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Say ‘Good-bye’ to Sit-Down Wedding Receptions with 10 Alternatives!


Has the formal wedding reception dinner become a thing of the past? Not quite. But the sit-down meal that was once standard now has definite competition! In fact, we found 10 food serving options (among many more) that are practical yet still so pretty, and definitely more affordable than a formal dinner. So, depending on your venue, the size of your guest list, your wedding budget and your personal style, come and take your pick!

5 Wedding Reception Alternatives: Classic Yet Practical

These first 5 options manage to combine classic menu items with easier serving setups.

5 Wedding Reception Alternatives that are Classic Yet Practical

1 – Wedding brunch – This mid-morning reception offered an omelet station and an assortment of croissants, muffins and Danish pastries. Then, in place of a wedding cake, there was this towering stack of fluffy pancakes! Lovely set-up by Good Food Catering, via Fab You Bliss, Lauryn Galloway Photography.

2 – Wedding tea party – For an informal at-home wedding, see this sumptuous spread via Life Made Sweeter. Such a tempting array of traditional tea sandwiches, scones, pastries, various jams, cream, and fresh fruit…and of course, choices of tea served in vintage tea pots and cups.

3 – Champagne and sweets reception – Simple and very stylish, this is a great option for an intimate wedding in a small venue. Or perhaps for after a City Hall ceremony. Just set up the display as prettily as in this example we found via Project Wedding.

4 – Wine and cheese buffet – Here’s a reception alternative that combines gourmet selections with the opportunity for guests to mingle and chat. Take a cue from this elegant all-white buffet featured on Decoist that sets off the food items beautifully!

5 – Crepe bar brunch – A definitely chic option for a modern wedding with French flair! Crepes made upon order and stuffed with guests’ choice of savory fillings. We
found this trendy idea in the gallery of Catering of Paris.

Now, here are 5 more options with a creative, casual, fun and even offbeat spin!

5 Wedding Reception Alternatives that are creative, casual, fun and even offbeat spin

6 – “Breakfast in a basket” – Such a no-fuss way to serve your guests breakfast muffins and fresh blueberries! Yet, still so prettily styled with a French country flair by Amanda O’Shannessy, as seen on Grey Likes Weddings.

7 – Pizza party reception – Offer up a wide variety of pizza flavors to suit different tastes. Then, as this example from Surefire Pizza shows, make the presentation extra inviting with a tossed green salad and fresh flowers.

8 – Food truck catering service – The selection for this type of service is ever growing. So take your pick of whatever is your favorite (sushi, burgers, ice cream, tacos, donuts, dimsum) or has a special meaning to you as a couple. Even lobster, as in this option from Red Hook Lobster!

9 – Picnic panini bar – Glam up the usual sandwich bar by making it a panini station! Take inspiration from this find via Martha Stewart and offer a selection of Italian cold cuts and cheeses, anchovies, freshly made pesto and tapenade, and a variety of breads.

10 – Wedding pasta bar – A sure hit with all your guests! Assemble a lavish selection of cooked pasta noodles like this one by Tonya Staab, plus toppings from Italian sausage, salami, zucchini, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, to shredded parmesan cheese and your prized recipe of pasta sauce!

For more food serving ideas at a non-traditional reception, do check out these related posts:

10 Wedding Bar Ideas: Scrumptious and Stylish
Deliciously Stylish: Food Stations for Outdoor Rustic Weddings

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