Hot trends in wedding cuisine

Once a couple has officially tied the knot, the newly recognized man and wife and all of their guests will retire to a party room where they can mingle, dance and enjoy a good meal. In the past, standard fare like prime rib and roasted chicken dominated wedding menus.

But today’s weddings cater to people of various culinary tastes, and couples and their guests can expect more upscale and creative cuisine to be rolled out for wedding receptions. The following are a handful of the more popular trends with regard to wedding cuisine.

Miniature bites

Many people say good things come in small packages, and when it comes to miniature versions of favorite foods, they may be right. Instead of large meals that fill guests up fast, they can munch on smaller bites of their favorite dishes. How about a piece of meatloaf topped with whipped mashed potatoes? A cherry tomato with a small piece of mozzarella cheese makes a mini caprese salad. Turning favorite foods into bite-sized adventures can add a touch of whimsy to the reception.

Breakfast for dinner


Some couples are circumventing high price tags for their weddings by choosing to hold the festivities at less expensive times of day. Brunch-themed weddings are a big hit with those who would much rather dine on a stack of pancakes than a dish of pasta. Omelet stations, croissants and a bevy of other breakfast table fare can be enjoyed any time of the day.

Dim sum

Dim sum allows guests to sample different foods without filling up. Carts of dumplings and other small plates of appetizers can be wheeled around so everyone can choose what they want and what they want to avoid. Gourmet comfort food People love familiar comfort foods, but now gourmet comfort foods are shaking up wedding receptions. Mac-and-cheese with gouda and brie or chicken pot pie with a puff-pastry crust are a few offerings that can add glamour to down-home cooking.

Food with a show

Instead of passed foods or buffet stations, couples are opting to make food an experience for guests. An oyster bar with a chef serving fresh seafood or a dessert master whipping up flambe is a feast for the eyes and mouth.

Interesting buffet stations


Keep guests on their toes with various meal stations. A bountiful display of artisanal cheeses, fruits and breads will be a cheese lover’s dream. These stations also can be appetizing focal points around the room and ensure all guests get a bite of what they like best.

Family style

Rustic and informal weddings have grown in popularity. Rather than food being brought to the guests or participants lining up in buffet lines, family-style dining allows guests to share conversation and pass the peas at the same time. Larger, rectangular tables allow more guests to sit with one another and serve themselves food from community plates located in the center of the tables.

Food and beverage pairings

Food-forward wedding couples are offering guests mouthwatering appetizers matched with a cocktail. A slider and a craft beer or a dumpling and a shot of saki are examples of this trend.

Nontraditional “fake” cakes


Instead of a multi-tiered cake or the cupcake fad that is starting to fizzle, couples are now opting for something new. Desserts that mimic the look of cake, but aren’t quite that combination of sponge and frosting are trending. Crepes, pies, cookies, and doughnuts are acceptable and can add a creative spark to the cake-cutting ceremony. When offered along with dessert stations, guests can certainly get their fill of sweet delights.

Vegan and gluten-free options

Chances are one or more people attending the reception will be on a restricted diet. Rather than relegate these guests to dining on side dishes and patchwork meals, certain couples are building entire offerings around vegan and gluten-free foods.

Couples are getting creative with their food and beverage offerings at their weddings. Guests never know which culinary wonders they will encounter as they gather to wish the newlyweds well.

Weddings are typically the culmination of months of careful planning. After a couple has officially tied the knot, a celebration typically follows. Although music and mingling are integral to a wedding reception, the meal is often the central component of the party.

Couples have options when choosing dinner service for their weddings, and some need not serve dinner at all. An early wedding may consist of a brunch or some passed appetizers, while some couples opt for a cocktail party in lieu of a dinner party. Still, some weddings feature only desserts.


But guests attending more traditional weddings expect to dine at the receptions that follow such affairs. Buffet service and a sit-down dinner are the most popular choices for wedding meals, and each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Choosing the dinner service that works best for your wedding may involve a careful comparison of the various offerings and keeping your budget and guests’ comfort in mind.

Sit-down dinner

A sit-down dinner consists of several courses of plated food served by a waitstaff. Guests never have to leave their seats, and sit-down service is usually in line with a formal reception. Some food offerings at sit-down dinners tend to be fancy and presented in a manner that is appealing both to the eye and the palate.

There are several advantages to sit-down meals. Guests can focus entirely on enjoying themselves and conversing with fellow guests rather than getting up to seek out food, and those with mobility issues do not have to worry about maneuvering to a buffet station or trying to balance food.

Guests get top-notch treatment and will have a waitstaff on call to fill their every need, which can make an affair more memorable for all in attendance. But sit-down dinners are typically more expensive as well.


Guests are generally given several choices for the main course, and that could mean ordering extra food and preparing it to be ready for guests’ selections. Serving meals may take longer, and sometimes meals may not arrive hot to the table. Guests may be limited to certain food choices, and portion sizes may not be what guests were hoping for. Sitting idle for a while can affect the mood of the reception and lead to boredom.

Buffet service

A buffet-style dinner is served from a long dais table that holds several chafing dishes full of food. Wedding guests will rise from their seats and make their way to the buffet stations, where they’ll be able to serve themselves or be served by staff manning the stations.

Buffets present an array of foods that cater to the various dietary needs of guests. Those at the reception can sample several different foods rather than be restricted to one main course. Guests can limit portion sizes or sometimes return for second helpings. Buffets are generally less formal and allow guests to mingle more readily.

But buffet-style meals may produce long lines as guests pick and choose their meals. While experienced catering managers and reception site staff should have plans in place to create a free-flow of guests to the buffet stations, there will be a first and a last table called to eat, and guests on the tail end of the service may be stuck with whatever is left over if food is not adequately restocked.

In an effort to accommodate everyone, extra food may be cooked for buffet-style dinners, which can be costly and wasteful. In addition, guests are asked to do more work, as they need to get up and retrieve their own food.

A catering company or the banquet manager at a reception site can work with couples as they decide if a buffet or sit-down dinner is the best option for their wedding receptions. 

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