If you're hosting your wedding reception outdoors, you'll most likely want the menu to be as casual as the setting. The good news is that you don't have to compromise food quality and flavor when serving the meal outside—you can still treat guests to gourmet eats in the open air.
There are many different types of outdoor venue options to consider when planning a relaxed wedding reception. If both you and your spouse-to-be love being in nature, you can host your reception in a garden or in a city or state park. Call the venue prior to the planning process to inquire whether event space, such as a covered pavillion, is available and how many people it can accommodate.
Other outdoor reception space ideas include rustic country barns, vineyards, golf courses for sports lovers, and country clubs. If you're having a small reception, you can also hold the event in a large backyard.
To keep with the casual, relaxed theme and save time in the kitchen, hire a wedding caterer for the reception. You don't have to spend a lot of money to satisfy your guests' appetites, and you can have the menu completely tailored to your tastes, whether you crave gourmet or comfort foods.
Here are some catered menu ideas to consider when planning an outdoor wedding:
1. Burger Bar
Give the reception a friendly, backyard barbecue vibe by having the catering company set up a build-your-own-burger bar. Provide plenty of options, such as hamburgers, veggie burgers, and chicken, to please everyone on your guest list. For kids and people with smaller appetites, serve up sliders on mini buns.
In addition to protein, serve up gourmet wheat and white buns and traditional toppings such as pickles, onions, lettuce, and tomatoes. Fancier fixings include blue cheese crumbles, bacon, sauteed mushrooms, fried onion straws, and homemade guacamole.
For a more diverse menu, grill up brats and hotdogs, including vegetarian options, as well. Guests can mix and mingle as they dress their burgers and dogs to their tastes.
2. Finger Foods
If seating space is limited in your outdoor venue, make it easy for friends and family members to eat and socialize by serving a selection of tasty finger foods. Start the meal with cups filled with layers of ranch dressing and then topped with carrots and celery sticks, as well as individual layered bean dip cups.
For main courses, you can't go wrong with kebabs filled with fresh ingredients such as shrimp or chicken, mango, pineapple, or any type of cubed vegetable. Slices of gourmet pizza are also sure to please everyone on your guest list.
Dessert options include brownie bites, fresh fruit skewers, and a build-your-own ice cream sundae bar.