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LIVE! #327 – Stylish Wedding Reception Food Ideas

One of your many roles as a professional wedding planner is helping your clients to create a wedding that reflects their personality and hopefully doesn’t look like all the other weddings they’ve attended.

Being creative with wedding reception food is one way to stand out.  Believe it or not, there are alternatives dinner and the never-ending buffet line!  Listen in to learn more.


Think Beyond Dinner!

  • Time of wedding determines the meal (just as it determines attire)
    • If it’s dinner time (5pm to 8pm)…be prepared to serve dinner!
    • If it’s not dinner or a full meal, say so!
      • “Please join is for a cocktail reception”
      • “Please join us for Cake & Champagne”
      • “Cocktail and Appetizer reception to follow”
      • “Heavy Hors d’oeuvres”

Breakfast Wedding Reception

Set the trend in your area and design a morning wedding reception (assuming the ceremony happens in the morning, of course).  Breakfast allows your hosts to serve an elaborate meal for so much less.

Breakfast wedding reception menu items might include:

  • Specialty sausages
  • Custom-made omelets
  • Mimosa, Bloody Marys
  • Fresh fruit

Lunch Wedding Reception

This is great for 12noon to 2pm wedding and like breakfast, your clients get a substantial amount of cuisine for much less.

If the weather’s cooperating, lunch is perfect for an outdoor wedding reception.

 Afternoon Tea Wedding Reception

Held between 2pm and 5pm, an afternoon tea wedding reception is ideal for an avant garde couple.  This set-up works great for a large guest and small budget.  Also, a tea-themed reception is traditionally a quick affair; perfect if the time-slot for the reception venue is limited.

Menu item suggestions for an afternoon tea reception include:

  • Finger sandwiches
  • Scones with cream
  • Wedding cake
  • Variety of cakes, specialty breads
  • Assortment of tea
  • Champagne

Keep in mind…

  • 🙁 This is not (really) a complete meal.

Dessert-Only Wedding Reception

A dessert-only wedding reception is a wonderful way to celebrate a late night wedding ceremony.  It also makes for a great add-on to an earlier wedding reception.

Really go to to town with the design and dessert table set-up (check out Amy Atlas’ dessert table book below).

Menu item suggestions, include:

  • An assortment of rich desserts
  • Small individual items present much better
  • Chocolate fountain
  • Espresso bar

Keep in mind…

  • 🙁 This is not a complete meal!
  • 🙁 A rack load of sweets won’t work for diabetics

Food for Thought

  • Assign seats—except for cocktail or dessert-only reception –  where guests are going to mingle.
  • Family-style meals create bonding
  • Local food, regional, farm-fresh are great for the Earth
    • Great way to show-off local cuisine
  • What about Food Trucks?
    • Do you need permits, though?
    • Great way to end the night…or during
  • Cocktail reception? Make everything bite-sized
    • For example, cupcakes
  • Style it and decorate the reception as you would for any other wedding!


Sweet Designs by Amy Atlas‘Sweet Designs: Bake it, Craft it, Style it‘ by Amy Atlas.  Dessert tables are soooo popular.  This is a great how-to and cute one-of-a-kind dessert table design book by a former attorney-turned dessert stylist.  What a fabulous niche!

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