What To Serve

What food you are going to serve at your wedding depends on what theme and tone you are trying to set, as well as what time you are having your guests arrive. If your guests are coming from your ceremony, most brides will serve dinner at their reception, which I think is very appropriate. For brides who are not having a ceremony before the reception you have more of an option. It depends a lot on the theme and tone you are creating, as well as what time you are having your guests arrive. If you are doing a more elegant, romantic tone you may want to consider serving dinner. If you choose dinner are you wanting it to be a sit-down/formal, or buffet style? If you are wanting a more fun, late night reception, then you can think about having a dessert only reception and having it start around seven so guests know you will not be serving dinner. The options for food are endless. So have fun with this. Food is one of the largest chunks of your budget. You need to think about choices, quality and presentation. 

Depending on your venue, they may provide food for extra, or require a list of caterers to be approved by them. This can be a frustrating part of picking a venue, sometimes they will have restrictions that will keep you from using your caterer or restaurant of choice. So find out what the venue's rules are, and meet with some caterers they recommend or with the venue's manager.

Discuss your ideas and hear theirs. They've been doing this for a while so they know what guests like and probably have a few favorite items. Ask questions and tell them how many guests you're planning for. Let them know your theme, if you want sit down dinner versus a buffet, and make sure to let them know your budget. In the end have them prepare a written proposal with estimated costs. If you have some guests with food allergies/vegan let them know. If you are going to give your guests an option of meat/fish check and see if the caterer wants R.S.V.P cards and when they need them back by. Also, ask them if they rent tables, chairs, linens  dishes or if you need to find a rental company. (Get linens to enhance color scheme). Decide how you want to do beverages. Do you want a bar or certain options of self-serve drinks. Keep in mind when once this is all said and done to expect to tip 15-20% of the total bill. Once you have initially met with the caterers narrow it down and set up a few tasting appointments for the two of you, and your parents. After, decide which caterer made you feel confident, what food looked and tasted the best, and offered the best value. Then hire the caterer and work out details in a written contract. Lastly, inform your venue of your caterer. 

If your venue doesn't require you to have a caterer then have what you want. There are so many neat trends with food right now that can put caterers to shame! Some new trends in food right now are different bars/buffets.


  • Italian Soda Bars-you can get many different flavors and fun glasses and straws to drink them out of. I had an italian soda bar at my wedding and my guests loved it.
  • Waffle/crepe bar- all different kinds of yummy toppings
  • Taco bar-easy different meats, toppings, tortillas etc. 
  • Candy bar- I had a candy bar at my wedding too, which was my "Thank You" to guests and they sure enjoyed it. We didn't have hardly any candy leftover. The candy bar is fun because you can get candy that is only in your colors so it matches your color scheme and looks cute. We had all different kinds of jars for the candy. You can make cute little display cards and have cute bags or boxes to put the candy in. Keep someone watching it though, otherwise some guests (especially children) will take more than their share, and there wont be any left for everyone else.

So have fun with this. If you are needing to cut back on your budget, then you can here. There are so many ways to go about what to serve. But do keep in mind your guests come and bring you a nice gift, so you can at least serve them some delicious food.


Taco Bar
Italian Soda Bar


My Reception: Dessert Only
My Candy Bar

6 comments:

Michelle Stemen said...

The taco bar picture above, what kind of container are the trays sitting in, assuming it's filled with ice then covered with material?

Jocelyn O'Bryant said...

Hi Michelle! They're just tin metal containers.

Michelle Stemen said...

Are you talking about the bottom surface where I'm assuming the ice is sitting in? That's what I'm curious about. I've seen ppl use a blow up pool filled with ice for a cold bar outside parties but that's not elegant enough for weddings. This look would be perfect!!!

plengelmann said...

Hi Jocelyn, Can you tell me the dimensions of the Fill and Chill Table and the stainless steel food pans? I am trying to order something similar to this for my son's grad party in a couple weeks. Thanks!!

jle7 said...

I am really interested in where you got the metal pans and chilled bar they are sitting in for the taco bar. This is EXACTLY what I want at my wedding.

jle7 said...

I am really interested in where you got the metal pans and chilled bar they are sitting in for the taco bar. This is EXACTLY what I want at my wedding.

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