Wedding Reception Food

Planning your wedding reception food is a big deal since the food that is served to your guests is the highlight of the event. Your guests are going to come to your reception prepared to eat a really great meal. So you need to take the following items into consideration when it comes to planning the meal for your reception.

The Reception Location

The venue where you choose to have your event may limit your wedding reception food options.

  • Hotel or Banquet Facility. A caterer is already on site so you need to make sure that you like the food offered at these facilities before they are booked.

  • Rent a hall and pick your own caterer. You choose your caterer based on the food that they provide but you need to make sure that they are insured (a requirement for most hall rentals). Some caterers will drop off the food if you provide your own servers. This way the kitchen does not have to be used.

  • Rent a hall and make the food yourself. This is the least expensive option. You need to find out if you can use the kitchen or if you need to make the food ahead of time.

If you would really like to make your own reception food it can definitely be done.

Make sure that you cook as much food as possible ahead of time. And if possible try to designate someone who is not a parent of the couple or member of the bridal party to oversee the wedding day execution.

The added stress of doing the food yourself instead of having a caterer can really put a damper on your day. However, if for some reason your wedding cake does not turn out the way you'd like, you can have an online cake delivery within hours of your reception. 

For more wedding food ideas we recommend that you visit Party Recipes and Ideas for a detailed guide on catering your own wedding reception.

Reception Options

  • Brunch or Lunch. A lighter menu offered earlier in the day and is normally less expensive than a dinner.

  • Formal Reception.

    1. Cocktail Hour. This gives you time to take pictures and relax before the party and gives your guests something to nibble on as they wait for the wedding reception food.

      • You can have a very lavish set up with meat, seafood, sushi, pasta, cheese, and fruit and vegetable stations as well as passed hors d'oeuvres.

      • You can have a room set up with hors d'oeuvres passed around by servers as well as stations that have a variety of hot and cold hors d'oeuvres.

      • Hors d'oeuvres could just be passed around in the main banquet room while your guest wait for you to arrive.

    2. Dinner

      • Traditional sit-down dinner where the guests are served platted meals. You should offer your guest their choice of an entree and give a count of each entree choice to your caterer at least a week before the reception.

      • Buffet. Not as formal as a sit-down dinner but gives your guests a nice selection of food from which to choose.

  • Dessert Reception. Least expensive option with only dessert and beverages offered to your guest. It is also normally shorter than a normal reception and does not include dancing.

Wedding Reception Food Options

There is a variety of food available to serve to your guests.

  • Traditional Banquet. This includes different types of beef, chicken and seafood. You may also choose a few starches and vegetables.

  • Cultural and Ethnic. If you enjoy eating certain types of food that are related to your background then you can choose to have those foods served.

  • Unique offerings. There are several chefs that are known for creating menus that are beyond the ordinary. You can choose to use the services of those chefs to create something special for your day.

Special Considerations

There may be people that are attending your reception but require a different meal than the rest of your guests.

  • Allergies. You may want to have a "safe" meal available for your guests that might be allergic to anything that you have chosen to serve including seafood, dairy products, nuts, gluten and some spices.

  • Vegetarians. You may want to give your guests the option of a vegetarian meal.

  • Diabetic. If you have a menu that is full of sugar, rich sauces, and creams then you may want to ask your caterer if they have something suitable for guests with diabetes.

  • Children's Menu. Most kids do not want to eat the "fancy" food that is on your menu. So may want to offer them a child's menu with chicken nuggets, french fries, hotdogs, spaghetti or other items that your young guests would enjoy.

You should take all of these things into consideration when you are deciding on your wedding reception food.

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