51 Best Wedding Food Ideas - Zola Expert Wedding Advice

Craft your dream wedding menu with our creative food ideas. Find inspiration for delicious dishes to delight guests on your special day.

White plate with assorted bruschetta.
Photo by Zola

Are you coming up short on wedding food ideas? Your menu is one of the trickiest decisions you’ll make during the wedding planning process. Make sure to ask your venue about any limitations they may have before you decide. Some venues use in-house catering, others charge a fee to bring in outside vendors, and some have a preferred vendors list that you will need to choose from. Once you find out all the details, make a list of you and your sweetheart’s favorite dishes and take it to your caterer. They will be able to help you blend in your faves with their expertise to create a menu that is delicious and unique to your event.

To get an idea about what your guests would like to eat, send options in your wedding invitations and give your caterer an accurate count. Whether you want to include classics like chicken or beef, or serve up something unique like vegan burgers, these wedding food ideas are sure to inspire.

Wedding Buffet Ideas

One of the biggest trends in wedding receptions is the inclusion of interactive food stations during the cocktail hour or as the main course. These buffet tables can be as casual as a popcorn bar, or as intricate as a grazing station filled with fine meats and cheeses. The sky's the limit with these wedding buffet ideas. Choose the best examples that fit with your wedding theme, and use them as inspiration for your interactive food stations.

1. Brunch Bar


Whether your wedding is happening earlier in the day or you and your sweetie are big fans of brinner (breakfast for dinner), a brunch spread is sure to make your guests happy. Include savory options like biscuits and gravy alongside sweet jams and fruits so there is something for everyone.

2. Popcorn Table


Serve this classic snack with a twist during your cocktail hour or as a late-night snack. Your guests can happily munch away while mingling and your pocketbook will thank you.

3. Ice Cream Bar

You scream, I scream, we all scream for—well, you know how it goes. At the end of the night, there is no better way to treat your guests than with an ice cream station. Add a special touch with some fun toppings like hot fudge, sprinkles, or candy.

4. Waffle Table

Waffle buffets are the perfect option for weddings at any time of the day. Add a few breakfast options for early celebrations or the iconic fried chicken and waffles pairing for evening events .

5. Pizza Platter

What better way to celebrate with your amor than to serve pizza pie? This easy wedding buffet idea is a crowd favorite and a great way to cater to a variety of tastes. You can serve classics like pepperoni and cheese, or you can get creative with vegan and vegetarian options.

6. Taco Table


Taco buffets are a great way to serve crowds of any size. Make sure to combine classic favorites, like guacamole and pico to gallo, with unique additions, like mushrooms and mango, to make your spread tasty and memorable.

7. Donut Station

Donut walls and spreads have grown in popularity over the years for their fun flavors and, of course, their Insta-worthiness. This buffet idea is perfect for couples who prefer wedding cake alternatives.

8. Salad Bar

08-salad-bar Source: Cater Cow

A salad bar is a fabulous wedding buffet idea for all the veggie lovers out there. Place your basics, such as spinach and romaine, alongside toppings like rice, fruits, vegetables, and dressings.

9. Grazing Table

09-grazing-table Source: Grazing Acres

If you and your partner enjoy the finer things in life, what better way to celebrate than with charcuterie? These giant meat and cheese spreads have mesmerized wedding guests for the past few years and are sure to be a hit.

10. Bagel Buffet

This idea gives your guests the freedom to create their perfect snack. Whether they love lox or prefer peanut butter, there is sure to be something for everyone at the bagel bar.

Wedding Entree Ideas

Whether you want to serve a plated meal or buffet style food, the entree is the toughest decision. The best way to go is to choose two or three main entrees and let your guests decide for themselves. This will allow them to enjoy their favorite item and cater to any dietary preferences that your guest might have.

11. Steak and Salad

Steak and salad is the perfect option for summer weddings when you don’t want to weigh your guests down with heavy sides. , talk to your caterer about infusing some fruit in the salad or dressing for a pop of color and flavor.

12. Kebabs

Kebabs are convenient entrees If you’re hosting an outdoor wedding. These tasty skewers allow your guests to enjoy their meal on the go.Try including a vegan skewer with mushrooms in place of beef or chicken to give your guests meatless options.

13. Fried Chicken

13-fried-chicken Source: Spicepaw

Fried chicken is a staple at weddings, especially in the south. This tasty entree is sure to fill your guests and remind them of home. Fried chicken is also great if you intend to serve each table family style.

14. Shrimp


This seafood favorite can be paired with various sides to create the perfect wedding plate any time of the year. Try adding rice, pasta, or grits for a southern twist.

15. Salmon


Fish has been a wedding classic for years. Customize the glaze based on the season for a fresh and unique twist. Try a bright lemon garlic glaze in the summer or something savory like a red wine mushroom sauce for the colder months.

16. Steak


This wedding classic is perfect for treating your guests. Talk with your caterer about different options for choosing the cut. Some classic choices include tenderloin, t-bone, rib-eye, and New York strip.

17. Lobster


If you want to serve your guests the best of the best, offer a lobster option. Place the lobster atop a bed of risotto or serve with butter. Make sure to include a second choice for those who are allergic to shellfish.

18. Lasagna


This Italian classic is perfect for weddings in colder months. One of the best parts about lasagna is the easy swaps your caterer can make to offer a vegan zucchini option so everyone can take part.

19. Spaghetti Squash


These amazing veggies can turn into a gluten-free pasta dish in under an hour. Ask your caterer what they can do with these veggies. Whether you serve spaghetti or chicken parmesan, your guests are sure to be thrilled.

20. Lamb

If you would like to serve your guests a nice entree and are tired of beef and chicken, try to incorporate lamb into your feast. Whether you choose to pair it with shrimp or veggies, this unique option will impress your guests.

Wedding Finger Food Ideas

When you’re mingling at weddings, you just feel better with something to munch on. Whether you plan to serve hors d'oeuvres during cocktail hour or throughout the night, your guests will appreciate each bite. Here are a few crowd favorites that will keep your guests happy all night long.

21. Caprese Cups


If you and your partner plan to feed your guests Italian cuisine, then these Caprese cups are the perfect savory appetizer for cocktail hour. Your guests can carry their snacks in one hand while talking to friends and family.

22. Bruschetta


Consider serving bruschetta during cocktail hour for a quick and easy appetizer. The options are endless for these bite-sized snacks, so speak with your caterer about their specialties. They will help you decide on the perfect ingredients.

23. Sliders


Sliders are everything you love about hamburgers and sandwiches all in one bite. Offer a variety of meat and vegetarian options to choose from so all of your guests can enjoy these snacks.

24. Mini Tacos


Tiny tacos will be the talk of any event. They’re delicious and adorable — what more could you ask for? Serve these tacos with traditional toppings, or get creative and include dessert toppings to mix things up.

25. Veggie Roll-ups


For some lighter fare, mix in some fresh vegetable apps. Your guests will love popping these zucchini roll-ups in their mouths in between heavier options. You could also try using summer squash or cucumber for some variety.

26. Meatballs


For a simple and cheap option, talk to your caterer about including meatballs in your event. Choose among beef, pork, turkey, or falafel (or some of each), and don’t forget a tasty sauce on top.

27. French Fries

This popular appetizer gives guests a savory and filling bite that is full of flavor. Put your fries in cones for easy handling and offer unique dips like aioli, queso, or flavored mustard.

28. Spring Rolls

28-spring-rolls Source: Heidi Lau

Veggie-filled spring rolls are a great vegetarian option for cocktail hour and are mess-free so guests can grab and go without a thought. Make sure to include mini cups of sweet and sour sauce for guests who want it.

29. Flatbread


Whether you’re in love with the classic margarita flatbread, or you prefer sweet balsamic and chicken toppings, there is sure to be a slice for everyone. If you can’t choose, include a little bit of everything. The more, the merrier!

30. Grilled Cheese Bites

Between the crunchy bread and melty cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches are a classic. Pair these tiny sammies with shot glasses of tomato soup for a match made in heaven. These cheesy bites will capture the hearts (and the stomachs) of your guests.

Cheap Wedding Food Ideas

Everyone wants to serve their guests the best of the best, but sometimes steak and lobster just aren’t in the budget. Just because you can’t spend much money on your catering doesn't mean you have to settle for boring meals. Use these ideas as inspiration and work with your caterer to come up with the perfect menu.

31. Fried Chicken and Gravy

31-fried-chicken-and-gravy Source: Zona Cooks

The best part about serving southern comfort food at your wedding is that it is filling and will require less food than others meals. Fried chicken and gravy is not only cost-effective, it’s delicious. The creamy gravy and crispy chicken are a match made in heaven.

32. Brisket


BBQ is also a fantastic choice if your catering budget is limited. Whether you’re hosting a backyard wedding or ballroom bash, your guests will enjoy this menu that’s tasty and hearty.

33. Soup


Soup is the perfect way to warm up your guests if you’re planning a winter wedding. Talk to your caterer about including a meat-heavy soup like a stew, a cream-based soup like broccoli and cheddar, and a brothy option like chicken noodle.

34. Tacos


Tacos are a crowd favorite and cost-effective. The perfect combination! Set up your taco station with unique ingredients like mushrooms or mango to make it unforgettable.

35. Spaghetti


If you and your honey love to celebrate with pasta, serve your guests spaghetti or alfredo. These options are filling, delicious, and are made of cost-effective ingredients. Serve your dish with a side of garlic bread for the final touch.

36. Burgers


In 2020, many large weddings have pivoted to intimate backyard celebrations. With the change in size came different menu options. If you’re itching for the backyard wedding of your dreams, lean into the theme with burgers. Don’t be afraid to get creative with toppings.

37. Vegan Burgers


If your friends and family would rather swap veggies for meat, vegan burgers can be even more cost-effective than beef burgers. Try portobello mushrooms in place of a beef patty or costly, plant-based meat.

38. Fajitas


Similarly to tacos, fajitas are a great option for couples on a budget. The ingredients are affordable and filling, and guests can customize their meals to fit their diet. Make sure to include a mix of meats, vegetables, and other toppings to keep it interesting.

39. Chili


Whether you’re on team beans or team no beans in your chili, everyone loves to love this hearty meal. Serve chili with baked potatoes, bratwurst, or over rice for a low-cost and yummy meal.

40. Fish and Chips

If your heart is set on serving fish at your nuptials, consider offering fish and chips. It’s substantially cheaper than serving salmon or cod, and with a French fries and some lemon, you can serve your guests a plate of comfort food.

Wedding Dessert Ideas

Traditional wedding desserts consist of wedding cakes or cupcakes. While these classics are still a staple in many weddings, couples are starting to use the dessert table to showcase their favorite sweets instead. Whether you and your honey want to keep it classy or think outside of the box, these wedding dessert ideas will be the talk of the event.

41. Wedding Cake


Wedding cakes are just as tasty as they are beautiful, and they’re a wedding staple for a reason. If you and your partner want to serve wedding cake, choose flavors and icings that compliment your theme. Pre-cut the cake for easy serving.

42. Cookies

Cookies are a great choice for wedding desserts because you can customize them to fit your big day perfectly. Add edible flowers for a romantic theme or use your alma mater logo to excite the super fans.

43. Cupcakes


Regular or mini cupcakes are another popular dessert idea. These desserts give your guests all the flavor of a traditional wedding cake in a portable package. Cupcakes also allow you to choose multiple flavor options if you can’t pick your favorite.

44. Popsicles


Popsicles are an ideal dessert for hot summer weddings to help your guests cool down. Try experimenting with unique flavors and ingredients like the edible flowers and liquor in these boozy pops!

45. Hand Pies


Many couples choose to celebrate with pie instead of cake, but serving guests the flaky dessert can get messy. Hand pies solve that problem by containing all of the fruity goodness in a neat package.

46. Mini Pies

46-mini-pies Source: AllSpice

If you would rather keep the classic pie shape instead, you can serve mini versions to your guests. These adorable pies are just as tasty as they are cute.

47. Pot de Crémes

These sweets are a favorite for a reason. They have all the flavor that you love in pudding and custard, packed in small pots for convenient and adorable service. Try garnishing with flowers or fruits to add a special

48. Mini Cheesecakes

Bite-sized cheesecakes give your guests the perfect amount of dessert with a beautiful presentation. Ask your caterer about tailoring these for your wedding season by opting for seasonal fruits.

49. Macarons


These tasty, French treats make your wedding day feel extra fancy. Arrange your macarons in an appealing way to make them look just as wonderful as they taste.

50. Strawberry Shortcake


Strawberry shortcake is an enjoyable summertime sweet during the hot months. The combination of shortcake, cream, and berries is the stuff of dreams. Serve these desserts in personal cups for a beautiful display and easy grabbing.

51. Candy


If baked goods aren’t your jam, set up a candy bar for dessert. Include your and your sweetheart’s favorite options and lay out some bags for your guests to fill. All of the kids (and the kids at heart) will be thrilled with this unique set up.

Deciding on the perfect fare for your big day can be stressful. Make the process as easy as possible and discuss your ideas with your caterer to come up with a good list of options. Once you get your wedding invitation responses back, you’ll be able to give your caterer a final headcount and they’ll help you prepare an amazing menu for your big day.

Find Your Wedding Style at Zola

Find even more wedding ideas, inspo, tips, and tricks

We’ve got wedding planning advice on everything from save the dates to wedding cakes.