Exotic Summer Wedding Food Ideas

wedding summer food ideas eating bride
Photo by

elisabettalillyred via Instagram

Summer wedding food can be hard to plan especially if you’re on a budget. However, it is important to choose meals suitable for the season and your guests’ palates. Seasonal foods are easy to source while keeping the guests comfortable and engaged.

It all begins with knowing the catering requirements for your wedding venue. Once you have that nailed, you can begin to plan the wedding reception menus. If you hit a fix here, then we’ve got you covered. Whether buffet, entrees, or finger foods. We’ll how to revamp even the simplest of foods into something exotic and have the best wedding reception menu ideas for summer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What time should a summer wedding start?

The proper time for a summer wedding to start is 6:00 pm. There is less heat at this time of the day. Guests will enjoy the ceremony, cocktail hour, and see the sunset especially if you’re outdoors. It will also cost you less getting body cooling items to mitigate the heat.

Is it tacky to have a buffet at your wedding reception?

No, it’s not. Wedding buffet has been a long-standing tradition that will not go out of style. It is a great way for guests to enjoy different dietary preferences without a hitch. A buffet will also save you from hiring extra servers who may have charged by the hour.

What time should dinner be served at a wedding?

The appropriate time to serve dinner at a wedding is between 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. After this, the guests can enjoy a cocktail hour. Serving at that time is perfect so that it will be all-inclusive. Many guests may refuse to eat after 7 pm, and your food goes to waste.

What should you not serve at a wedding?

You want your guests to have fun, celebrate, and focus on you instead of struggling with food. So, don’t serve anything raw, experimental dishes which you’ve never tried, or mini sizes of everything as the main menu. Also, stay away from eight-course meals unless you want guests sleeping at the table.


Summer Wedding Food Menu Ideas

The first wedding step when it comes to food ideas for summer is to get creative with the presentation. The following methods will bring ease to guests and celebrants.



Make Interactive Stations

Photo by:

Via Unsplash

Mealtime is about the only period guests have to themselves at weddings. Make the experience worthwhile for them by creating interactive food bars. They can fill their bellies while mingling and playing catch up. There are no limitations to interactive food stations, depending on your theme. You can’t go wrong with some pretzels, macaroons, pie, and jams for a trés chic interactive station. A whimsical setting will incorporate ice creams, hot cocoa, popcorn, and all things veggie. Going traditional? Then waffles, cheese, and bacon is a hit. If you’ve got a connoisseur present, then serve the guests some seafood.



Organize Grazing Tables

Photo by:

Via Unsplash

Normal grazing tables are often huge charcuterie boards comprising olives, nuts, fruits, cheese, bread, dips, etc. But you can personalize this idea by creating your own flavor. Incorporate salads, crackers, cupcakes, candies, vegetables, snacks, and even chocolate bars if you please. The idea is to have an assortment of colors, textures, and flavors that will keep the guests coming back. A grazing table at weddings is ideal in keeping guest’s choices in one place. It also makes for interaction while cutting down the need for servers. Use colorful and beautifully shaped bowls, lights, and shelves to create a stunning view.



Keep It Fresh and Light

Photo by:

Via Unsplash

It’s a hot season already, so keep it fresh by welcoming your guests will cool drinks. This could range from iced teas to lemonade, berry juices, or melons. Better still, you could offer herb-infused water like mints, citruses, cucumber, ginger, or cinnamon to keep them healthy and energized.

For food, go light with seasonal foods like combining grilled chicken and salmon with roasted pepper and or lemon. This is perfect for a sit-down dinner. A simpler meal will favor some flatbread with lemon, prosciutto, and greens. Other seasonal foods to incorporate are basil, tomatoes, and mozzarella among others.

Wedding Buffet Ideas

The creativity is endless for summer wedding buffet menu ideas. Depending on your budget and theme, explore these options.

  • Popcorn Table
    Set up a popcorn table for a casual or industrial chic wedding. It’s a very traditional snack perfect for a post-meal snack or cocktail hour. Pair this with signature drinks or juices for maximum enjoyment. You also get to save lots of money because popcorns are everyone’s favorite, yet inexpensive.
  • Ice Cream Bar
    An ice cream bar is perfect for a whimsical or princess-themed wedding. There’s no better way to help your guest cool off the heat than ice cream. Make available assortments like strawberry, vanilla, chocolate, and other flavors. Include generous toppings like caramel drips, hot fudge, Oreos, chocolate bars, etc.
  • Waffle Table
    Waffles are cheap wedding food ideas for summer. They’re light and versatile, as they can go with fried or grilled chicken, bacon, or cheese. Pair with raspberry or watermelon iced juice for perfection. Guests can still stay active after this meal.
  • Donut Station
    Donut towers and walls will never go out of style. It’s a perfect alternative to wedding cakes for minimalists. Get creative with donuts by cooking up flavored and colorful toppings. Chocolate drips, hot fudge, buttercream, honey, whipped cream, and more are great ways to spice up your donuts.
  • Bagel Buffet
    A bagel buffet is a beach wedding hit. Let your guests create their choice foods with your presented assortment. From assorted cream cheese to fresh fruit salads, prosciutto, Genoa salami, kiwi, etc. There’s always something to suit everyone. Pair with a champagne cocktail and it’s a hit.

Wedding Entree Ideas

Your starter or main meal has to make an impression. Get a connoisseur or caterer to help and try out these summer menu ideas for weddings.

  • Kebabs
    For backyard weddings, serve chicken, beef, or turkey kebabs. For vegans, try flavored carrots, eggplant or mushrooms to keep them included.
  • Salmon
    If you enjoy salmon, get your caterer to glaze with tasty seasoning and grill. Enjoy veggies, salad, and wine.
  • Lasagna
    All the way traditionally Italian, this is a versatile meal perfect for intimate weddings. Knock-back this food with some bubbly champagne.
  • Spaghetti Squash
    This is a healthy wedding meal. Spaghetti with a veggie assortment on the side and some meaty protein to boot for coastal weddings.
  • Fried Chicken
    For rustic weddings, choose family dining style and serve tasty fried chicken. Pepper fry or season and deep fry.


Finger Food Ideas

Perfect before the main meal or as night snacks, guests can keep busy. See awesome finger food ideas to try.

  • Bruschetta
    Bruschetta is the ultimate appetizer at casual weddings. It’s neat, easy to eat, and quite tasty. A favorite among guests.
  • Sliders
    Sliders are crowd-pleasers at restaurants, terraces, and generally outdoor weddings. From bite-sized sandwiches to hamburgers, enjoy the goodness.
  • Flatbread
    Flatbread is the ultimate finger food for traditional weddings. Tortilla, naan, focaccia, or pitta–fill with your favorite meat or veggie.
  • Grilled Cheese Bites
    Farm weddings never got better than hot bread on gooey cheese. Pair with green tea, tomato soup, or a beer!
  • Mini Tacos
    Spicy and hot, classic mini tacos are great for traditional destination weddings. Pair with your favorite dessert, toppings, or tequila.

Vegetarian and Vegan Food Ideas

For a summer wedding, offer a delightful array of vegetarian and vegan dishes that celebrate the vibrant flavors of the season. Delight your guests with refreshing options like Mediterranean falafel wraps with crisp vegetables and tangy tzatziki sauce. Embrace the exotic flavors of Thai cuisine with a fragrant green curry featuring crispy tofu, vibrant veggies, and aromatic coconut milk. Or transport taste buds to India with a hearty chickpea masala served alongside fluffy basmati rice and warm naan bread. Grilled vegetable skewers, quinoa salads with seasonal fruits, and roasted portobello mushroom caps stuffed with flavorful fillings make for satisfying and visually appealing options.

Creative Beverage Ideas

Complement your summer wedding fare with creative and refreshing beverage options that evoke a tropical oasis. Offer signature cocktails infused with exotic fruits like passionfruit, guava, or lychee. For non-alcoholic options, delight guests with fruit-infused mocktails such as a pineapple-mint spritzer or a vibrant hibiscus lemonade. Incorporate specialty teas and coffees from around the world, like Thai iced tea or Vietnamese coffee, to add a touch of global flair. Don’t forget to provide traditional summer drinks like agua frescas or horchata to transport guests to sun-drenched destinations. Garnish with fresh herbs, edible flowers, or fruit slices for an Instagram-worthy presentation.

Tips to Reduce Wedding Food & Drink Costs

Photo by:

Via Unsplash

Looking for ways to cut costs and nail cheap summer wedding food ideas? See some actionable hacks below.

  • Ask for a Kids’ Discount
    One way to save costs on food and drink is to ask your caterer for a kid discount. Serving the kids adult-sized plates will lead to waste. So caterers often agree to create kid-sized plates for half the amount. Other times, they make a separate meal at a lower cost.
  • Hold a Daytime Wedding
    Daytime weddings are cheaper because people eat and drink less at lunch. Also, you don’t need a band at that time of the day. The best part is that you can save huge on venues. For instance, Lucky Dragon, Lake Stevens, WA will charge $20 per head for a 5 to a 6-course meal in the daytime.
  • Use Disposable Serveware
    Ditch the chinaware and fine flatware for eco-friendly and compostable serveware. Try out naturally fallen palm leaves made into fine plates with their unique scents. We also recommend wooden spoons bringing with them a rustic vibe. They’re cheap and enthralling.
  • Trim Your Guest List
    Your venue, food, and drink costs are directly proportional to your guest list. If you want to save cost on all of these things, trim the guest list. Get together with your partner, load up your guest lists and do the shedding. Cut it down to your nearest and dearest, people who you can’t do without.
  • Avoid Costly Add-Ons
    Save money by avoiding unnecessary add-ons. Keep your wedding decor simple and go greenery. You can switch gigantic centerpieces for flower vases or wooden flower beds. Ditch the dainty escort cards or menus. Replace with notice boards. Make normal-sized cakes and augment with boxed slices for the excited guests.

The options for summer wedding food ideas are limitless. So get inspired with our fix if you’re stuck somewhere with planning your summer wedding menu. Whether you’ve got a large or small budget, there’s something to suit you and your guests.