Wintertime conjures up associations of snowy landscapes, crisp air, and time spent bundled up in the cold or keeping warm indoors.
Winter seasonal flavors hold the same spirit of the season, while also providing the comfort and warmth that make them so appealing. It’s no wonder then that some couples gravitate toward winter comfort foods when wedding planning. Whether you’re crafting a wedding menu for a winter wedding, or simply trying to draw inspiration from the winter season, here are Zola’s top winter-inspired wedding menu ideas.
Nothing says winter seasonal flavors quite like soup, not to mention it’s a practical option for a wedding taking place during the colder months of the year. One crowd-pleaser is a classic grilled cheese and tomato soup starter. It’s a winter wedding food that can transport guests back to simpler childhood times.
If tomato soup isn’t your thing, smaller soup tasters are a good way to present your guests with multiple flavor profiles. For example, consider an appetizer trio of french onion soup, butternut squash soup, and pumpkin soup for the perfect medley of autumn and winter flavors. Italian wedding soup, lentil soup, or potato leek soup are other viable options for menu ideas. If you want to mix it up a bit, you could even add a beef stew to the mix. Just remember to keep the soup options seasonally appropriate and tailor selections to a variety of different diets (for example vegetarian, gluten-free, or vegan).
When in doubt, insert cheese into your wedding menu whenever possible. Whether that means a side dish of baked mac and cheese, or appetizers of cheese tarts, thin-crust goat cheese pizza wedges, quiches, or a baked soft cheese like camembert served with toasted baguette, guests are bound to love it.
If you want to make the dining experience at your wedding reception even more memorable and interactive, cheese fondue is a great solution. After all, cheese is the ultimate comfort food. Not to mention, it pairs well with a wide variety of sweet and savory flavors, from bread to fruit.
When crafting your winter-inspired offerings, don’t neglect the drinks. Whether alcoholic or non-alcoholic, signature winter drinks can elevate your entire menu. A hot chocolate stand with all the fixings (peppermint sticks, whipped cream, cinnamon sticks, candy toppings, and marshmallows) is an obvious choice. Hot spiced apple cider, peppermint or chai tea, and eggnog are other perfect alternatives.
You and your SO can get truly creative when it comes to signature winter cocktails. Mulled wine, white Russians, Irish coffee, and hot toddies perfectly fit the occasion. Also consider twists on classics, like a wintertime sangria or mistletoe mules.
You can craft cocktails of all kinds that suit a winter wedding, as long as you keep classic winter flavors like cinnamon, cranberry, chocolate, pomegranate, orange, apple, peppermint, and caramel in mind. Make sure to pull out all the stops on clever cocktail names and themed drink garnishes, like pine springs, pomegranate seeds, or cinnamon sticks for an extra wow factor.
Winter-inspired wedding menus need classic side dishes to marry all of the different flavors on each plate together. Vegetables and potatoes, in particular, are highly versatile and can be seasoned and crafted into a plethora of side dish options.
Potatoes alone can be done in hundreds of ways. Some examples include classic mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, potato puree, or roasted potatoes. Consider pairing potato sides with chives or bacon to elevate them. Root vegetables are equally adaptable ingredients. A simple roasted wild carrot medley goes a long way. Additionally, potatoes and vegetables pair well with both meat and fish or can serve as the stars of a fully vegetarian or vegan meal.
It’s difficult to choose just one perfect dessert for a winter wedding menu. For winter-inspired dishes, you can opt for richer and heavier flavors than you would during the summertime. Since dessert falls at the end of your wedding menu, it makes a huge impact.
A dessert buffet is a good way to give your guests options. We recommend providing selections like creme brulee, gingersnap cookies, gingerbread bundt cake, apple or pumpkin pie, mini chocolate lava cakes, and berry tarts. A sugar or gingerbread cookie decorating station is an engaging activity idea for your wedding attendees.
When brainstorming your wedding menu, first think about what you and your SO like to eat on a cold winter day. From there, make sure to incorporate all of your favorite comfort foods into the menu and take into account your guests’ preferences and dietary restrictions as well. Creating a mood board for inspiration and a list of potential dishes is a good place to start. These resources can function as a jumping-off point for your wedding caterers to conceptualize and execute the winter wedding menu of your dreams.