Wedding Catering Options Explained

May 16, 2023 | kailey

Image by May Iosotaluno. Keep reading on for wedding catering options

Location, decor, catering–there are many big decisions that go into bringing your dream wedding to life. For all the foodie couples, we’ve got you covered. From plated meals to food trucks, get ready to feast on endless wedding day catering options. We’re taking the stress out of planning by explaining all the info you need to know about wedding catering in one place. 

Junebug Tip

Before choosing your caterer, you’ll need to have your venue booked and understand any limitations that they’ll have on the vendors you’ll be able to hire. If you’re unsure about how to find the perfect venue for your wedding, check out our venue guide. Then, come back and read through all of the options available to feed yourselves and your wedding guests.

How Much Does Wedding Catering Cost?

Before you figure out your catering, you may have a couple of questions–most importantly, how much it’s going to cost you. Of course, we can’t give you a straight answer because every wedding is different. However, According to The Knot, the average price in 2022 was $75 per person. However, you’ll find that it ranges from about $70-$80 depending on how many guests are attending.

Wedding Food Ideas

Once you’ve selected your venue, consider the type of meal you’d like to entertain your guests with. Keep these in mind on your catering journey to ensure that there’s no confusion between you, your wedding dream team, and your guests.

Plated Meals

If you’re looking for a formal, served meal, this option is for you. Plated meals typically include three courses: appetizer, entree, and dessert. Though this adds an intimate nature to your wedding, keep in mind this type of meal comes with extra planning and preparation—from formulating a seating chart to collecting guest’s food choices and dietary restrictions (typically from their RSVP). Then, you’ll need to communicate these to your caterer. 

Passed Appetizers

Couples wanting a more relaxed reception—without sacrificing plentiful and delicious foods—should opt for a passed appetizer option. Typically passed appetizers are combined with the cocktail hour and include bite-sized snacks that are served by catering staff. 

Images by Lindsay Hackney Photography. See more of this real wedding here.

Hors D’oeuvres 

From charcuterie tables—also known as grazing tables—to sliders, hor d’oeuvres have become a popular wedding food option. This is a perfect meal selection for couples looking to combine food presentation and taste to enhance their reception. Usually set in a buffet style, guests can come and go as they please and have the choice of endless food options. This is sure to add a relaxed vibe to any wedding day without having to sacrifice mouth-watering foods. 

Cake and Punch

A fun and budget-friendly catering option is a “cake and punch” reception. Instead of serving your guests a full sit-down meal, you jump right to wedding cake and drinks—we’re all for skipping straight to dessert. This is a perfect option for late-night weddings or short and sweet celebrations. 

Image by  La Vie Studios. See more of this real wedding here

Wedding Catering Options

You’ve selected the meal style fit for your wedding vibe and theme, now it’s time to determine execution. There are catering styles fit for every couple and every wedding size. Whether you want a hands-on catering experience or to assemble a team of industry professionals to take the reins, you’re sure to find a catering style here that is perfect for you. 

Venues With In-House Catering 

If you’re searching for ways to simplify your wedding planning process, some venues offer in-house catering. This style of catering means the venue takes full reign of the catering duties from setup to tear down and everything in between. No extra time needed to coordinate between the caterer and the venue—it’s already done for you. Of course, you’ll still be able to work with the in-house catering team on the menu.

DIY Catering

With weddings getting smaller, more couples are opting to DIY major elements of their weddings—like decor and food. Maybe you love cooking and want to prep the meal yourselves, or maybe you just want to save a little money. Whatever the reasoning may be, do-it-yourself catering is always an option. By going with a DIY approach you’re able to directly control the flavor and outcome without having to sacrifice quality. 

Hire a Caterer 

Hiring a top-notch caterer is one of the easiest ways to reduce your stress. A professional caterer will take care of the procurement, planning, cooking, and cleanup. The caterer will also impact your reception experience by limiting your wedding day work. This way, you can be present and soak up all of the memories. Consider reaching out to your favorite restaurant as a fun way to show off local dining to your guests. 

Image by May Iosotaluno. See more of this real wedding here.

Food Trucks

If you’re dreaming of a relaxed reception vibe with a variety of food options, food trucks are an ideal catering option. This can also be an easy way to appease many different dietary restrictions and preferences. Whether you’ve got vegans or gluten-free guests, there are trucks for everyone. This style of catering also adds fun to any styled reception, not to mention the endless food options that are offered on wheels nowadays. 

If you love the idea of having a buffet dinner but still want to bring in one of your favorite food trucks, have it come in as a late-night snack. Your guests will appreciate the extra bite to eat when they’ve got a couple of drinks in them.

Cocktail Party Reception 

A cocktail party reception means skipping the meal and instead indulging in a variety of hors d’oeuvres and drinks. Cocktail party food opens the door to creativity. This can mean an oversized charcuterie table or passed appetizers. This reception food option is perfect for couples looking to customize every part of their reception—from the food options to the decor—and for couples that want their reception bar to be the main event. 

Images by Epic Love Story. See more of this real wedding here.

There is no better way to kick off your marriage than with a reception that is authentically you. From the wedding catering options to the reception drinks, every element should be a reflection of you, your partner, and your union. Now that you’ve figured out food, it’s time to think about drinks. Elevate your party with these reception bar ideas that are the epitome of picture-worthy.

Image by Halley Vernon

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  1. I like how you mentioned hiring a caterer to avoid stress. My sister is getting married and still needs a caterer. We’ll find one with food she likes.

  2. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful tips for hiring a marriage catering service, Your suggestions are too good and definitely helpful. Keep sharing this type of an informative blog.

  3. Kailey, you wrote a fantastic post! In my opinion, three factors distinguish an excellent caterer from others: service, cuisine, and presentation. It is critical to clarify everything in detail with your caterer so that he can properly plan things. A good caterer must be adaptable and pay attention to every detail and be able to handle the stress of unforeseen situations with ease.

  4. I really liked what you said about a caterer helping to alleviate some stress on your wedding day. My fiance and I are trying to decide what kind of food we want at our wedding reception. We both think it would be really fun to hire a caterer to take care of it though.

  5. The food was amazing! Everyone who attended couldn’t say enough about the quality and freshness of the food. From the Hors d’oeuvres to the family style dinner! 100% recommend!

  6. Great breakdown of wedding ceremony catering options! The range of selections is impressive, making it less difficult for couples to locate the ideal suit for their one-of-a-kind day.

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