Four tips for planning your wedding menu

Posted in Advice, Sustainable Weddings

Scarlet O'Neill Photography

Food is one of the most important elements of any event no matter what the occasion. Food brings people together and should always be a positive experience for your guests. 


From finger foods to plated meals and buffets to food stations there are a variety of meal services to choose from. One of the biggest mistakes I’ve experienced is that hosts choose the wrong type of meal service for their specific type of wedding and their guest demographic.

There is nothing worse than attending a cocktail hour and the food available is clunky, messy, and served on a plate. It would be more suitable to serve an array of small bites at your cocktail hour rather than a larger portion as guests like to mix and mingle. Use reusable mini spoons and compostable wooden skewers to keep the portion size manageable while reducing the waste. 

If you are having a large wedding and two cultures are coming together you may want to consider a family-style meal as it ensures your guests at that table interact and have a variety of meal and flavour choices to choose from.

The type of meal service you choose will also affect the layout of the room and the amount of time you have for the meal service itself. For example, plated meals will require more time, and more space is needed in between tables and chairs for wait staff to serve the meal properly. 


A one size meal approach does not fit all. With many allergies, intolerances, faith requirements, and voluntary dietary restrictions such as veganism, you need to ensure that your wedding menu has several options for every type of diet. Consider creating a menu with three or more entrée items, one vegan option, and two meat options such as a fish or chicken.

You may also want to offer gluten and dairy-free elements such as gluten-free gravy or vegan cheese if you are serving poutine. It would also be a great idea to offer three types of dessert options, one healthy, one savoury, and one decadent. The last thing you want is for your guests to feel left out, uncatered for and even worse, hungry!

Do not forget about the drinks. Consider providing organic beer options, ciders, and plenty of mocktails too. 


The way that food looks is just as important as the way it tastes and an exciting menu presentation can add a lot of flair to any wedding. It has become increasingly popular to have food and/or drink bars at your wedding and it’s because it adds an interactive element that all guests love. You can pretty much turn any meal choice into an easy to access food bar from popcorn to potatoes, and everything in between.

If you are in charge of meal planning for say, a family event, consider serving fruit or vegetables in cute individual (reusable) containers, family-style meals can also double as your centerpieces too. Instead of just salad chopped up on a plate, make it a roll-up salad. Imagining new ways that food is presented and served will give your event that wow factor guests are looking for.


It is important to consider the environment when you are deciding on meal options for your wedding. You may want to ask where the food comes from? Is it local? The season of your wedding will come into play as some items may not be available locally in your area. You may need to adjust choices to reduce the carbon footprint of your menu.

Serve fair trade coffee, tea, and chocolates when possible and make meat choices that are more sustainable such as grass-fed, free-range, hormone-free, and certified organic. Don't forget to skip the bottled water and set up larger water dispensers for easy access. You can even infuse the water for an upscale feel all your guests will appreciate. 

You will want to carefully order your food so there is less waste but if your venue/caterer approves bring along some extra compostable or recyclable take out containers or Tupperware so you can take leftovers home or share with your guests, it is a great way to reduce food waste. If you are looking to give back you could also donate the leftover food to a food bank or shelter. 

If you need help planning the menu for your wedding event please reach out to us, we would love to help! 


1 comment

  • Derek Dewitt on Mar 5th, 2018
    I really like your point about choosing meals that includes meals for everyone for events. I can't tell you how many corporate parties and events I've been to where there is only one option. I've seen some people go hungry just because there wasn't a vegan option for them there. Thanks for sharing this!

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