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  • Writer's pictureRiley

Wedding Food 101

Picking wedding food can be hard. Factors such as budget, guest count, allergies and preferences all play an important role. So, what should you keep in mind when picking your wedding menu?


If budget is your biggest concern, here are some tips to keep you on track:

  1. Opt for simple hors d’ouvrés - meatballs, cheese & crackers, and fruit platters are always a hit and budget friendly

  2. Avoid the plated dinner - cocktail style receptions will be the nicest on the budget, but if you’re wanting a sit down dinner, buffets and family style dishes are a great way to accommodate budget AND picky eaters

  3. Opt for a more cost effective meat such as chicken or a carved roast beef, or even a delicious pasta.

Guest Count

If you have a large guest count you need to feed, here’s our best tips:

  1. Have both appetizer stations as well as passed appetizers - this will help ensure everyone is near some sort of food option at any given time

  2. Opt for a quicker service like the buffet or family style. Truth is, plated dinners take a LONG time. Standard meal services start at 1 hour, so with a large guest count and a plated meal, you can expect to have a 1.5-2+ hour meal service


If you’re trying to match a theme or just going for a more unique style meal, here’s a couple tips to consider:

  1. Spice things up during cocktail hour with an oyster bar or buffalo mac n cheese balls, but always ensure there’s at least one mainstream dinner entree almost any guest will enjoy. Pastas and chicken dishes are usually pretty safe.

  2. Want to elevate your event? A carving station always feels upscale and is always a hit with meat lovers. Think beef tenderloin or prime rib with au jus.

  3. Match the aesthetic. If you’re planning a garden wedding, keep things light with salmon cucumber canapes and finger sandwiches. If you’re going more rustic themed, consider mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, and the pulled pork sandwich.

Allergies and Restrictions

  1. Consider 1 accommodating meal that is vegan AND gluten free. This will help minimize the number of specialty meals to keep track of and will also cover a large chunk of allergies and restrictions

  2. If you have a large crowd of extended family coming in from another country, consider having a dish they would recognize and enjoy.

  3. If you need to accommodate a group of people with specific dietary preferences, consider choosing a caterer that can provide the entire menu according to needs - like keeping the entire menu kosher or avoiding pork altogether.

General Tips

  1. Don’t go only with meat - pastas, potatoes, and side dishes are necessary in rounding out the menu, and will take care of the kiddos, picky eaters, and folks with restrictions.

  2. Don’t go overly simple or overly complex. A nice balance of some familiar items and some unique ones will lead to an overall stamp of approval from your guests

When in doubt, consult your caterer on their most popular options and think about what you would want to eat at a wedding. And the end of the day, it’s your wedding - do what is going to make you and your guests happy.

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