When it comes to serving food at your wedding reception, there are lots of decisions that need to be made. 

But, lucky for you, we have created a guide with all the things you need to consider.

First, you will have to decide whether you want to make the food yourself, hire someone or if your venue already includes a caterer. 

With the reception taking up an average of 45% of the wedding budget,  make sure you’re not overextending it when it comes to serving food at your wedding reception.

While you may be able to save some bucks by DIY-ing it, consider the added amount of work you, your friends and family will have. 

Hiring a caterer will definitely take that stress off of you! 

So once you’ve chosen where your food will come from. You’ll have to figure out how to get it to your guests.

How to serve the food? 

There are various options when it comes to serving food at your wedding reception. 

All of them have their pros and cons and range in formality. 

Plated dinner

plated dinner serving food at your wedding reception

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This is the most formal option for serving food at your wedding. 

Let your guests sit back and enjoy being waited on. 

You can either request their meal choices with their RSVPs or let them choose at the reception like they would in a restaurant. 

For some added pizzazz, you could even have the plates covered by cloches and lifted at the same time once all the guests at a table have their food. 

While this will definitely up the ante when it comes to formality, it is also the most rigid option when it comes to serving food at your wedding reception. 

Guests will be seated at their tables and will likely stay there instead of freely mingling. 

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, just something to keep in mind when designing your reception.


buffet joey and chandler

Besides plated dinners there are not really any other formal dinner styles for your wedding reception. 

A buffet is the next option. While it’s a lot more casual, it also offers a lot more flexibility. 

Your guests will move freely about your wedding reception as they grab their food. 

Plus, they will not have to decide weeks in advance what they would like to eat at your wedding reception. 

Instead, they can check out the options and choose what they’d like to try right then and there. 

If you want to keep it on the formal side, have someone serve the food from behind the buffet rather than having your guests ladle on the food themselves. 

Especially if you have a selection of roast meats or a pasta station, this can be a good option! 

Family style

dogs eating dinner

One of the downsides of the buffet is that your guests will have to wait in line for their turn. 

And when they finally get to the food, the option they wanted is gone. 

Hungry guests are NOT happy guests….

A way to avoid this is serving food at your wedding reception “family style”. 

What that means is that each table will have big bowls and plates of food for your guests to enjoy similar to how you would serve a large dinner at home.

Your guests won’t have to wait in line and while they will not be up and about throughout your wedding reception, it is a lot more communal to pass around the food.

Food Trucks

food truck serving food at your wedding reception

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Using food trucks for serving food at your wedding reception is one of the funnest options you have! 

Choose one or two food trucks you love and pre-pay so that your guests can walk right up and order. 

This is definitely a hip and casual way to serve food at your wedding reception! 

Your guests can mingle first, eat later, or grab their dinner ASAP depending on what they’d like to do first. 

From grilled cheeses to lobster rolls, Asian to Mexican, the food options are endless!

Snacks Only

donut bar serving food at wedding reception

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Maybe your wedding reception is not around dinner time and spending loads of money for food for your guests is not your style. 

How about offering snacks only? 

It will certainly save you money and still create a fun wedding reception atmosphere. 

You can go with a donut wall or an ice cream bar or maybe even a little handheld taco station.

How much do you want to accommodate your guests? 

Once you’ve decided how you want to be serving food at your wedding reception, you have to consider how many options you want your guests to have. 

Maybe you’re eating a gluten-free, vegan diet, but your guests are not. Or maybe it’s the other way around. 

Either way, you need to consider if your guests will need any special accommodations. 

Of course you can choose to serve food that you and your fiance will enjoy with no regard for what your guests may want. 

But while we agree this is your special day, your guests are what makes it special, so it’s worth thinking about what would make their experience great. 

Another thing to consider if you included kids in your wedding is whether or not you want to serve kid-friendly food at your dinner reception. 

Menu Ideas For Serving Food At Your Wedding Reception


For an upscale dinner reception, you can serve all things luxurious: 


Tbh, for a girl who lives on ice cream and chicken, it’s hard to write about vegan food options, but these do sound delicious: 


Step it up from the too-often seen pasta primavera and go with one of these vegetarian options for serving food at your wedding reception: 


If you’re into comfort food, how about this for a Southern dinner: 


Taco ‘bout a party with these fiesta feasts: 


There’s something about italian food that not only appeals to most people but also has a fancy edge to it: 

Food Trucks

It’s hard to pick just one or two options when it comes to food trucks, but some that will be a hit with most of your guests include: 

Snacks Only

Snacks on snacks on snacks: 

Now you know all the options when it comes to serving food at your wedding reception! 

Share with us in the comments below what you plan to serve at your wedding.

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