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Food Options for a Modern Wedding

As December rolls by and Christmas is getting ever closer, I wanted to make a post for the blog that talked about some food options for the modern wedding and some trends that we think will be big in 2020.

Now I am a huge foodie, but I asked Vikki Richman from Your Wedding Friend to help me out with this one.  Vikki is a Hertfordshire wedding planner and has some great experience with food options for your modern wedding.  See below for the information that Vikki sent through for you guys.

The first option and probably the most popular food option if you are choosing a traditional venue is the 3-course wedding breakfast. A lot of traditional venues will insist that you have their catering facilities, which can help decision-making be a little easier, but if you’re looking for something a little different, and your venue allows it, there are loads of alternate food options out there.

Food Options for a Modern Wedding

Discovering Alternate Food Options for a Modern Wedding.

The first step to discovering alternate food options is to ask your venue if they’re open to negotiating on their usual menu. If you’re keen enough and you can get a meeting with the catering manager and head chef directly, you might find that they’re happy to look at ideas. They might even have something on their standard restaurant menu that they don’t generally offer to weddings, it’s worth an ask. You need to give them a chance to offer what you want before you approach the subject of bringing in outsiders.

Obviously, some venues are open to you providing your own food vendors and those venues most likely to allow external catering are often those who offer marquee receptions. Independent venues, community spaces and unusual venues also tend to be more flexible, so think about how your venue fits in with the vibe of the menu you want to offer.

So, you’ve ditched the three-course meal, what can you offer instead?

Afternoon Tea

Food Options for a Modern Wedding

Usually the reserve of small groups and lighter than the usual meal, this is an elegant way to share food, seated banqueting style. The emphasis is on simple delivery all in one go, in the same way, that you would be served a grand hotels afternoon tea but with more guests and the option to swap tea/coffee for wine and champagne. Themed with modern arty crockery or traditional, vintage or mismatched china, contemporary afternoon tea can be as twee as you like but always chic.

Mini medley

Many smarter venues will offer canapes as food options for a modern wedding which is an option to go alongside your post-ceremony drinks reception. But what if you formalised the canape menu into a mini selection buffet instead?

Food Options for a Modern Wedding

Mini versions of traditional dinner menus are right on trend at the moment and although not the cheapest option on any offer, it gives you the opportunity to push the boat out on the number of options you’re restricted to with a proper meal (usually one meat, one veggie and maybe a fish option, if you’re lucky). Mini roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, snack-sized chicken and veg, or even spaghetti and meatball, the options are endless.

With the above options, your chosen venue should be able to replicate the ideas, or at least be able to offer something close. But what if you want to go for something very different? Let’s look at some real alternatives.

Festival vibes

If you’re having a more music festival style wedding, you may well feel like replicating the food trucks you’ve seen at them. Food trucks sell everything from burgers and chips to macaroni cheese, pizza and more. Or why restrict yourself to just one, try a mix and match approach. A great addition to a marquee or tipi wedding, a traditional/vintage van or modern trailer will really add to your festival vibes. You could even put up some gazebos and include other kinds of stands, carts and trailers – one of my favourites is the awesome Waffle Wands -sweet waffles on sticks and drenched in sauce and sprinkled with pure joy. Check them out https://www.facebook.com/WaffleWandsUK/ – they’re based in St Albans but travel all over the area and beyond.

wedding entertainment

Upgrade your buffet

Another recent trend that is growing legs is like an upgraded buffet with lots more ingredients and options. The grazing table is far more interesting and brings together beautiful quality ingredients in dramatic style. Go on Pinterest and you’ll see lots of examples of grazing tables that are themed eg antipasti, charcuterie, cheese, desserts, and so much more. One of my favourite local suppliers of graze tables is https://www.facebook.com/GrazeLife/ – they also do individual graze boxes so you can sample their offer in the comfort of your own home. Yes, it looks a bit like a buffet but with no boring trays of sandwiches, the difference is really in the way the food is displayed. It’s all about levels and layers and real food presented in the most exquisite way.

Ethnically orientated

Food Options for a Modern Wedding

Of course, you might want to opt for more traditional food options for a modern wedding, traditional to your own family origins but find it more of a struggle to get ethnically appropriate food in your venue. Caterers offering a wider variety or really specific regional foods have been around for years and thankfully the choices are getting greater each year. Some venues will allow for certain external catering if it’s specifically not something they can offer but you need to check this with your venue before you bring in any external caterers. You’ll likely know of someone in our area who can offer the specific cuisine you’re looking for, or you can get recommendations from people you trust. For your venue to trust them, they will likely need to provide all their food hygiene certification and insurances. They may ask for it to be made clear that the food has been provided by someone other than themselves. Most important of all though is that they will be highly unlikely to allow external caterers to use their kitchens, so whoever you chose will likely need to provide their own field kitchen – you’ll need to make sure they and you are prepared for this.

Thankfully most catering companies are used to working from kitchens or in spaces that are not their own. They will prepare what they can in their own kitchens and may well travel to your location and set up with their own stoves or burners. From jerk chicken to paella, curry to pad Thai, there’s a supplier for you just waiting to be found. Choose the right venue and the worlds food offering is right there waiting for you. And why not. After all, it’s your wedding day so you should be able to choose the food you really want to eat rather than what a venue wants to offer.


I’d just like to send a huge thank-you to Vikki for writing this post and offering her advice on food options for a modern wedding.  If you need any help planning your wedding or finding food options suitable for your big day, then please get in touch with her and remember to say you read her blog post on my site.


If you have found this post interesting or helpful and are interested in more topics from this series of posts, please check out one of the links below to the other topics:

How to find Modern Wedding Venues in Hertfordshire.

Choosing Modern Wedding Themes and Decor.

10 Reasons to Hire a Wedding Planner for a Traditional and Elegant Wedding.

How to get the amazing wedding photos you deserve to have.

Wedding Entertainment Options For The Modern Couple.

How to Find a Wedding Dress That Flatters Your Body Type.

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