Summer Weddings Catering Ideas

Get ready for some mouthwatering menu inspiration for your summer soiree!
by Kate Wood

So many fabulous foods are especially suited for the summer months, so it can be hard to choose the menu for your summer wedding. Just think of all those great memories of savory cookouts and sweet treats at carnivals. We've consulted some top wedding pros to get the trendiest food and drink ideas for your summer wedding.

Refreshing Drinks

Let guests slake their thirst -- and get the party started -- by offering a fabulous selection of drinks. Nonalcoholic lemonade or iced tea bars are very popular. Displaying different flavors (and colors!) of lemonade or tea in giant glass jugs along with cut fruit for garnishes makes for a lovely, decorative setup during your cocktail hour or reception.

More ideas:

When it comes to cocktails, think light and refreshing. Two new favorites: hibiscus iced tea with raspberry liqueur and citron vodka; and spiked cucumber-mint lemonade. For the latter, take vodka and simple syrup pressed with mint (similar to making a mojito), mix with lemonade, and garnish with a slice of cucumber for a fun signature cocktail.

Cool Appetizers

Icy apps can help hot guests cool down during your cocktail hour or reception. Shrimp cocktail on ice is always refreshing. While ice sculpture raw bars remain popular, if that's not your style, consider serving individual shrimp set on cups of shaved ice.

More ideas:

Anything miniature is hugely popular for weddings of all seasons. For a summer wedding, think of seasonally inspired options like shots of gazpacho served in carved-out cucumber cups or mini Caesar salads.

Sizzling Entree Selections

Summer is the season for barbecuing, so consider serving a grilled entree for instant seasonal style. Rather than going for heavier fare like steak or pulled pork, stick to the lighter side with chicken or fish. Bringing in fruity flavors will add even more seasonal flair -- think chili-lime rubbed chicken breasts or grilled tilapia topped with mango salsa.

More ideas:

Go for upscale picnic-style fare, which is both a low-maintenance and high-style way to go. One example menu we love: coconut-fried chicken served with dipping sauces, red bliss potato salad, and mandarin orange and mesclun salad with raspberry vinaigrette. The options are endless (and delicious!).

Desserts Double as Decor

Serving a dessert in addition to the wedding cake is more popular than ever and a great way to season-ize your menu. Give your dessert double impact by choosing a sweet treat that echoes the ambience of your event. Consider serving a mini-scoop trio of sorbet that mimics the colors of your wedding. With so many flavors to choose from -- melon, lime, raspberry, mango, and more -- you're sure to find something yummy that suits your style.

More ideas:

Create "dessert gardens" by having your caterer attach small pieces of cheesecake or chocolate to lollipop sticks and displaying them in a fresh bed of wheatgrass. They're as cute and chic as they are easy to eat for a late-night snack to polish off a perfect evening.

Special thanks to: Miriam Phalen, owner and event planner, Sterling Events LLC, New York, NY; Lori Stephenson, owner and senior event consultant, LOLA Event Productions, Chicago, IL

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