Over the years, food at weddings has gotten a bad reputation. Most guests assume they’ll get to choose between the standard chicken, fish, or steak served with steamed veggies. But there are lots of different food options that go beyond the typical sit down or buffet meal! Customized food bars are an unexpected way to wow your guests and encourage them to mix and mingle.
As a wedding planner, I’ve seen more couples choose not to have a seated dinner. They’re opting to have a brunch wedding or a cocktail style reception instead. What I love about food bars is that it gives couples the opportunity to create a unique and memorable dining experience for their guests. With a food bar, guests can experiment with flavors, try new dishes, or indulge in some of their favorite childhood foods.
Wedding Food Bar Ideas
The options are endless when it comes to food bars and you can use them to serve everything from snacks to full meals. A fondue station or a grazing table is an easy way to spice up your cocktail hour. A hot chocolate bar or a pie bar is a fun alternative to the traditional wedding cake for dessert. From breakfast to comfort food and sweet treats, here are 15 fun food bar ideas that are sure to wow your guests!
1. Fast Food Inspired Bar
A fast food inspired food bar is great for a more kid-friendly wedding or as a late night snack. Pair mini burgers or corn dogs with french fries, sweet potato fries or even tater tots! Let guests flavor their food in new ways by having different sauces and seasonings for them to use.
2. Grazing Table
Take the classic meat and cheese display up a notch by turning it into a grazing table. A grazing table is an enormous charcuterie spread of meats, cheese, nuts, olives, bread, crackers, dips, fruits, and even veggies.
Give your grazing table a touch of fall flavor, by adding in apples, figs, and pomegranates. Incorporate seasonal roasted veggies like squash, zucchini, and tomatoes. The best part is that grazing tables aren’t just for savory foods and cocktail hour. They work for dessert too! Create a dessert grazing table with chocolate covered pretzels, fruit, and nuts, candies, and truffles.
3. Breakfast Bar
Nothing says brunch wedding like a breakfast bar. Fill the bar with waffles, pancakes, croissants, yogurt, and granola. Include toppings like fresh fruit, nuts, jams and jellies, honey, and syrup. It’s a great way for guests to casually enjoy breakfast while chatting with friends.
4. Pizza Station
Pizza isn’t something you typically see at a wedding. But if you’re a fan, don’t be afraid to include it on your menu. Opt to serve bite size or personal pizzas topped with your favorite ingredients. Come up with combinations inspired by places you’ve visited together or let guests make their own pizza.
5. Milk and Cookies
There’s something about a glass of cold milk and a warm cookie that instantly takes you back to your childhood. Create a display of your favorite kinds of cookies or honor your mom by serving her famous cookies. Or surprise guests with a little after dinner drink. Serve mini White Russian cocktails with the cookies for an adult version of this childhood favorite. Your guests will love being able to grab something sweet and then head back to the dance floor.
6. Grilled Cheese Station
Any food in mini sizes are sure to get your guests excited, especially when it’s a grilled cheese. Mini grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup shooters are perfect for cocktail hour hors d’oeuvres. Or have a grilled cheese bar where guests can create their own unique grilled cheese sandwiches. Let them get creative by offering things like apples, bacon, tomato slices, pickles or pesto.
7. Pretzel and Beer Bar
When it comes to weddings, wine and signature cocktails usually get most of the attention. So surprise your guests by having a pretzel and beer bar. Serve your favorite beers or ciders alongside different pretzel varieties. Include some dips as well like melted cheese, ranch, or spicy mustard. This is one wedding food bar that’s sure to keep guests coming back for more.
8. Coffee Bar
Whether you’re hosting a brunch wedding or an evening wedding, coffee is always a good idea. But don’t feel like you have to settle for the normal coffee service. Mix it up and do something different with a create your own coffee bar. Stock the bar with different flavored syrups and milks. Have sugar cubes or rock candy sticks for guests to use sweeten their coffee. And don’t forget the cups! Customize to-go cups with your names, monogram or wedding crest.
9. Market Table
For a healthy cocktail hour hors d’oeuvres option, opt for a market table. Display fresh veggies like broccoli, carrots, radishes, celery, and tomatoes. Serve dips like ranch, honey mustard and blue cheese alongside the veggies. It’s a perfect for a family style farm-to-table wedding. Plus, it’s an easy way to make your wedding more colorful!
10. Pie Bar
If cake isn’t your thing, that’s okay! Opt for a pie bar instead. Offer guests individual pies or slices of your favorite pie flavors. Honor your grandmother by serving her famous key lime pie. Or for a cozy fall wedding, serve a seasonal pie like caramel apple, chocolate pecan or pear. It’s a unique way to include the special people in your life in your reception and adds a personal touch to your wedding.
11. Hot Chocolate Bar
For a winter wedding, you can’t go wrong with having a hot chocolate bar at your wedding. It’s sure to be a crowd pleaser for both adults and kids! Design personalized to-go cups with sleeves so guests can grab a cup and head back to the dance floor. Include toppings like marshmallows, peppermint sticks, sprinkles, and caramel and hot fudge sauce. Don’t forget the whipped cream!
12. Cotton Candy
The sugary sweet, melt-in-your mouth magic of cotton candy is something that gets everyone excited. Bring in a cotton candy cart where guests can watch it being made right in front of them. Or treat guests to a tub of gourmet cotton candy as their wedding favor. This wedding food bar is a perfect match for an outdoor or festival inspired wedding.
13. Cereal Bar
For a brunch wedding or late night snack, let guests dish up a bowl of their favorite cereal. Include cereal from your childhood like Trix, Fruit Loops, Lucky Charms, and Reese’s Puffs. Don’t forget to include Cheerios! Have different types of milk and fresh fruit available for guests to put in their cereal as well.
14. Biscuit Bar
Whether you eat them for breakfast or with tea, biscuits are a comfort food everyone loves. Serve your biscuits with gravy to give guests a taste of a traditional Southern comfort food. For a more English vibe, have clotted cream, lemon curd, and an assortment of jams and jellies to put on the biscuits.
A “make your own breakfast sandwich” is a great wedding food bar idea for a brunch wedding. Let guests create their own biscuit sandwiches with scrambled eggs, turkey bacon, roasted veggies and a variety of cheeses.
15. Fondue Station
Give your wedding a retro twist by including a fondue station. Serve a variety of fondues like original, crab, and spinach and artichoke. Make sure to include different breads, apples, and veggies along with it.