Planning your wedding meal can fill you with excitement or dread. Different budgets make different sort of meals possible, and even if you can afford a fancy plated dinner, you may not want one. The stereotypical wedding dinner with a choice between chicken or beef (plus a vegetarian option) can be boring and forgettable.
If having a memorable meal isn’t a priority to you or you don’t want to go against the grain for the sake of your family, there’s nothing wrong with going the traditional route. However if you want to do something different, here are some fun ideas that can spice up your wedding (and perhaps help you stretch your budget).
If you and your partner spend every week looking forward to Taco Tuesdays and have a love of Mexican food, a burrito bar can be a fun way to feed your guests at your wedding. Guests can serve themselves to ensure that they get enough food and none goes to waste (a cheeky sign asking guests to eat their fill, but eat all they take might be a good way to go). Different protein options help to make sure everyone has something that fills their dietary needs, especially if you have a lot of vegetarian toppings. Rice and beans are easy to prepare in big batches to serve as sides. Going with the theme, chips and salsa, queso, and guacamole are a great appetizer for cocktail hour or prewedding.
Have you ever ordered appetizers at a restaurant or filled up on snacks at home and not been able to touch your meal? We’ve all been there before, and that’s the mood we’re going for when setting up grazing tables: small portions designed so guests can have a little bit of everything.
Picking food is a great way to let creativity shine, here: you can pick your favorites. Traditional small plate dishes like wings with various dipping sauces, potato skins, cheese plates, and fruit skewers all have their place — but so do some fun out of the box options. You could serve tomato soup “shots” accompanied by mini grilled cheese. Sliders, mini tacos, stuffed peppers, and fried mac and cheese bites are other great options. Make sure you have lots of napkins and plates around if you go this route; people are unlikely to keep track of their own utensils and plates as they graze and socialize.
This idea is similar to the burrito bar idea mentioned above but with less assembly required- most people love pizza and will enjoy getting to try different topping combinations. Variety and interesting toppings is the key to keeping this one from seeming like a children’s party — although basic cheese will likely be appreciated by any picky eaters attending. Pair this with warm garlic bread and a green salad, and your guests will be set.
Breakfast for Dinner
Brunch is a popular weekend staple and there’s nothing wrong with tapping into that trend for your wedding. Breakfast is just as tasty in the evening as it is in the morning can many breakfast foods can be less expensive to purchase than dinner staples. Omelette stations are a great idea and there’s a lot of fun to be had with a make-your-own waffle bar. Bacon, scrambled eggs, sausage and toast corners are a great way to round out this treat for dinner. Maybe lean into the millennial trends of avocado toasts and acai bowls for a fresh take?
The Dessert Bar
This option might not be right for everyone; if you’re picturing a long event that starts early evening and goes into the middle of the night, you’ll need to serve everyone a proper meal. However if your plan is for a shorter reception, a table full of sweets (with a few savory options mixed in) might be a fun way to cater your wedding reception. If you pick this option, remember to make it clear to your guests that a traditional meal won’t be served and they should come having already ate. Variety is key here: in addition to cake or cupcakes, you can have mini pies, cookies, brownies, various dessert bars. Some savory options like a cheese plate will also do well here and help people starve off a sugar coma. A great bonus is that any leftover treats can be wrapped up in cellophane bags or pretty boxes and taken home by guests, letting them also serve as a favor.
Ultimately, your wedding meals should reflect your taste, traditional or not. What are some of your favorite wedding catering options?