There’s so much more to wedding food than chicken and potatoes. From bubble bars to soup shooters, spice up your reception with one of these unique ideas.
There’s nothing more refreshing on a hot day than an ice cold popsicles. Now imagine the gourmet version, with flavors like lavender and orange crème. Sound delicious? Ask your caterer to try an adults-only version for the cocktail hour with your favorite liqueur for a frozen signature drink.
Photo: Eric Kelley Photography
Make-Your-Own Food Bars
For a more casual affair, let your guests be the chef. Guacamole is always a crowd pleaser. Give guests the option to customize their guac with extras like avocado, cucumber and lime will be a hit.
Photo: Sweetwater Portraits by Julie Melton
Classy Carnival Food
We’re talking cotton candy, cracker jacks, funnel cakes and anything else you might find at the carnival – all dressed up on the display end. Complete the carnival theme with a popcorn bar for a late night snack and a fresh hot funnel cake cart.
Photo: Phillip Ficks
Keep your guests caffeinated and out on the dance floor with coffee-infused desserts. Order espresso-spiked brownies or even Starbucks-inspired coffee dessert drinks like Frappuccinos piled high with homemade whipped cream. Include a few decaf options too, like chocolate milk shake shots or even flavored frothed milk.
Photo: Aruna B. Photography
Guess what? You can still have a “cake cutting” even if you’re slicing through a stack of donuts. Serve up retro classics like cream and jelly filled varieties, plus new treats we’ve seen,like white chocolate and almond or coconut and mango donuts.
Photo: Divine Order Photography
Instead of the expected passed hors d’oeuvres, ask your caterer about a more hands-on option. A few fun ideas: have a raw bar with a chef shucking oysters, rolling sushi, or even grilling fresh ingredients in front of everyone. Think of it as your other-other bar!
Photo: Michael and Anna Costa Photography
Dressed-Up Comfort Food
Comfort food has been popular at weddings for years, but now it’s all about the presentation. Try French fries wrapped in monogrammed paper or mini BLTs served under glass!p>
Photo: Justin & Mary Photography
A Childhood Favorite
Bring back a favorite from your youth and it’s a guaranteed hit. No one will expect individual sized cookies and a shot of milk, and the surprise makes it all the tastier. Whether it’s banana split sundaes or syrupy slushies, a reminder of your favorite childhood sweets while you’re celebrating with those who know you both best makes everything even more delicious.
Photo: Bee Photographie
Cheese Wheel Cakes
Ok, so maybe a cake made from wheels of cheese aren’t going to replace traditional wedding cake, but they’re perfect for a pre-reception wine and cheese hour. Imagine each layer is a different cheese flavor like creamy goat cheese, smoky gouda, or sharpcheddar with a garnish of herbs. This idea is perfect for every palette, and your guests definitely will have never seen anything like it before.
Photo: Patrick Moyer Wedding Photography & Films
“Mad Men”-Inspired Bar
Go for that vintage 1960s vibe when it comes to your specialty bar. Feature several types of whiskeys and bourbons along with a variety of cocktail suggestions. And don’t forget to spice things up — offer a classic Manhattan, but also newer pairings, like a drink made from rye whiskey, Barolo Chinato and bitters.
Photo: Our Labor Of Love
We’re not talking about the shots you might have done in college — these nonalcoholic drinkable shooters are served during the cocktail hour as hors d’oeuvres. Think: cold gazpacho soup, tomato and basil puree, or even stacks of chopped veggies — all garnished with fresh herbs.
Photo: Julia Newman Photography
DIY Dessert Stations
Give your guests the chance to customize their own desserts. Set up a s’mores station near an outside fire pit, or, for a moreformal wedding, have a waiter serve ice cream and offer a variety of toppings for guests to choose from.
Photo: Roohi Photography
Kick up your open bar by adding a small specialty side bar like a bubble bar featuring only sparkling wines and mixers like peach and strawberry juice. You could even add a soda bar with a variety of flavored syrups so guests can make their own coffee-vanilla-flavored Coke. (And brides take note: These bars can also make a great surprise gift for your groom!)
Photo: Anne Marie Photography
Take-Home Cake Boxes
This take-home treat is for the serious foodie. Work with your caterer and offer guests a slice of the wedding cake — or even the groom’s cake — that they can take home. It’s an especially great idea for out-of-towners who may want a midnight snack in their hotel room.
Photo: Genevieve Leiper Photography
Fuel your dance party with a cereal bar. Pick your favorites (Captain Crunch, Lucky Charms, Life – the options are almost endless) and then put them on display in pretty glass jars. Skip the oversized cereal bowls thought and do smaller bowls or or even bags for guests to grab and get back to the dance floor.
Special thanks to: Sheri Jacobs of Chez Gourmet Catering, Colorful Palate, Katie Sprenkle of Eco Caters, Yvening Event Planning & Catering, LLC Jennifer of Affordable Catering, and Joey Campanaro of Little Owl Catering.
Photo: Jen Kroll Photography