A Guide to Planning Your Wedding Reception Meal

Start here to plan your perfect wedding menu to please your palates and wow your guests

Are you a traditional couple who wants a classic buffet filled with crowd pleasing favourites? Maybe you’re looking to create a more intimate vibe with a family style dinner where your guests can serve each other and themselves.  Perhaps you’re a fun-loving bride, who wants contemporary canapes and cocktails or you are a couple who wants to wow your guests with fun and flashy food stations. The type of food you serve sets the tone for the wedding and we’ve developed this handy guide to help you decide what type of service is right for you (spoiler alert: all options are delicious).

Buffet Dinner

This tried and true option is a mainstay in wedding dining for a reason:  Variety!  Buffets offer your guests the opportunity to try as much or a little of the different dishes that you’ve selected to serve. This style is great for accommodating a variety of dietary restrictions and palates and allows guests to sample as they like. The downside to this style is that guests have to wait for the table to be called up, meaning that everyone waits and eats at different times (this also causes dinner service to go on a bit longer, meaning guests will have to wait to hit the dance floor).

Family Style

With family style dining, servers bring large portions of dishes to each table and guests serve each other and themselves. This is our personal favourite way of serving because it’s just like having a family dinner, it’s warm, interactive and it really brings people together. The other plus is that dinner service is efficient, as food is delivered to each table at roughly the same time and guests may eat as soon as they have served themselves. The challenge with family style is getting all the platters to fit on each dining table (it’s like the most delicious game of Tetris), but with some planning we can ensure that we have the right service ware to make this go smoothly.

Canapes

A trend we’ve noticed is couples opting to have a cocktail party instead of a formal sit down dinner. Guests enjoy a variety of 1-2 bite canapes (a selection of hot and cold), that are passed by servers as well as a selection of platters (think: Local cheese, charcuterie and antipasto) that guests can serve themselves. This creates a fun and casual atmosphere—oh and did we mention that this option helps keep food costs down? Some guests might not be as familiar with this style of service (in which case wording on your wedding invitation will have to be very clear—ex. Please join us for a cocktail reception after the wedding ceremony). You’ll also have to consider some different seating options, to ensure that guests are still able to comfortably eat, drink and enjoy the wedding festivities.

Food Stations

Imagine walking into a room where several chefs have set up little islands of food: fresh pasta being tossed in a pan with savory tomato sauce, a variety of local oysters being shucked and topped with house made mignonette, tostadas being filled with slow cooked meat with all the toppings you can imagine, (plus whatever else you can dream up).  This style is great for couples who want that wow factor–it gets people talking and creates an exciting buzz around the room. Since stations are spread out, guests are served fairly quickly. To successfully do this you’ll have to have a venue with lots of room so that there is adequate space for each station, but once the room is set up properly, culinary magic can happen.

There are no wrong answers when it comes to picking the type of food service for your wedding, ultimately it has to be the type of food you enjoy that you want to share with your guests. Also, don’t feel limited to these options, there are lots of “off the menu” ideas that we are happy to make come to life: like a whole roasted pig for a couple’s medieval themed wedding or a fried chicken and biscuits dinner for a bride who wants some Southern Charm for her big day. Whatever you choose, we’re excited to put a menu together as unique as you are.