Ideas for the Buffet at a Wedding Reception

Wedding Buffet

The buffet at a wedding reception can be elegant and delicious when you incorporate creative ideas. You can make a wedding reception buffet just as perfect as a seated meal.

The first step, however, is to plan your buffet wisely - a centered buffet line, for example, allows your guests to serve themselves from both sides of the tables, making the meal easier and faster to begin.

Elevated Dishes

Using elevated serving dishes will make foods at the back or center of your buffet tables more accessible and the tiered appearance will be more attractive and elegant. Elevated dishes also make the most of narrow tables and free up more space for your full menu.

Breakfast Buffet

Think outside the traditional menu when you're planning your wedding reception buffet. While dinner is the most common choice, a breakfast buffet with omelets, fruit, pastries, bacon, sausage, pancakes, and other selections will be just as delicious and even more affordable. Breakfast selections can be a unique evening buffet, or you can choose a brunch buffet for an earlier wedding.

Carving Station

A carving station adds a delicious option to your buffet. Roast beef, pork loin, ham, roast turkey, slow roasted ribs, and grilled fish can all be served through a carving station if desired. You can also arrange other individual serving stations for custom omelets, specialty coffees, or other customized dishes.

Decorated Tables

Decorating your buffet tables will help you coordinate your wedding reception decorations. Draping ribbons or fabric in your wedding colors along the edge of the table is an easy way to add color and beauty to the tables, and you can also add a table runner or other details along the serving line.

Edible Centerpieces

An edible centerpiece is a fun way to decorate your buffet line without taking away from serving space, since the centerpiece itself is a delicious dish to share. Fruit bouquets, artisan breads, and candy or cookie bouquets are all tasty treats for the eye and tongue.


A basket of rolls or dinner breads is the perfect addition to your buffet tables. While classic white dinner rolls are always popular, choosing several types of bread will make your buffet even more delicious and memorable as a wedding dinner. Poppyseed rolls, sun dried tomato baguettes, and garlic breadsticks are all great choices.

Decorated Dishes

Covered serving dishes help keep your food warm between courses or before guests have begun to serve themselves. Tying a napkin around the handle of the serving dishes' lids will act as a potholder, and choosing napkins in your wedding colors adds an instant colorful burst to your buffet table.

Dish Labels

If you are choosing unique or unusual dishes for your wedding buffet, adding simple labels to each dish will help your guests decide if they want to try something new. This is especially important if you have guests with food allergies or other dietary concerns, as they can avoid potentially dangerous dishes on your buffet. Use a wedding font or heart-shaped label to keep your buffet beautiful.

Go for the Grill

A grill buffet can be a great option for a casual backyard, garden, or beach wedding. Steak, chicken, pork chops, hot dogs, sausage, fish, and vegetables can all be grilled, giving you a fun and unique wedding menu that will be cooked right in front of your guests.

Drink Buffet

Drinks can be added to your buffet line if desired, but be sure any alcoholic cocktails will not be easy for underage guests to choose. Filling just a few glasses at a time can also help you avoid opening too many bottles and may keep the bar tab down.

Unique Dishes

Don't be afraid to add some unique dishes to your wedding reception buffet. Chilled oysters, unique salads, gourmet breads, and unusual pasta sauces are all popular choices, but be sure your buffet also has some familiar favorites for guests with less adventurous tastes.

Ice Sculptures

An ice sculpture is a unique and beautiful addition to any wedding buffet. Swans, hearts, initials, doves, and bowls are all popular designs, and the sculpture can even be designed to be used as a chilled serving bowl for fruit, salad, or punch.

Dessert Buffet

Whether you just want to add a few desserts to a full meal buffet or if you want to plan a full dessert buffet, attractive and unusual dishes can make even simple desserts deliciously beautiful. Choose stemware to serve berries, gelatin, pudding, mousse, or other popular desserts in an elegant way.

Salad Bar

If you don't want your whole reception meal to be a buffet, consider adding just one type of buffet section to the menu. Appetizers, desserts, and salad are popular buffet options, or you can have a "make-your-own" type of buffet to accompany the meal. Tacos, baked potatoes, and sundaes are all great choices for a buffet station.

Appetizer Buffet

A finger food buffet is an economical option for a casual wedding with no seated meal or for a cocktail hour between the ceremony and reception. Popular dishes for appetizer buffets include shrimp cocktail, sushi, meatballs, cheese and crackers, vegetable puffs, cookies, and dipped strawberries.

Fondue Fountain

A chocolate fondue fountain is a delicious treat for the end of a meal buffet, or it can be a beautiful centerpiece of a specialized dessert buffet. Chopped fruit, pound cake, angel food cake, and pretzels are all popular dipping options. For more wedding elegance, consider a white chocolate fountain instead.

Bon Appetit!

By considering different buffet wedding ideas, you can plan a delicious and affordable wedding meal to share with your guests. Buffets can be elegant, attractive, and tasty, and clever planning can make your buffet memorable for all your guests.

Get more great tips and ideas for planning a wedding reception.

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Ideas for the Buffet at a Wedding Reception