Serving in style

Dishing Out Unique Reception Foods

By Randi Jo Gause

Between planning the wedding reception location, decor and music, you’ve got a lot on your plate. But when the “I do’s” are said and done, the reception is all about the food. From fun and whimsical food displays to creative beverage concoctions, weddings are serving it up in style. We’ve asked local caterers to give us the scoop on unique trends in wedding reception ideas.

Grandma’s Secret Recipe

You love restaurant food, but let’s face it — nobody makes lasagna like your grandmother can. And with every member of the family tree present at the wedding, it better be on the menu. Not a problem. Most caterers are more than willing to take requests for specific recipes, which can be incorporated into your buffet.

Back to Your Roots

Blend the best of your heritage into the reception by tailoring your cuisine to your ethnicity. Create a buffet consisting entirely of Italian, Chinese or Hawaiian items. Aladdin’s, for example, serves a vast menu of Mediterranean foods, so you can pay tribute to your Greek heritage with falafel, gyros and shish kebobs. Or try blending you and your sweetie’s backgrounds for the best of both worlds.

Taste of Everything

Megan McDiffett, from Marx Bros. Cafe Catering, suggests serving food in separate areas. “We have provided food in stations such as a seafood/sushi station, then a carving station with meats, a veggie station with fresh fruits and vegetables, and a dessert station.”

Not only will the variety of foods cater to your vegan cousin and your father-in-law who’s allergic to shellfish, but it also eliminates the typical waiting line that results from a one-table buffet. Stations also provide the additional benefit of encouraging guests to mingle with each other, rather than remaining glued to their seats.

Different Drinks

For a modern twist on your favorite beverages, try adding some color. Bartenders can tailor beverage tints and flavors to enhance any wedding theme. For a wedding with a blue and brown color palette, the Marx Bros. Cafe created a drink mixed with blue Hypnotiq liquor and champagne. Beverages can be virtually any color.

LEFT: An artsy twist to everyday hors d’oeuvres. RIGHT: For “something blue,” think blue cocktails. Like these mixed with hypnotique.
Color Coded

You picked out just the right shade of crimson for the reception tablecloths, centerpieces of red roses and red candles strategically placed around the room. Why not apply the same detail-oriented decisions to your reception menu? Try sticking to one or two hues that reflect your wedding theme, and find tasty recipes to match your particular color palette. The Marx Bros. Cafe catered a wedding with a color scheme of green and orange, which led to a menu of grilled asparagus and spinach salad, along with salmon and roasted orange peppers.

Kid’s Menu

Though petite, children at weddings can come with a big appetite. And while your exotic sushi buffet may be a hit with the adults, children may not be so keen on eating anything they can’t pronounce. Consider a separate table for children that includes kid-friendly items such as corn dogs, hamburgers or grilled cheese sandwiches. Also include lollipops, M&M’s and various treats matching the color theme of the wedding.

Sweet Tooth

When it comes to wedding foods, the dessert buffet takes the cake. Satisfy your sweet tooth without overloading by creating a mini dessert buffet. Include bite-size desserts, such as chocolate-covered strawberries, spoons of creme brulee, cheesecake squares and cookies.

Woman’s (Second) Best Friend

It’s only natural that a woman have her two best friends at her wedding: a diamond ring, and, you guessed it, chocolate.

“You simply can’t go wrong with chocolate!” exclaims Teresa Groeneweg from An Appetizing Affair. The company provides milk chocolate, white chocolate and caramel-flavored fountains for guests to indulge in, and the fountains can even be tinted to match your wedding theme. Groeneweg recalls one wedding with a pink theme, for which they converted the white chocolate fountain to the perfect cotton candy shade. Each fountain can be paired with a variety of dipping goodies, such as cake squares and strawberries.

Just for You

Why not send your guests home with a memorable — and edible — gift? Hershey’s Kisses, M&M’s, fortune cookies and many other treats can be customized with specific phrases. Include you and your sweetie’s names, along with the wedding date, for a gift guests will love.

Whatever you choose to serve at your soiree, be sure to reflect your own personal style, with consideration to your guests. Unique touches will make your reception offerings a feast for the eyes, as well as the mouth.