How to Organize a Menu for a Small Wedding

One of the biggest costs of a wedding is the food that is served to the guests. It can take up nearly half of your budget and it is one of the biggest decisions you need to make planning-wise. And for big weddings, you often need to hire a large catering company with plenty of staff to serve all of your guests. However, if you are hosting a small reception with only your closest friends and family present, you can get a lot more creative and make it an unforgettable experience. Here are some of the things you can try.

A restaurant

If you have a small reception, you probably don’t have a big venue, nor the place to seat and serve all of your guests. But if you have a favorite local restaurant, they might be willing to let you reserve a couple of tables for your guests and give you a bulk price on several meals that your guests can choose from. It is not nearly as expensive as booking the entire restaurant, and it takes away the immense trouble and effort that would go into coordinating catering otherwise. Make sure it is a place that is suitable for a reception, and ideally that they have a private room or an outside area where you would be separated from the other guests for a more intimate atmosphere.


One thing a big wedding has trouble organizing is a good buffet that doesn’t cause a crowd, rowdiness and waiting a long time to reach something you want. However, for a smaller wedding, several platters with different food articles can be plenty. Especially for a wedding that takes place during the day, your guests aren’t craving a big meal like they would for a dinner, and you don’t need to serve a whole roast to feed them. Platters with fresh fruit, pastries and some deserts are all you need to feed your guests, and if you want to keep your costs low and put in some work instead, you can make these all by yourself. Just make sure you choose items that can be made some time in advance and stored until the wedding day, because you don’t want to spend your wedding morning in the kitchen.

Personal chef

If you want to really give your guests a unique experience while organizing a wedding in your own home, you should definitely consider hiring a personal chef who will compose the perfect experience and prepare everything in your home. Companies like At Your Table offer this service, and they require you only to tell the chef what you want and leave them the kitchen. It is a unique experience that your guests are sure to enjoy, and if you ask them what they would like to have, the menu can be tailored to contain any wishes they have.


Bring the summer in and make your back yard into a proper summer barbecue party. It will create a relaxed atmosphere and allow everyone to have fun and mingle in a comfortable setting. Just make sure you have someone who is dedicated to food prep so you can enjoy yourselves. Make sure there are also some grilled veggies and plenty of sides: condiments, cold salads and bread. Since this will be taking place during summer, make sure there is a lot of ice and cold drinks, as well as refreshing fruit desserts.

Around the world

When preparing smaller quantities of food, you can focus on the food itself and the experience. Chances are, most of your guests don’t have the option of eating international food all that often. Getting a few portions of food from different international restaurants to represent different cultures and countries is a great way to offer your guests that experience. Make small flags of the countries that the food originates from and let your guests try new things and pick out the things they like.

It’s important to remember that people don’t come to a wedding to eat, and there is no need to place so much emphasis on food. It’s always a good option to organize food in a way that lets your guests decide when they want to eat and how much, which is why share platters and buffers are excellent options.

Contributed by Diana Smith