Choosing the right food and drink options is essential to pulling together your vision for your wedding. Your wedding menu will likely be impacted by what foods are in season and are typically associated with the time of year you get married. Keeping in mind the wedding season will ensure that you are serving your guests fresh, flavorful food. Choosing a seasonal wedding menu also gives you the opportunity to play with unique flavors and unexpected food and drink ideas. Whether you get married around Christmas or in the middle of summer, there are plenty of options for catering your menu to the flavors of the season during your wedding reception.
The menu you choose will likely also be impacted by the style of wedding reception you are having. Whether you are serving a sit-down dinner to your guests, having a buffet or offering small bites during cocktail hour, consider choosing seasonal foods to really impress your guests. Adding special touches like wedding menu cards can also add a special touch to your event. Read on for wedding menu ideas by season.
If you know when you’ll be getting married, jump to the specific season for wedding menu inspiration:
If you are getting married in the spring, play up the bright flowers, pastel colors and light flavors that the season is known for. Make sure to incorporate the many fruits, vegetables, and herbs that are in season this time of year, like asparagus, melons, apricots, lavender, and mint. Celebrate the warmer weather by choosing foods that will complement blooming seasonal florals and bright sunshine.
Spring Wedding Menu Ideas
- Assorted charcuterie board
- Colorful fruit bar
- Mixed green salad with a raspberry-infused vinaigrette
- Deconstructed bruschetta
- Mini shrimp salad rolls
- Raspberry coolers (champagne and raspberry sorbet)
- Mint Juleps
- Make-your-own Mimosas
- Assorted flavors of lemonade (such as lavender, raspberry, and peach)
- Orange-soy glazed scallops
- Lightly seasoned trout with parsley-caper vinaigrette
- Spring vegetable risotto
- Grilled rack of lamb with asparagus
- Herb-roasted chicken and rice with fresh apricot
Cake and Desserts:
- Lavender wedding cake
- Petit Fours
- Colorful candy bar
- Grab-and-go cotton candy stand
The most popular months to get hitched are June, August, and September. It’s no surprise since summer weddings are so much fun! Choose a menu that complements your wedding venue, whether you’ll be on the beach, hosting a backyard barbecue, or escaping the heat with an indoor ceremony.
Consider featuring summer favorites in your menu like peaches, watermelon, basil, and cucumber to embrace some of the season’s most famous flavors. Help your guests cool down from scorching hot temps with refreshing eats and drinks, cooling cocktails, and cold desserts. Be sure to label everything with place cards so everyone knows what’s what.
Summer Wedding Menu Ideas
- Miniature crab cakes
- Antipasto display
- Caprese salad
- Shrimp gazpacho
- Frozen watermelon slices
- Cocktail Paletas
- Basil Gimlets
- Mai Tais
- Sweet tea
- Cold sodas
- Pulled pork sandwiches
- Grilled chicken with sweet summer vegetables
- Brisket with mashed potatoes
- Lobster mac and cheese
- Shrimp and grits
Cake and desserts:
- Naked wedding cake
- Strawberry shortcake
- Ice cream sandwiches
- Snowcone cart
- Peach blueberry cobbler
Fall is becoming an increasingly popular time to get married due to the predictable weather and the rich colors of the season that make the perfect backdrop for a wedding celebration. If you’re getting married during the autumn months, consider a menu full of rich flavors, cozy appetizers, warming cocktails, and hearty main courses. For a truly autumnal feel to your wedding, choose dishes that feature the unique palate-pleasing flavors that fall is famous for like apples, pumpkin, root vegetables, and cinnamon. Coordinate the look of the day down to your napkins for a truly cohesive look.
Fall Wedding Menu Ideas
- Filo tarts with spinach, pumpkin and pine nuts
- Potato leek soup shooters
- Bacon-wrapped dates
- Cranberry and brie bites
- Sweet potato rounds topped with cheddar and chives
- Spiked apple cider with cinnamon
- Moscow mules
- Honeycrisp apple sangria
- Hot apple cider
- Cinnamon rosemary old fashioned
- Grilled petite filet with roast potatoes
- Roasted pork loin with sauteed apple slices
- Cornish game hen with wild rice
- Butternut squash ravioli with brown butter sauce
- Wild mushroom risotto
Cake and desserts:
- Decadent chocolate cake
- Spiced carrot cake
- Mini apple and pumpkin pies
- Make-your-own smores
- Caramel apples
Comfort food is the perfect staple of a winter wedding menu, as cold-weather events provide an opportunity to serve heavier fare than you typically would during other seasons. Warm up your guests from cold temperatures with a delicious hot meal and cozy cocktails.
Choose a menu that features homely entrees, indulgent desserts, and festive drinks. Consider featuring seasonal flavors like cranberry, mushroom, and dark chocolate to create a winter menu full of decadent delights. If you’re celebrating close to Christmas, be sure to remember the day and your delicious reception with a photo card after the holidays.
Winter Wedding Menu Ideas
- Pancetta wrapped asparagus
- Mini grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup
- Butternut squash soup with bleu cheese
- Baked brie with blackberry compote
- Pear bruschetta
- Hot toddies
- Mulled wine
- Sparkling apple-cranberry juice
- Poinsettia spritz punch
- Salted caramel white Russians
- Filet mignon with green beans
- Herb crusted lamb and mashed potatoes
- Stuffed portobello mushrooms
- Beef tenderloin with roasted potatoes
- Chicken pot pie with winter vegetables
Cake and desserts:
- Red velvet cake
- Dark chocolate cake
- Hot chocolate bar
- Donut bar
- Homemade toffee
Wedding Menu Planning Tips
After considering the time of year of your wedding and how it may impact your dining options, there are a few other factors to think about when planning the perfect wedding menu. Read on for the most important menu planning tips to keep in mind.
1. Plan ahead
Finding your perfect caterer is important, and it’s essential to make sure you accomplish this early on in your wedding planning process. It’s usually wise to book your caterer at least a year in advance of your wedding.
Planning ahead is also important because many venues require you to use their in-house catering services. Make sure you start planning far enough in advance that you have plenty of time to find the perfect venue and a great chef to cater your event. This will help also help you plan your reception stationery, from the menus and programs down to everyone’s place cards.
2. Nail down your estimated budget and number of guests
The number of people you would like to invite to your wedding will have a huge impact on the dining choices you make. The sooner you are able to determine your expected number of guests and your estimated budget, the sooner you can move forward with planning your menu.
Think about your vision for your special day, and if necessary consider whether you’d rather treat a small group to fine dining, have more casual fare for a large group or offer something in between. The sooner you can settle on your number of guests, the easier the rest of your planning will be!
3. Consider your guests’ preferences
While it’s important that you and your fiancé are excited about the food you are offering, make sure to consider the tastes and expectations of your guests. Offering common crowd-pleasers is a way to make sure that you please the largest group possible. Make sure to consider the dietary restrictions and allergies of your guests. It’s nice to have an option for everyone if possible!
4. Determine how you’d like your wedding to flow
When considering your menu, think about how long you want people to spend eating, dancing, and drinking during the night. This will help you determine if you should host a sit-down dinner, a buffet or a hearty cocktail hour.
The most popular and quickest dining option consists of two sit down courses and usually features an appetizer like a soup or salad and a main course. This style of dining usually takes about an hour and a half, once you factor in short speeches and providing guests with enough time to eat. You should also consider if you will be having a cocktail hour and how many appetizers, if any, you would like to have during this time.
5. Stay true to yourself
While it’s important to think about your guests, the best wedding menus include food and drinks that are uniquely special to the bride and groom. Consider incorporating food that represents special memories and moments in your relationship to put a personal spin on traditional wedding food choices.
Think about including food from a region you loved traveling to together or consider incorporating dining favorites from the area you live. Adding personal touches to your menu is an easy way to make your wedding meal unique!
There’s a lot to consider when thinking about the foods and drinks to feature during your wedding. To ensure a successful and stress-free wedding planning process, make sure to keep key planning tips in mind. Remember to have fun with your menu, and add seasonal elements to really make the meal stand out! To make the dining experience extra special, add wedding menu cards outlining each course at each seat.