15 Creative Menu Ideas

There's so much more to wedding food than chicken and potatoes. From bubble bars to soup shooters, spice up your reception with one of these unique ideas.
by The Knot
  1. Popsicle Cocktails

    photo by Eric Kelley Photography

    There’s nothing more refreshing on a hot day than an ice cold popsicles. Now imagine the gourmet version, with flavors like lavender and orange crème. Sound delicious? Ask your caterer to try an adults-only version for the cocktail hour with your favorite liqueur for a frozen signature drink.

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  2. Make-Your-Own Food Bars

    photo by Sweetwater Portraits by Julie Melton

    For a more casual affair, let your guests be the chef. Guacamole is always a crowd pleaser. Give guests the option to customize their guac with extras like avocado, cucumber and lime will be a hit.

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  3. Classy Carnival Food

    photo by Phillip Ficks

    We’re talking cotton candy, cracker jacks, funnel cakes and anything else you might find at the carnival – all dressed up on the display end. Complete the carnival theme with a popcorn bar for a late night snack and a fresh hot funnel cake cart.

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  4. Coffee Desserts

    photo by Aruna B. Photography

    Keep your guests caffeinated and out on the dance floor with coffee-infused desserts. Order espresso-spiked brownies or even Starbucks-inspired coffee dessert drinks like Frappuccinos piled high with homemade whipped cream. Include a few decaf options too, like chocolate milk shake shots or even flavored frothed milk.

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  5. Donut Bars

    photo by Divine Order Photography

    Guess what? You can still have a "cake cutting" even if you're slicing through a stack of donuts. Serve up retro classics like cream and jelly filled varieties, plus new treats we've seen, like white chocolate and almond or coconut and mango donuts.

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  6. Chef Stations

    photo by Michael and Anna Costa Photography

    Instead of the expected passed hors d'oeuvres, ask your caterer about a more hands-on option. A few fun ideas: have a raw bar with a chef shucking oysters, rolling sushi, or even grilling fresh ingredients in front of everyone. Think of it as your other-other bar!

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  7. Dressed-Up Comfort Food

    photo by Justin & Mary Photography

    Comfort food has been popular at weddings for years, but now it’s all about the presentation. Try French fries wrapped in monogrammed paper or mini BLTs served under glass!

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  8. A Childhood Favorite

    photo by Bee Photographie

    Bring back a favorite from your youth and it’s a guaranteed hit. No one will expect individual sized cookies and a shot of milk, and the surprise makes it all the tastier. Whether it’s banana split sundaes or syrupy slushies, a reminder of your favorite childhood sweets while you’re celebrating with those who know you both best makes everything even more delicious.

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  9. Cheese Wheel Cakes

    photo by Patrick Moyer Wedding Photography & Films

    Ok, so maybe a cake made from wheels of cheese aren't going to replace traditional wedding cake, but they're perfect for a pre-reception wine and cheese hour. Imagine each layer is a different cheese flavor like creamy goat cheese, smoky gouda, or sharp cheddar with a garnish of herbs. This idea is perfect for every palette, and your guests definitely will have never seen anything like it before.

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  10. "Mad Men"-Inspired Bar

    photo by Our Labor Of Love

    Go for that vintage 1960s vibe when it comes to your specialty bar. Feature several types of whiskeys and bourbons along with a variety of cocktail suggestions. And don't forget to spice things up -- offer a classic Manhattan, but also newer pairings, like a drink made from rye whiskey, Barolo Chinato and bitters.

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  11. Soup Shooters

    photo by Julia Newman Photography

    We're not talking about the shots you might have done in college -- these nonalcoholic drinkable shooters are served during the cocktail hour as hors d'oeuvres. Think: cold gazpacho soup, tomato and basil puree, or even stacks of chopped veggies -- all garnished with fresh herbs.

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  12. DIY Dessert Stations

    photo by Roohi Photography

    Give your guests the chance to customize their own desserts. Set up a s'mores station near an outside fire pit, or, for a more formal wedding, have a waiter serve ice cream and offer a variety of toppings for guests to choose from.

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  13. Bubble Bars

    photo by Anne Marie Photography

    Kick up your open bar by adding a small specialty side bar like a bubble bar featuring only sparkling wines and mixers like peach and strawberry juice. You could even add a soda bar with a variety of flavored syrups so guests can make their own coffee-vanilla-flavored Coke. (And brides take note: These bars can also make a great surprise gift for your groom!)

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  14. Take-Home Cake Boxes

    photo by Genevieve Leiper Photography

    This take-home treat is for the serious foodie. Work with your caterer and offer guests a slice of the wedding cake -- or even the groom's cake -- that they can take home. It's an especially great idea for out-of-towners who may want a midnight snack in their hotel room.

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  15. Cereal Bar

    photo by Jen Kroll Photography

    Fuel your dance party with a cereal bar. Pick your favorites (Captain Crunch, Lucky Charms, Life – the options are almost endless) and then put them on display in pretty glass jars. Skip the oversized cereal bowls thought and do smaller bowls or or even bags for guests to grab and get back to the dance floor.

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    Special thanks to: Sheri Jacobs of Chez Gourmet Catering, Colorful Palate, Katie Sprenkle of Eco Caters, Yvening Event Planning & Catering, LLC Jennifer of Affordable Catering, and Joey Campanaro of Little Owl Catering.

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