Food Options for Your Reception

Cara and Andy's Wedding
Photo courtesy of Jeff Wojtaszek Photography
When planning your wedding, one of the things you'll spend a lot of time contemplating is the food. Not only do you have to decide what and how much to feed your guests, but you also have to decide how you want to feed them. How many courses do you want to have? Will you give your guests a choice or choose for them? Do you want a sit down meal, a buffet or stations? Do you prefer a more relaxed atmosphere with lots of hors d'oeuvres or a seated formal meal? The time of day you choose to have your reception may also have an impact on the type of food and style of meal you choose to serve. 

The most traditional option these days is an evening reception with a plated, multi-course meal. But there is no right and wrong. It all depends on the type of reception you want to have and what you and your guests will enjoy. If you like the idea of a complete meal, but would rather give your guests more choices, you could do a buffet or stations. A buffet is typically set up in a line with a number of different dishes for guests to choose from, main dish options, sides, and starters. Stations are typically set up around the room and have different main course options- sometimes representative of different cultures or ethnic cuisines, as well as sides. 

Another option if you want to do a seated meal, but give guests more of an assortment, is to serve them family style. Choose a number of dishes and large, family style platters will be delivered to each table for guests to share. It requires guests to interact and gives variety. 

If you're having a late afternoon or early evening evening reception and don't want to do a full meal, you could do a cocktail reception- a number of drink options and hors d'oeuvres. They could be butlered as well as stationed throughout the reception space. People tend to enjoy the cocktail hour of receptions- it's fun to mingle and catch up with people, you may not otherwise be seated with- it also gives guests quite a varied choice of foods. 

If you'd prefer to have a morning or early afternoon wedding reception then you could serve your guests brunch- and that works nicely as a seated meal, a buffet or stations, as there are a number of food options. 

Once you decide the day and time of your reception, then you can start thinking about the type of meal you'd like to offer. Certain foods lend themselves better to certain times of the day. And you may want to offer a greater quantity of food depending on the time. There are a ton of options when it comes to feeding your guests, and really no "wrong" choice. Discuss all of your options and ideas with your caterer and don't hesitate on bringing up some new and unconventional ideas- your caterer may be open to them!


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