Planning a summer wedding is the top choice for many couples, and we understand why: Summertime brings longer, brighter days, stunning color palettes, and an abundance of floral choices. This warm and sunny time of year also means access to plenty of delicious seasonal produce.
If you’re planning a summer wedding, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind while curating the food selections for your menu. To help create the most memorable summer wedding menu, we asked wedding experts for their favorite ideas for this bountiful season. Below, find key tips to keep in mind, ideal seasonal ingredients to incorporate, and ideas for everything from hors d'oeuvres to cocktails and desserts.
Creating a Summer Wedding Menu
Summer brings access to all sorts of fresh produce, and that’s definitely the star of the show for most summer wedding menus. “Summertime is made to highlight vegetables and fruits,” says Lynn Easton, founder of Easton Events. “Ask your catering chef what will be in the peak of the season during your wedding month and lean into those delicacies for a more ‘farm-to-table’ approach.”
In selecting the perfect menu, Alexandria Hammond, co-founder of GetPlated Catering, says to keep the menu light, refreshing, and fun. “Make sure that menu items are cohesive and include some pops of color,” she says. “Couples might also want to see if it’s possible to incorporate items that are related to their colors or theme into their food or beverages.”
Meet the Expert
- Lynn Easton is the founder of Easton Events, a full-service wedding and event design company in Charleston, South Carolina and Charlottesville, Virginia.
- Alexandria Hammond is the co-founder of GetPlated Catering, a husband and wife catering team based in Washington, D.C.
For a summer wedding, Easton says ingredients that are bright and acidic are sure to please. Hammond adds that including seasonal ingredients such as watermelon, mango, pineapple, berries, peaches, tomatoes, corn, and basil are all great highlights. After all, you want to offer something to your guests that will still be enjoyable while it’s hot outside.
Summer Wedding Menu Ideas
Cocktails With Fresh Fruit
Bring all of those in-season fresh fruits to the bar! Hammond suggests cocktails such as Watermelon Mojitos, Rum Punch, Pineapple Jalapeño Margaritas, and Berry Brambles.
“We love Summer-Thyme Lemonade—a refreshing mix of gin, thyme simple syrup, and freshly squeezed lemon,” says Easton. “Remove the gin for a mouth-watering mocktail!”
Gazpacho is a cold soup typically made with a tomato base, making it wonderfully refreshing for summer. Serve it in tall shot glasses for a beautiful presentation.
Seasonal Vegetable Kabobs
Feature seasonal vegetables on an easy-to-eat kebab. This could include zucchini, yellow squash, red peppers, and red onion for a colorful bite.
Honey Tomato Bruschetta
Make heirloom tomatoes the star of the show with bruschetta! Complement their flavor with honey, or incorporate balsamic glaze and basil.
Compressed Watermelon with Whipped Feta
Use watermelon as the base for a light, fresh appetizer, with a creamy dollop of feta. Basil makes the perfect garnish to finish it off.
Kimchi and Skirt Steak Tacos
What to serve tacos? Get creative to keep them light instead of heavy. “Another favorite is kimchi and skirt steak tacos nestled in a lime boat—so festive,” says Easton. “Keep your canapes light and one bite!”
Hammond says crab cakes are a must-have for a summer wedding menu. Consider mini versions as an appetizer or a larger version with the entrée course.
Roasted Chicken With Herbed Tabbouleh
Easton says this is a great fresh, light entrée for summer. “Roasted chicken with a gorgeous herbed tabbouleh with lots of fresh herbs makes the dish fresh and easy to eat while it is hot outside,” she says.
You can’t go wrong with pizzas! Cooking pizzas in a wood-fired oven allows for a thinner crust, without sacrificing flavor. You can easily choose a menu of lighter pizza options, such as a veggie pizza with a pesto base or a pizza with ricotta, chicken, and grilled peaches.
Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Cake
Easton says a Meyer lemon olive oil cake is a summer highlight at Pippin Hill Farm in Virginia. “The Meyer lemons are hand-picked right off the trees, zested, and juiced to create the most amazing fresh flavored cake.”
Cheesecake with Fresh Berries
Play with light, fresh, creamy textures by serving cheesecake. Serve up slices or small individual cheesecakes. Either way, both options are wonderfully complemented with fresh seasonal berries.