The food you serve at your wedding reception will set the tone for your entire event. Think about it—a tray of light sandwiches encourage people to walk around and chat, making your reception seem more like a lighthearted gathering than a formal party. Along those same lines, a four-course meal makes a statement and one that takes advantage of local, seasonal produce indicates that you care about sustainability and want to impress your guests.

In the final analysis, food makes the reception. So, what does this mean for your upcoming event? The answer depends on what kind of reception you plan on holding.

Traditional Wedding Reception Menus

For the majority of Utah wedding parties, the reception isn’t intended to be a heavy, burdensome affair with people confined to their tables. Instead, you want your loved ones to feel free to chat and dance and take photos, enjoying both a delicious food and the opportunity to catch up with one another. That’s why most wedding reception menus today are composed mostly of light snacks served in a buffet style setup. Not only does this encourage people to get out of their seats and mingle, but an array of food choices means that everyone can find something they enjoy, works for their particular diet—and eat as much (or as little) of it as they choose.

Although you can hold a more formal meal or even skip straight to desserts, a traditional hors d’oeuvres reception menu works for almost all our brides and grooms. Start with the hors d’oeuvres buffet and end with a light desserts. Easy, satisfying, and delicious, this sets the tone for an unforgettable experience for everyone on the guest list.

Wedding Luncheon Menus

Of course, seasons change, which means your wedding luncheon menu should, too. That’s why you should always start your meal planning with an idea of when and where your luncheon will be held. As a general rule of thumb, chicken entrees are more popular in the warm months, while roast beef and turkey fare better in the cooler months. You should also remember that heavy meals are more appreciated in the fall and winter, with lighter repasts during the spring and summer.

Seasonal adjustments work for the reception menu as well. Especially in the Utah wedding market. Here is what our experience has shown us:

Spring—Fruits, sandwiches, light hors d’oeuvres, light desserts

Summer—Ice cream sundaes, crepes, light hors d’oeuvres, fruit trays

Fall—Soup buffets, waffle buffets, pie buffets, crepes

Winter—Heavier hors d’oeuvres (i.e., meatballs, shrimp, sandwiches, etc.), soup buffets, cinnamon rolls, hot chocolate, hot fudge sundaes

You’ll notice that these suggestions combine both sweet and savory options—another consideration when you’re planning a reception menu. Although you’ll most likely be serving cake toward the end of the reception, it’s a good idea to offer something dessert-like throughout the event. Your guests will appreciate the variety of foods being offered, and it will make your entire reception that much sweeter!