Skip the Buffet—6 Unique Dinners to Serve to Your Guests

Catered food

If you’ve been to a lot of weddings, you know that a buffet is a popular choice for the reception meal. And why wouldn’t it be? It’s easy, people can pick out what kind of food they want, and you don’t have to hire any servers. The problem with wedding buffets, however, is that they can get a little expensive, and more often than not the food is a little lackluster. When you are looking for something more exciting than the standard chicken or steak, look to these six ideas for unique dinners to serve.

1. A Breakfast Feast

Breakfast spread

Everyone loves a good breakfast (even in the evening!), and a breakfast feast for a wedding reception would likely be a huge hit with your guests. The options are endless for what kind of food you could serve—from donuts and Belgian waffles to an omelette bar or breakfast burritos. For the beverages, have a chocolate milk station for the kiddos and a Bloody Mary or mimosa bar for the adults. The best part about a breakfast feast is that breakfast food tends to stretch a little bit further for a big crowd, which could save you some major dollars on the reception.

2. Pizza for Everyone

There’s no one on earth who dislikes pizza (and if they do, then they should probably keep quiet about it). Instead of stressing out about everyone’s dietary restrictions or whether or not everyone will like the food, just order up some pizzas from your favorite local joint. Have a variety of pies: cheese for the kids, meat lovers for the carnivores, and plenty of veggie options for your vegetarian friends. Ordering up a bunch of pizza is simple, easy to calculate, and is guaranteed to be a big hit. Serve up your pizza with some salads and breadsticks on the side and you can ensure that your guests will have plenty to eat. The best part about a pizza reception? Cold, leftover pizza for your first married breakfast together.

3. Make Your Own Burrito

Other than pizza, the most universally well-loved cuisine is probably Mexican food. Assemble your own burrito bar (or hire Chipotle or another burrito chain) and have your guests line up to craft their version of the perfect burrito. Make sure you have a variety of meats like chicken, steak, barbacoa, and pork, as well as bell pepper, jalapeno, cheese, beans, and rice for more veggie-friendly options. Serve your burritos with chips and salsa, your favorite Mexican beer, and maybe some horchata to drink with wedding cake.

4. An Hors D’oeuvres Spread


Everyone loves appetizers. In fact, some people love them so much that they wouldn’t mind having an entire meal comprised of them. Keep things simple by making your reception entirely about the appetizers. Serve things like jalapeno poppers, dates wrapped in bacon, bruschetta with some delicious crusty bread, and shrimp cocktail. You could have your hors d’oeuvres served in a buffet style line or have them at different stations, or you could hire some servers to pass the food out to your guests periodically through the night. However you decide to serve them, your guests will likely be happy with the variety of choices that they have and can eat to their heart’s desire. The cleanup should be quick and easy because all you need is a few cocktail napkins and maybe a toothpick here or there.

5. Build Your Own Sandwich

Sandwiches are pretty universal. Whether you like peanut butter and jelly or you prefer to make a monstrous double decker club, most people really love and enjoy a good sandwich. Instead of fussing with a fancy meal at your wedding, have your guests create their own gourmet sandwich with a variety of breads like brioche, sourdough, or whole wheat, meats like turkey, prosciutto, or roast beef, cheeses like Havarti, swiss, or cheddar, spreads like honey mustard, lemon aioli, or chipotle mayo, and perhaps even a pickle bar at the end. Serve the sandwiches with chips, pasta salads, and potato salad for a casual, but delicious meal.

6. Skip the Meal and Just Have Dessert

Table of sweets

Sometimes you just have to decide that the meal itself isn’t anything in comparison to dessert. If you are having a hard time deciding what to serve (or if your budget is limited), then you might want to consider just having a dessert-only menu. The options for being creative with a dessert-only menu are really endless. You could have a s’mores station for a fall wedding, a make-your-own sundae bar in the summer, and have different candies and cookies made in your wedding colors for a themed treat for your guests. Serve your desserts with dessert wines and Prosecco or champagne for the perfect beverage combination. If you plan on having a dessert-only spread, then be sure to tell your guests about it so they can plan accordingly for dinner beforehand.

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