Top Wedding Menu Ideas In 2024 And Tips On Saving Money

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Wedding planning isn’t all stress; there are fun parts here and there and planning a wedding menu can be one of them. Deciding the theme of your menu, aligning it with the season of year and catering to a whole guest list of different age ranges and palates can be exciting. After finding out if your wedding venue has any catering limitations and deciding how to work with that, you can begin to plan the menu.


Whether you’re having a buffet, luncheon or BBQ or sit-down dinner, there are many food options that you can choose from. We’ve put together a list of wedding menu ideas that would be appealing to guests of all types for dishes from light starters, all the way to yummy desserts.

Brides often Ask

What is the Typical Menu for a Wedding?

Typical wedding menus in the US list such delicacies as the classic fried or grilled chicken, to shrimp cocktails, deviled eggs, green garden salads, roasted rib and creamy potatoes.

What is the Most Popular Meal at a Wedding?

The most popular meals at weddings are beef, chicken and fish. These are common crowd pleasers that stay hot longer and pair well with the most common sauces.

What is the Cheapest Food to Serve at a Wedding?

The classic potatoes and chicken with vegetable dish is one of the most affordable meal options for a wedding. Apart from its price friendliness, it is also an easy dish to put together.


Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Menu Ideas

Soups are a great idea for a starter if you’re looking for wedding rehearsal dinner menu ideas. Hot soups such as stews can warm guests up if you’re having a fall or winter wedding. Cold soups with a cream base would be great for summer weddings.
Grilled chicken or salmon are a great choice to follow the starter. These could easily be the best wedding menu ideas as guests who don’t particularly enjoy salmon can opt for the chicken, and vice versa. If you have a seafood loving crowd, you could even setup a seafood station with grilled prawns, mini lobster rolls, crabs and the like with a variety of sauces.


Wedding Catering Menu Ideas

Having your wedding catered doesn’t mean you’ll have to outsource the menu as well. Coming up with wedding dinner menu ideas will personalize your wedding food just as other aspects of the wedding.

For something unique, you could begin by impressing your guests with unexpected starters such as tuna tartare cones or cute mini sliders. Following that, you could present the traditional spaghetti marinara with a twist of heavy sauce doused in onions and mushrooms. If you’d prefer an alternative to the classic chicken or beef, then you could pair the main dish with braised lamb combined with garden vegetables, topped off with a sprinkle of herbs.


Wedding Lunch Menu Ideas

Luncheons provide inspiration for a ton of wedding food menu ideas. A popular and easy to prepare starter for a wedding lunch is the bruschetta. These lighthearted snacks can be served with a variety of toppings to keep guests engaged until the next course.

If your wedding lunch is being served buffet style, then a great wedding buffet menu idea would be a salad bar. With all of the base vegetable ingredients arranged, guests can pick as they like while they socialize, and choose from a variety of dressings. Bright fruit cups can also add dashes of color to the salad bar and provide an option to guests who would much prefer fruits over veggies.


Wedding Dinner Menu Ideas

Creating wedding dinners around a single ingredient makes things easier. One of many helpful wedding reception menu ideas is to begin by deciding what the main food item for your dishes would be. This could be anything from beef, to oysters, lamb or chicken. Once this is decided, you can go on to curate the meats alongside dishes of roasted peppers, glazed veggies and sides of garlic bread.

Potatoes are also a classic that can be paired with almost any choice of meat. Creamy mashed potatoes can accompany well marinated lamb, briskets, or grilled chicken with gravy. Either of these dishes well prepared and presented, will be a hit with wedding guests.

Wedding BBQ Menu Ideas

Outdoor and laidback wedding BBQs are the perfect setup for fast and easy foods. Top on the list of crowd-pleasing wedding BBQ menu ideas is tacos. Setting up a taco station is a great way to get a party started, no matter the amount of guests. Choose classic toppings such as beef, fish, fried eggs, pico de gallo, guacamole and salsa that would appeal to more people.

Apart from the traditional ribs and chicken, another great menu idea for a BBQ wedding reception is an oyster bar. Perfect for an outdoor summer celebration, the oysters can be grilled in the half shell and enjoyed with a mix of fun toppings.


Wedding Menu Ideas Buffet

Buffets are a fun and easy way to serve a roomful of people without having to wait on them individually. Wedding menu ideas for buffets can range from savory to sweet, as well as cold to hot. A fruit salad bar can help with the starters and appetizers. Diced and sliced seasonal fruits can be arranged in a way that allows guests to customize their own salads.

Bite sized meals such as fish and beef tacos are also a great idea for delectable foods that can be easily balanced on a plate while mingling. Vegetable spring rolls and other such pastries can add to the variety.

Family Style Wedding Menu Ideas

At a family-style wedding, guests are served a variety of dishes that are placed on large platters and shared among everyone seated at their table. This creates a cozy, intimate atmosphere and encourages guests to interact and socialize while enjoying the food. The menu typically includes appetizers, main courses, sides, and desserts with a variety of flavors and cuisines to cater to different tastes. This type of menu is ideal for weddings with a relaxed, casual vibe or a smaller guest list. Ultimately, a family-style wedding menu is a great way to foster a sense of togetherness and make guests feel like they are part of a larger family celebration.


Cheap Wedding Buffet Menu Ideas

If you don’t have a lot to spend curating catering menu ideas for a wedding, there are simpler and more affordable meals that guests would still enjoy. A pizza platter for example is a crowd-pleasing option that would be a hit at almost any type of wedding. Slices with a variety of toppings from chicken to fish, veggies and even pineapple can cater to various preferences.

A dessert station of donuts and cookies is also an affordable choice that would add color to the wedding reception. If you are looking for DIY wedding buffet menu ideas, this would be one for the books.

Simple Wedding Menu Ideas

Using simple wedding menu ideas can help relieve some of the stresses that come with wedding planning. Waffles are an excellent choice for a breakfast event or cocktail hour. They can even be enjoyed at any time of day. They can also be paired with traditional food items such as the classic fried chicken, which is a wedding staple.

Mini hamburgers and sliders are also simple and easy to make options that guests are sure to love. Divide them into vegetarian and meat options, and you would have covered the majority of guests and whatever dietary preferences they might have.


Diy Wedding Buffet Menu Ideas

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  • Salad Bar: A DIY salad bar can be set up with a variety of veggies, fruits, nuts, dressings and meats such as diced chicken or pork. Guests can customize their own salads according to their tastes.
  • Charcuterie Board: Sometimes also called a grazing table, a charcuterie board can have cheeses, meats, nuts, fruits and crackers, beautifully arranged for the guests.
  • Pasta Bar: A pasta bar is a great wedding lunch menu idea that would involve having a variety of pastas and toppings. Guests can choose a bolognaise of fettuccine and more.
  • Taco Bar: Another great DIY option, all you need is the taco shells and a variety of fillings, from guacamole to beans, meats, salsa or rice.
  • BBQ: A laid back BBQ can serve grilled fish, chicken, beef or even oysters with sides of potato salad or coleslaw.
  • Brunch: For a brunch you can have simple and cheap wedding buffet menu ideas, such as sausages, scrambled eggs, bacon, sandwiches and fruit.
  • Asian-Inspired: For something unique you could serve Asian dishes of garlic-scented rice with steamed veggies or fried rice with stir fry, sushi or kimchee.
  • Seafood: Seafood platters can add a twist to your wedding menu. Shrimp cocktails, mini lobsters, prawns and crab legs can be a hit especially in the summer.
  • Mediterranean: Mediterranean options such as kebabs, lavash, hummus, tzatziki and pita breads with grilled veggies are great for outdoor celebrations.
  • Dessert Bar: Complete your DIY wedding menu with a dessert bar. You can have a variety of well-arranged desserts from cookies to cupcakes, Swiss pastries, profiteroles, souffle’s and more.

Ways To Save Money On Food And Drink At A Wedding

  • BYOB – Bring your own drinks. Choosing a venue that allows you to bring your own food and drinks allows you save on costs since you would purchase them yourselves instead of through a vendor.
  • Choose a lunch or brunch. These options tend to be cheaper than a dinner which usually has more expensive, formal and complex menus.
  • No open bar. Create your drinks budget and stick to it with a limited bar. This is more affordable than an open bar that can incur unexpected costs.
  • Buffet or BBQ. These options as opposed to plated dinners are more affordable since guests wouldn’t have to be waited on individually. Buffets and BBQs also often have more informal and inexpensive wedding catering menu ideas.
  • Choose seasonal foods. Seasonal foods and ingredients acquired locally will always be more affordable, easier to access and even fresher than imported or out of season foods.
  • Dessert Bar. The traditional wedding cake can cost quite a penny. Choosing to have a dessert bar instead is a less expensive option that could even be more delightful for the guests.
  • Get a food cart or food truck. If you’re open to alternative and unconventional options, then you could hire a food truck instead of a caterer. This would be a less expensive and more fun option for your guests.
  • Go without alcohol. Choosing to serve non-alcoholic cocktails and sodas is another way to keep your expenses down. Juices, virgin cocktails, lemonade and sparkling water are all acceptable options.
  • Always negotiate. No matter the vendor you might be using for food or drinks, you don’t have to go with their initial prices. Make sure you bargain to a price you’re comfortable with or ask for discounts on certain items and services.

A lot of factors must align to create the perfect wedding, and the wedding menu happens to be an important part of the planning process. With these wedding menu ideas, you can find inspiration to create everything from light starters and appetizers to 3 course wedding menus. Delicious dishes for winter, summer or spring weddings that would delight every type of guest.