If there’s one thing that can make or break a wedding for a guest, it’s the food. When guests travel far and wide to dedicate a day—or weekend—to your celebration of love, a crowd-pleasing menu is a surefire way to make their time enjoyable.
These days, creating a mouthwatering menu is more than just listing two or three options for guests to check off on their RSVP card. As more and more wedding food trends evolve, such as the decline of the sit-down dinner, the rise of the brunch wedding reception, and the increase of couples looking to personalize their catering, many weddings are bringing a unique and memorable dining experience to the mix.
Our favorite way to do this? Food bars. Whether at the cocktail hour or during the reception, we love the customization and choices that a hearty food station presents, not to mention the interactive experience it evokes, enabling guests to mix and mingle even more.
And the options are endless. For a brunch wedding, you can’t go wrong with a bacon bar or waffle bar (with a choice of toppings of course). For Southern nuptials, we love an old-fashioned biscuit bar with flavored jams or a pie station. Cheese and charcuterie stations, as well as a raw bar, have a timeless and universal appeal, while popcorn bars, ice cream stations, and hot cocoa bars bring a whimsical touch.
These ideas don’t need to be confined to creative appetizers and/or the main course—use them in lieu of the cake for a nontraditional feel. Can anyone say donut bar or cupcake station? We’re all about the sweets.
No matter which foods you want to highlight, the trick to nailing a delicious food bar is providing different flavors or varieties of what’s on display. Take a look at the ideas ahead for inspiration.
A cheese station is a must-have for cocktail hour. Designate each cheese type with a hexagonal marble tile, like this layout does, and pair it with cider to wash the cheese down.
A Cupcake Table
Wedding cakes are so yesterday—a cupcake table is a decadent way to up your sweets game.
An oyster bar is the perfect touch to a luxe and elegant wedding, especially one with coastal charm.
We can’t think of a better complement to a farm-style wedding than a vibrant veggie bar stocked with everything from broccoli to carrots to beets for healthy snack munchies.
This pretzel bar is made complete with the choice between the classic twist pretzel and pretzel bites, accompanied by decadent dips to dunk them into.
A macaron bar is très chic, especially with the pastel delectables framed by a bed of greenery.
Bacon makes everything better, especially when you have options of chocolate covered bacon, honey jalapeño bacon, and alder smoked bacon.
Hot Chocolate Bar
A hot chocolate bar complete with warm, cozy treats brings a bit of hygge inspiration to a winter wedding.
A croissant station puts a fun twist on a bread station, a perfect addition to any cocktail hour.
From decadent raspberry to mouthwatering blueberry, we can’t get enough of this pie station ripe with Southern goodness.
A charcuterie bar brimming with meats, cheeses, and fruits evokes all the Mediterranean vibes.
For a whimsical touch, a popcorn bar featuring different flavors does the trick. Place them in barrels on an old wagon cart for a rustic, autumnal feel.
Give the classic salad bar a spin with various iterations, from a roasted veggie salad to a harvest inspired mix.
Donut bars continue to stay on top of the trend map. Glazed, sugar, powdered, ring shaped donuts, donut holes, Long Johns—we’ll eat them all. And we especially love this vertical presentation.
A retro-themed spud bar featuring potato wedges, baked potatoes, fries, and tater tots.
A campfire favorite, s’mores are a classic choice for an outdoor wedding. Deck out the station with all the goods—marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate—so guests can make their own.
A rustic pizza station with pies served on a picnic table decorated with mason jar candles and potted plants. Bellisima!
Biscuits are the ultimate comfort food. Load them into a wooden crate to emphasize their southern vibe, and don’t forget a tray of jams so guests can lather the biscuits up with sweetness.
Ice Cream Station
It’s guaranteed all your guests will thank you for an ice cream station. Perfect for a summer night wedding, it’s a delicious way to beat the heat. Incorporate fun flavors outside the typical vanilla and chocolate, such as dulce de leche, for a quirky touch.
Cheese and Prosciutto Station
An eclectic cheese and prosciutto station with assorted fruit displayed against a wall of wild succulents.
This foodie-centric brunch wedding featured an epic sweets bar including these adorable cremeux cups with hazelnut crunch.
You can’t go wrong with a diverse sweets station—stock it with cookies, bars, cupcakes, and the like. There’s no better signage for this display than a framed print that says, “Sweet Love.”
Milk & Cookie Bar
A milk and cookie bar channels your inner child for a whimsical feel.
Take a cue from Spain and bring the tapas out to play, with a diverse selection of miniature fine dining treats.
A Cajun-themed menu featuring a tiered stand lined with glasses of seafood salad topped with blackened shrimp.