Wedding Receptions - Sample Menus for Different Types of Receptions

When planning a wedding, there are many different options for types of receptions. There is a reception out there to fit every kind of personality, and a menu to go along with it. Here are four sample menus for different types of receptions:


Written by Lynn Scupelliti

1) Cocktail Reception
For this type of reception, you could do small finger foods and appetizers. Here are some suggestions:

Mini ham and cheese croissants
Franks in a blanket
Chicken salad sandwiches cut in fours
Fried chicken fingers with honey mustard and barbeque dipping sauce
Cheese puffs
Mini quesadillas
Cheese and crackers

For beverages you could have several stations set up:

Iced tea (both sweetened and unsweetened)
Flavored punch
Flavored water
Champagne and wine

2) Brunch Reception
You have many menu options with a brunch reception. Typically, brunch receptions have “stations” with different types of foods made at each station. Here are some suggestions for different stations to have:

Egg and omelette station
Pancake, waffle and french toast station
Bagel, bialy and english muffin station
Fresh fruit station
Pastry and muffin station
Slicing meats—turkey, ham, roast beef

For beverages, you could serve a variety of fresh fruit juices, coffee, tea, water and champagne (great with orange juice as a mimosa). Typically, champagne is the only alcoholic beverage served at a brunch reception.

3) Dessert Reception
For a dessert reception, one of the obvious choices for the menu is bride’s cake and groom’s cake. Bride’s cake is usually a white cake and the groom’s cake is typically chocolate. In addition, you could serve the following:

Assorted cookies
Assorted pastries
Ice Cream with different toppings (you can set this up as a do-it-yourself table)
Jello and pudding

For beverages, you could serve coffee, tea, water and carbonated beverages (cola, seltzer).

4) Formal Reception
For a formal reception, the menu possibilities are endless. It is common to have a cocktail hour before the actual reception, where you could serve a smaller version of a cocktail reception. For the actual reception, several courses would be served. Here are the courses and some suggestions for food for your sit down dinner:

Appetizer: Tomato and mozzarella with garlic and oil

Pasta: Penne with marinara sauce

Salad: You could go with a simple tossed salad or a Cesar salad

Main course: Generally there is a choice of at least three dishes. The choices usually consist of chicken, beef and fish. You could serve prime rib, roast duck, baked filet of fish, etc. The main course is usually served with a vegetable and potato or rice.

After the main course, wedding cake and coffee is served.

For other beverages, formal receptions usually have a wide array of choices from colas and water to an open bar with alcoholic beverages. This is really an option that is up to the couple planning the wedding.

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