Steps for Picking A Wedding Reception Menu -

Steps for Picking A Wedding Reception Menu

Plated or Buffet

The biggest trick and often the most difficult task when it comes to wedding planning boils down to one task, cohesiveness. Ensuring your colors, decorations, dress all ties into together seamlessly and well choosing the wedding reception menu is no different. The choices of food you serve/offer should correlate to theme of the day and we are here to tell you just how to do that!

Steps for Picking A Wedding Reception Menu

Step One: Theme and Background

Theme and Background

Consider your wedding’s theme and your cultural and/or religious backgrounds when choosing what to feed your guests. You may also want to consider the food your and your significant other love. If you both love margaritas and tacos keep the reception light and fun and have a taco bar! If your theme is elegant and formal, consider offering a plated dinner with a more costly meal.

Step Two: Consider your Budget

Consider your Budget

For the most part, if you have a reasonable budget, you should be able to find a cater who can provide the type of meal and/or style you are going for on your big day. Evaluating your budget is important because while you can find a caterer food can get expensive. Even more than that when you go to meet these caterers and try their food, they likely aren’t cooking you the food from their lower price point packages. Reviewing your budget beforehand will keep you on track when you taste test filet mignon, and your budget allows for chicken! Keep in mind also that weddings often have a small interim period in which quests eat hors d’oeuvres and even small plates can stack up if you aren’t careful!

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Step Three: Plated or Buffet

Plated or Buffet

You will also need to decide on a serving style. Plated typically means that a plate of food is brought to each guest based on what they select when they RSVP. On the inverse buffet style guests either walk through a line and are served or couples may choose to have a self-service buffet. Any of these options are great and they range from the most expensive being plated and the least expensive being self-serve buffet. All of these are great options, but they impact the types of food you may be willing to serve. For example, if you are wanting to serve steak you probably wouldn’t want to have a self-serve buffet, regardless of your budget steak is expensive and you want to make sure everyone is able to eat. On the flip side self-serve buffets are awesome for large spreads of finger foods and small plates!

Step Four: Guest Count

Guest Count

This step points back towards the budget but it’s also important for to other reasons. 1.) To discuss with your caterer, and 2.) To further information serving style. As mentioned in step three you have to decide between plated and buffet style serving. While both have their pros and cons, evaluating the guest list and venue layout is important. Is there a nice and seamless way for everyone to make it through a buffet line without causing a huge congestion in the back of the room right as your set to walk in. Consider how many people will be there and the natural flow of the room.

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Step Five: Consult Caterer and Guests

Consult Caterer and Guests

Once you’ve reviewed your budget and created a price per person you are willing to spend, and you have decided on the service style it is time to consult with your vendors. Whether you consult with the wedding planner, a caterer you are considering, or whoever. Talk with someone and do some research. Once you’ve spoken to your wedding planner it’s time to find out if your guests have any dietary restrictions. If you have a few vegans and someone who is lactose intolerant you obviously want to go with the caterer who can accommodate those eating restrictions.

Step Six: Beverages


I bet you forgot about the drinks! Beverages are a part of the menu as well, and thus should be subject to the same rules and level of cohesiveness as the rest of the menu. The drinks are where most couples get the chance to play with their creativity. You can create signature cocktails or mocktails for your guests based on you and your spouse’s favorite drinks. A fun date night pre-wedding could be to go to a cocktail making class and see what new combinations you can come up with for the day. Your signature drinks are a fun touch that you and your spouse will always remember, and it is something that can ideally be recreated over and over again.

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Step Seven: Schedule A Taste Test

Schedule A Taste Test

Once you’ve made it to step seven you are ready to schedule some taste tests with your vendors. The taste test is crucial, and I would be a little wearer of anyone not willing to schedule one with you. As I have mentioned in previous posts, beyond the actual unity of two people, the food selection is the most important. You want to make sure your caterer delivers and that your guests are wow-ed, and both of these factors require a little extra scheduling and working beforehand.

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About the Author: Gabrielle Turner

Gabrielle is a 20-something year old writer based out of Atlanta, GA. She is a coffee addict, dog mom, and avid reader. In her free time she likes to snuggle up with a good book and a yummy cup of joe and disappear into someone else's storytelling.