Gone are the days when formal, sit-down dinners were the only option for wedding day eats. For so long, weddings were defined by how formal they had to be. Black tie, strict schedule, psychotic adherence to dated traditions with little relevance other than their cemented status in the history of romance and love. Why did we start throwing bouquets?! The garter thing? Throwing rice? The sit-down dinner! What?! All of these wedding staples are relevant only because they have always been done, not because they necessarily bring anything specific or personal to the celebration.
For these reasons, we have been taking a long hard look at what modern weddings look like, and what direction we're all headed in. Things have become a lot more casual, a lot more affordable (the average cost of a wedding in 2017 was still over $30,000 USD), and a lot more personal. We are huge fans of all three.
If you want to have a full three course sit-down meal, do it. This is all about preference. If it feels personal and important, we embrace you fully! But for everyone out there agonizing over the $80 per plate price tag and the difference between chicken, fish, or lamb, we offer four alternatives to that hard to coordinate, expensive, super formal sit-down meal.
Photo by Erika Overholt.
Two words, in capitals: FOOD TRUCK.
Having a food truck at your wedding would still set you in the minority, but this budget and morale friendly option is fast on the rise. Get in touch with your favourite food truck, or restaurant with a food truck extension, and talk menus, pricing, and availability. Have them park right outside your reception venue and use lots of signage to tell guests what they're in for: the best tacos they've ever had, delicious New York style pizza, the tastiest bao on Earth—everyone will love the unexpected twist and will also appreciate the more relaxed feeling that comes with dinner time.
Just make sure that guests don't have to walk too far for food, and ensure that cocktail hour pushes into the dinner hour to allow guests to stagger themselves to there isn't a huge line at the truck.
Photo from Martha, who else?
Extended cocktail hours!
Speaking of cocktail hour, we love extending that single hour into the plural hours. Roll out a series of canapés and hors d'oeuvres over the several hours that follow your ceremony to keep people on their feet, dancing, and fed.
Cocktail hour is often thought of as secondary to the main event, but it doesn't have to be. Choose snacks which are filling and tasty to keep the energy up, and it's a recipe for success. Just be sure to talk with your caterer to make sure they're capable of adequately serving the whole floor all evening.
We also love extended cocktail hours because as you are running around the dance floor trying to talk to everyone, you'll actually be able to eat. Instead of missing your sweethearts dinner and returning to a cold plate, or worse, an already cleared plate, food will be circling you all evening.
Photo from Pinterest.
Have a dang barbecue and embrace your summer lovin'
If you're getting married in the summer, give your Dads a job. Fire up one or two barbecues, and serve burgers, veggie burgers, hot dogs, and grilled veggies on skewers. Insanely tasty with just a little salt and olive oil, super low maintenance, and a great way for Dad to contribute, having an outdoor barbecue will get everyone in on the spirit of a gorgeous, sunny afternoon. Mix with a catered cocktail hour if you want a fancier take on this backyard classic. Bonus points for the personalized keg system, like above.
Photo from Pinterest.
Potluck 'til your heart is content
For smaller weddings, have everyone bring a dish. It's your wedding—they won't show up with reheated chicken strips or last night's Chinese take-out. Make a spreadsheet so people can coordinate without your oversight and host a family-style buffet to keep costs down and people happy.
Potlucks, especially when folks bring appies and tapas, will keep cocktail hour going long through the evening.
Photo from SMP.
Just go out to a restaurant
If all else fails and your budget is tight, meet your friends and family at your favourite brewery or tapas spot where you've reserved a few tables or a private room and spend your evening chatting and ordering as much food as you need. Foregoing a fixed menu means everyone will be able to order exactly what they want and to stay within their own budgets. Just make sure everyone knows what is expected of them before the big day.
What sort of food did you have at your wedding? Let us know below!