What is the best way to serve food at a wedding?

posted 2 years ago in Food
Post # 2
7866 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

jesstheglambert :  what time is the wedding? We did hours d’oeurves but if it is at a meal,time (like ours was) you need a TON. Plan on replacing the volume of a plated dinner with a variety of small bites and then a little more if you go that route.

Post # 3
6294 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2014

jesstheglambert : my philosophy is it’s far better to havge too much food than too little; nothing worse than guests going home early because they’re hungry, or remembering your wedding as the wedding where everyone starved.. I did go to one wedding where they didn’t serve any canapes or nibbles with cocktail hour, and didn’t serve dinner until 6pm (the ceremony was at 1pm so people were getting hangry, and drunk). Then in the evening they only had bacon rolls and fries, and again people were getting hungry. I mostly remember being hungry the whole day, and getting drunk way too quickly filling my stomach with alcohol instead.

At ours we had:

Selection of 5 canapes post ceremony/pre meal (served between 1.45-3.30pm)

3 course meal served from 4-6pm

Evening buffet and wedding cake served from 8pm (food was replenished up until 11.30pm, most guests left around 1am): 4 flavours of wedding cake, selection of 4 different open baguettes, jacket potato station with toppings of cheese, sour cream, and chilli con carne, lamb kfta kebabs and chicken tikka skewers, steak and red onion marmalade ciabatta rolls, croque monsieur, and plaice goujons with tartare sauce, and 2 different types of quiche.

All the canapes were eaten, most peole ate most of their meal, and only a small amount of food (like 10 kebabs) was left in the evening even though we massively overcatered.

Post # 4
5538 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: July 2018

Can you pay for your own catering? It almost sounds like they don’t want want to pay for more food.

I don’t agree that “people don’t eat at weddings” in my experience weddings are long days, people are drinking, dancing and hungry. 

It’s one thing when couples prefer their meal to be served in the style of heavy h’orderves, but assuming people won’t eat much makes me think they are planning to only have small amounts of food available.  Side note, vegetables and chips definitely don’t pass for “heavy h’orderves”.


Post # 5
1632 posts
Bumble bee

I’ve only ever described one wedding I’ve attended as “awful” — and everyone else I know who attended it also describe it as the one awful wedding they attended — and its key feature that made it awful was starving its guests. 

The bride’s friend had volunteered to be her day of coordinator and her friend was pretty bad at it, and for reasons we don’t understand we didn’t get served dinner till nearly 8:30, and most of us had an early lunch due to travel time to the ceremony. People got real hangry. In addition the food was some of the worst I’ve ever had. People ended up bailing early (including us) before the cake was even cut. 

Don’t starve your guests–if you aren’t going to feed them at a reasonable hour, at least warn them so they can plan around it. We were in the middle of nowhere, but had that wedding been more urban we would have gone to a McDonald’s or something and then come back. 

Post # 6
4036 posts
Honey bee

For the  norm in our region (northeast US), there is a substantial amount of cocktail hour food (passed hors d’oeuvres, stations, buffet), followed by 4 plated courses, and some type of late evening food. I.e. my daughter had a dessert bar and their cake was served there. 

I mentioned the phrase “our region,” because my family flew ($$$) to two weddings, in other regions of the U.S., and hosting (food) standards there were not the same. Both had much less cocktail hour food (one had 3 passed hors d’oeuvres, and my family was only offered one of them), and a 6 item buffet (4 hot items, roll and salad), followed by a slice of cake.  

Post # 7
866 posts
Busy bee

I had catering issues as well, just not that many caterers where we got married.  Food is very important for us culturally, if someone comes to visit you, you feed them.

We had a self catered “nibbles” buffet (no meat) during cocktail hour and a dessert table set up all night.  Then a catered buffet for supper.  The ladies left us the buffet leftovers and our Day of coordinator put them out with some hors d’oeuvres a friend had made for a late night snack. It is way better to have too much food than too little.

We had alot of leftovers, which worked out pretty well since many family members showed up at my parents the next morning.

Post # 8
6571 posts
Bee Keeper

“People dont eat at weddings” sounds like the start of a very very bad rabbit hole. 

Yes people eat at weddings. Unless your wedding is at a non-meal time, you need to have enough food for people. I might ask your parents to use their contribution elsewhere because they are trying to cheap out on your guests. Proper catering doesnt have to be expensive, but it does need to be enough food! 

Post # 9
2527 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

People definitely eat at weddings. Unless your wedding is at an off time (early morning, late afternoon) and is only going for a couple hours (think cake and punch style) then I could see heavy apps being fine. 

Otherwise, you need to serve a meal. ESPECIALLY if you’re serving alcohol. 

PS: fruits, veggies and “chips and salsa” are not heavy appetizers. When I think of heavy apps I think of meatballs, etc. 

Post # 10
9809 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

People eat at weddings.

You could MAYBE get away with this if your wedding and reception was like 2pm to 5pm or something.

Post # 11
146 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: March 2018

If your reception is during the afternoon, I think their idea of chips and salsa might be ok. But if your reception is during dinner time I would except to eat a full meal.

Post # 12
942 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

jesstheglambert :  I would do the buffet style keep it open for an hour or two , i eat so much at weddings i normally go to weddings with an empty stomach! lol 

Post # 13
352 posts
Helper bee

Enough food is KEY to a good wedding- right up there with being able to get drinks and good music! I really enjoy when there is either passed or a buffet of appetizers and a meal or buffet with enough food. Heavy  hors d’oeuvres only work if you have a LOT of food for people and its easily accessible .

Post # 14
6642 posts
Bee Keeper

People absolutely eat at weddings. If you are going to host any event over a meal time you have to serve a meal. Heavy hors d’oeuvres sufficient to replace a meal can be more expensive than a traditional buffet or sit down dinner.  If you are planning a mid-afternoon wedding that ends before dinner time you may be able to get away with less food as long as your guests haven’t traveled far or dealt with a gap between ceremony and reception (or basically anything that would have prevented them from eating lunch).

If you are serving alcohol just imagine a room full of people drinking on an empty stomach. Scary. 

Post # 15
1145 posts
Bumble bee

Serving lots of food is a must! I recently went to a wedding that ran out of food and people left early because they were hungry. The best wedding I attended foodwise had a cocktail hour plus appetizers after the ceremony while the wedding party took pictures. This kept everyone in line and ensured people didn’t get too drunk. Then when the bride and groom were announced they served actual dinner. The food was amazing and everyone stayed for like 6 hours. We closed the venue down! 

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