Everything You Need to Know About Wedding Reception Food Trucks

Those delicious-smelling food trucks that you're seeing everywhere? Yeah, those aren't just for your quick weekday lunch anymore -- they're the next big wedding catering idea. Here's what you need to know before having one of these mobile food stations pull up at your wedding.
  1. Photo by The Wiebners

    Consider the Season

    Summer seems like the obvious season for a food truck at a wedding, but think about this: A food trailer means your guests will be standing in a line outside, probably curbside (read: away from the shade and comfort of the courtyard or tent you rented). So depending on your location, a milder fall or spring day might be the best choice for a food truck. Already set a summer date? Try a food truck that serves up ice pops or slushies to keep 'em cool.

  2. Do the Math

    Food trucks are capable of feeding a lot of people quickly (that's why you'll see them at big festivals and fairs), but it will still take time for all your guests to get through the food line. Plan on at least one food truck for about every 75 guests. Any fewer and you may have a lot of hungry people waiting around!

  3. Figure Out Seating

    In terms of seating, think of food trucks as a hip, modern take on buffet service. This means you have basically two dining options: set up formal tables so guests can grab their grub and have a sit-down meal, or put utensils and napkins in a central location to encourage guests to stand and mingle while they eat. The latter setup is a better option for a more casual party, like a rehearsal dinner, so if your wedding will feel more formal, try this option for your cocktail hour or after-party.

  4. Choose the Look

    Food trucks come in lots of shapes and sizes -- from colorful retro-style trucks to the kind you'll see parked at (not-so-pretty) construction sites. So do your research and make sure the look of the food truck complements your reception decor (think: a small ice cream truck with a cute awning for a garden wedding). If you see a food truck you love on the street, don't be afraid to ask about rental information -- this will help make sure you get the exact food truck you want.

  5. Plan the Menu

    If food trucks will provide the main meal at your wedding, have a few different selections. Some popular entree options: falafel, gyros, fried chicken and stir-fry. (Here's another hint: Some popular brick-and-mortar restaurants are launching food trucks, so ask your favorite burger joints and diners if they have one in the works!) And naturally, food trailers can provide a fun take on appetizers and hors d'oeuvres in the form of dumplings, sliders or other small bites. And for a great alternative dessert option, think: food trucks that serve cupcakes, frozen yogurt, smoothies or Italian ice.

    And remember that not all food trucks are created equal. While the phrase "food truck" usually calls to mind messy street eats and summer fairs, this trend is so huge that it hath wrought a new breed of food trucks that are serving up high-end dishes with locally sourced ingredients and menus that change seasonally -- a perfect fit for a more formal affair. Wine trucks that offer tastings and bar service are also a classier take on the street fare.

  6. Photo by Adam Barnes

    Make it Late-Night

    Thinking about bringing in a midnight snack to satisfy your guests' late-night munchies? A food truck might be just the thing: waffles, hot dogs or French fries handed down from a truck will hit the spot. And don't think that having an indoor wedding means you can't have a food truck: Many companies have mini food carts that can be wheeled into an indoor venue (as a fun surprise) at the end of the night.

    Special thanks to: Beth Bennett of Stylish Happenings in Austin, Sojourner Auguste of Erganic Design in New York, Elaine DeLuca of Exquisite Events in New York City, Billie Vollmer of Be Coordinated in San Diego and Susan Carre of Vineagogo in San Diego.