding food ideas, you can have an unforgettable and more meaningful wedding reception.

Catering Options

f you have decided to use the in-house catering staff at your reception site, then you already know that they have a fairly set menu.

Picture of food station at wedding reception

So, you may not be able to incorporate unique or specific foods. But it never hurts to ask.

If you are able to use an outside caterer, you will be able to have more choices in your foods and with your budget. Finding the right caterer can take some time, but it can be worth it in the long run.

If there is a culinary school in your town, check to see if you can hire a student(s) to cater your reception. They will usually charge you a fraction of the cost of a professional caterer and are usually willing to listen to your wedding menu ideas.

Of course, if you are having a small wedding, you could choose to make the food yourself. This is the most affordable and personal way to go. However, you will definitely need friends and family to help you.

You don't need to make everything homemade though. There are many good prepared foods that you just need to heat and serve. Check out places like Costco and Sam's Club where you can buy the prepared foods in bulk at discount prices.

That Personal Touch

One way to reflect your personality and experiences into your wedding menu ideas is to serve ethnic cuisine.

Such as: (Click on the links below for more wedding menu ideas.)

Incorporating food from your families' heritage helps to bond your relatives and guests. If these are foods that you enjoy, then the wedding reception will be more personal to you and your guests.

You can choose to include an entire menu based on your ethnic background or on your personal life experiences; or you can choose to mix and match food items from different cultures.

Food Stations

Picture of meat station at wedding reception

Food stations or food bars are a new take on the old buffets.

The food stations are usually set up around the perimeter of the reception site. They are not just for big weddings any more but are perfect for a small wedding.

Some choices for a food station are: a baked potato bar with a selection of toppings; an avocado bar; a pasta bar; a Mexican taco station; a Chinese food station; a hibachi-style Japanese station; or a soup and salad station.

The food stations are usually more creative in their presentation than a standard buffet. For example, you could have the potatoes served in large martini glasses or have your soups served in bread bowls.

TRADITIONAL WEDDING MENU IDEAS

Breakfast Reception

Picture of fruit at a wedding breakfast reception

A breakfast reception should take place between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.

Wedding Menu Ideas

  • Fresh Fruit
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Waffles, pancakes or French toast with syrup
  • Cinnamon roll, muffins and other pastries
  • Sausage patties or links, bacon and/or Canadian bacon, or ham
  • Breakfast casseroles
  • Hashbrown potatoes or Potatoes O'Brien
  • Coffee, tea, milk, juice and mimosas (if serving champagne)

Lunch Buffet Reception

A lunch buffet reception should take place between 12:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. This type of reception should follow a late morning wedding.

Wedding Menu Ideas

  • Fresh fruit, vegetable and cheese platters
  • Finger foods - can include: tea sandwiches, pinwheel sandwiches, baby quiche, mini-egg rolls, and skewered meats
  • Trays of cold cuts and various cheese
  • Pasta salad, potato salad, green salad, coleslaw
  • Rolls (large enough for guests to make a sandwich.)
  • Various condiments, pickles and olives
  • Coffee, tea (hot and iced), soft drinks and alcohol (if desired)

Hors d'oeuvres Reception

This type of reception is appropriate between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. It can also be held after an evening wedding. Be sure to include "Hors d'oeuvres Reception Following Ceremony", on the invitations, so your guests will know what to expect.

Wedding Menu Ideas

  • Fresh fruit, vegetable, and meat and cheese platters
  • Finger foods - can include: stuffed mushrooms, Phyllo triangles with spinach and cheese, Swedish meatballs on picks, baby quiche, mini-egg rolls, cheese quesadillas, sausage balls, chicken wings, shrimp cocktails and skewered meats
  • Chips and dips
  • Coffee, tea (hot and iced), soft drinks/or punch and alcohol (if desired)

Dinner Buffet Reception

A dinner buffet reception should take place after 7:00 p.m.

Wedding Menu Idea

  • Fresh fruit, vegetable and cheese platters
  • Hors D'oeuvres-can include: stuffed mushrooms, phyllo triangles with spinach and cheese, Swedish meatballs on picks, baby quiche, mini-egg rolls, cheese quesadillas, sausage balls, chicken wings, shrimp cocktails
  • Pasta salads served with various sauces, couscous salad and a green salad bar
  • Grilled Chicken, Beef Tenderloin, Roasted Turkey and/or Grilled Fish
  • Baked potatoes, asparagus, mushroom ragout, and/or green beans
  • Rolls
  • Coffee, tea (hot and iced), soft drinks and alcohol (if desired)

Dessert Reception

A dessert reception should take place between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. or 9:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Be sure to add "Dessert Reception Following Ceremony" to your invitations.

This is a great do-it-yourself reception. You can serve an assortment of rich desserts, such as cheese cakes, pastries, cakes, pies, tortes and cookies.

You can also serve ice cream and have all the toppings for your guests to make sundaes or banana-splits.

For your beverages serve coffee, tea, soft drinks and alcohol (if desired).

Tea Reception

A tea reception is appropriate between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. This type of reception is inexpensive and is a nice idea for small weddings. Include "Tea Reception Following Ceremony", on the invitations.

Wedding Menu Ideas

  • Tea sandwiches.
  • Tarts, scones and other pastries
  • Serve a selection of different teas and coffee.

MORE WEDDING FOOD IDEAS FOR YOUR RECEPTION

Picture of avocado and fruit salad served at a wedding reception

Salad Luncheon

If your wedding is in the late morning, you could choose to have a salad luncheon.

Offer a wide variety of salads, such as, pasta, potato, fruit, Greek salad, Caesar salad, bean salad and a green salad.

Be sure to include "Salad Luncheon Following Ceremony", on the invitations.

Wedding Cake and Punch Reception

You could also choose to have a simple, but elegant,Wedding Cake and Punch Reception. This is a great idea for a mid-morning, mid-afternoon, or evening wedding.

This type of reception is relaxed, enjoyable and inexpensive. Along with the cake and punch, you can also include cookies, mints and nuts for your guests to enjoy.

Be sure to include "Cake and Punch Reception Following Ceremony" on your invitations.

DON'T FORGET THE CAKE

The great thing about today's wedding cakes is that they can look and taste any way you want. If you dream it up, you can find someone who will make it a reality!

A wedding cake is no longer limited to being white. It can be any color that you desire. You can also add flowers, fruit, ribbons, or unusual cake toppers to make your cake special.

Photo by Paul Anderson

Wedding cakes no longer have to be the traditional stacked tiers, either. You can have a cake made in any size or shape to reflect your personality. For example, you can have a cake shaped like a castle, a sailboat or a football field.

Instead of one large cake, you might consider serving tiny, individual sized wedding cakes or cupcakes. If you are not a big cake eater, you can even have individual pies made for your wedding dessert.

Photo by Paul Anderson

Another wedding cake idea is to have a cake for each table, which can double as the centerpiece. You and the groom can cut the first slice of each cake at each table - giving you a chance to visit with all your guests.

Tips on Cutting a Tiered Cake

Use a sharp slender knife with a long blade.

After the cake is cut the pieces may be removed with a cake server and fork.

  1. Cut vertically through the bottom layer at the edge of the second layer; then cut out wedge-shaped pieces.
  2. When these pieces have been served, follow the same procedure with the middle layer; cut vertically through the second layer at the edge of the top layer; then cut out wedge-shaped pieces.
  3. When the pieces from the second layer have been served, return to the bottom layer and cut along the edge of the second layer; cut another row of wedge-shaped pieces.
  4. Three small layers will remain. You may want to save the top layer for your first anniversary.

As you can see, there are no right or wrong wedding menu ideas for your reception. Just make sure there is plenty of good food and beverages and that everyone enjoys themselves!





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