Options for Serving Food at a Wedding

by Jenny Bryde 12. May 2014 01:02

A question came up recently in a discussion with a bride who didn't want to have the "same old" food that all weddings tend to have.  Those of us married in the group kind of chuckled and tried to console this bride to be that all weddings are unique regardless of what is served for food, but maybe for this couple, unique food is a priority.  So after a little digging and thinking, I've come up with a list of different ways you can feed your friends and family.  Depending on your style and budget, any of these options could be done.  Let's take a look!


The Buffet - A popular choice due to ease of feeding a lot of people a lot of food in a little amount of time, a buffet can be a great choice!  A pro would be that people could tailor their plates for what they'd like to eat.  A con would be that you might be paying for a ton of left over food since your servers will keep the food trays full throughout the serving time.


The Plated Dinner - A classy and simple way to have all your guests fed, a plated dinner can be a great option!  Pros - The bride and groom can tailor the experience with a special food item that everyone will receive.  Conversations can be more intimate amongst tables as they don't have to stand and wait in any line.  Cons - Plated dinners often mean limited options for guests.  The bride and groom will often opt for only one choice or a couple of choices due to logistics and budget.


Family Style Dinner - Combining the buffet and the plated dinner, a family style keeps the food right at the table for the guests to dish up themselves.  Pros - guests can decide what they'd like on their plates without having to stand in a line.  Cons - dishes of food can take up valuable table space making less room for decorations.


Appetizer Stations - A fun way to get your guests to mingle and eat, appetizer stations or butler passed appetizers can be a lot of fun!  Pros - you won't need to plan for specific table counts, in fact you may not even need tables for every single person as many people will stand and wander in this set up.  Pros - a fun atmosphere with the opportunity for guests to try a little of everything.  Cons - The dinner hour often provides the time for the bride and groom to take a breather.  During an appetizer hour, the bride and groom will be the sought after company as guests mingle and eat.


The Dessert Buffet - Who says you have to serve dinner anyway?  If your reception is in the mid afternoon or morning, a dessert reception might be just what the doctor ordered.  Pros - If you aren't serving dinner type food, you can save a bundle on your budget.  Cons - You'll have to clearly communicate to your guests that you aren't serving a meal as guests might otherwise assume they will be eating food other than dessert.



Working with your caterer, you can create any number of options.  Any of these options can be toned down or jazzed up to meet your budget and tastes, so speak up!  You don't have to do what everyone else does for food!

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Food and Drink | Jenny Bryde

Planning the Perfect Menu Takes a Little Prep-Work

by Jenny Bryde 17. November 2012 10:58

I sat down this morning to make the final adjustments to my shopping list before my husband and I did the turkey trot through the grocery store to get all our ingredients for Thanksgiving.  It was kind of like being on Survivor or Man vs. Wild.  Carts everywhere, hands snatching, people standing to gape at ingredients that they only buy once a year, and all I can really think about is do I have enough food for the people coming to my house on Thursday????  How exactly does one calculate how many bites of this or how many drinks of that each person needs to keep them content?  Food is expensive, and whether you are cooking yourself or hiring a caterer, you'll want to be aware of some general guidelines of how much to serve. 

For you as an engaged person with many social events on your horizon, these tips may come in handy when planning anything from your engagement party to your anniversary party!

On Allrecipes.com, I found the following guidelines:

The amount of food you plan for your party can change depending on the time of day, type of food, or even by the people attending (have you watched teenagers eat?). But as a general rule, consider these guidelines for individual portions:

  • Eight appetizer pieces: appetizers should consist of two to three bites
  • Three ounces of dip or salsa (about 1/3 cup per person)
  • One cup of soup (less if it’s a thick soup, like chowder)
  • Three ounces of salad (about one cup)
  • Six ounces of meat or main entrée
  • Five ounces of starch (potato, pasta, or rice)
  • One and a half pieces of dessert

Though you can easily apply these numbers to whatever size crowd you're cooking for, let's try a sample shopping list based on a guest list of 10 people. 

Chicken, beef, fish, or pork

  • Four pounds

Potato or pasta salads

  • Three pounds of potatoes
  • One pound of dry pasta

Hot dogs or sausage (main dish)

  • 20 hot dogs
  • Three pounds of sausage such as bratwurst or kielbasa


  • Shrimp: two to three pounds, pre-cooked and peeled, or three pounds if raw and unpeeled
  • Clams and mussels: two pounds

Soups and stews

  • One half gallon if served as an appetizer
  • One gallon if served as a main dish

Green salads

  • Two to three large heads of lettuce, or two pounds green salad mix
  • Three cups of dressing

Your catering director will know how to adjust for the amount of people that you expect.  If you are planning on cooking anything yourself, there are many websites and aps that can help you decide how much you need.  On Allrecipes.com, for example, you can plug in how many servings you want the recipe to reflect, and the site will automatically do the math for you! 

So whether you're planning a party for two, twenty, or two-hundred, do the math ahead of time so that you don't end up a poor sap like myself standing in the middle of the aisle at HyVee wondering if I've got enough cranberry chutney for my cheese balls.  :)


Food and Drink | Jenny Bryde

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About the Blog

Hi!  Welcome to the QCWeddings.com blog!  My name is Jenny, and I am a Quad Cities bride to be.  Our goal for this blog is to share information on all things wedding including local vendors, new trends, and amazing inspiration.  Let us know if there is something you'd like to see on here!  

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