Keep These Things In Mind When Planning Your Wedding Menu and Bar

Photo by Chloe May

Food brings us together and you can probably agree that one of the things you are looking forward to most on your wedding day is the reception dinner!

It may feel daunting accurately determining how much each person will eat or drink. If you’re unsure where to start, here is some food for thought when planning your menu and bar.

Determine your menu style

Start by having an idea on the catering style you want to offer. Are you wanting a sit-down style, buffet, or heavy appetizers in place of a meal? While you are considering your menu options, also take into consideration the cost and how it fits into your budget (your caterer or planner can help you determine this.)

While some think that substituting appetizers in place of a meal will be a more affordable option, it will often end up costing you more as you pay per item, not per person. If you have a tighter budget, a buffet option may be more suitable for as you are charged per head.

Determine your bar style

Guests will be sure to head for the bar to kick off the cocktail hour post ceremony, but it’s important to determine what style of bar you want to offer.

You’ve most likely heard of an open bar and this usually comes in two tiers:

  • Bar package (where you are charged per head based on the number of guests attending which covers all alcohol)
  • By consumption (where the bar keeps a tally of the drinks ordered and you pay for what has been consumed.)

The package is a great option if you expect consumption to be high, paying by consumption will keep your bill lower if you don’t expect guests to drink very much.

While there are other options, such as a cash bar (where guests foot the bill), we recommend not going this route as it puts the financial responsibility on your guests (although may be the best option if your food and drink budget is smaller!) There are many more options, so coordinate with your caterer to find the best one for you!

So…how much?

The amount of food needed for your event will be determined by the catering staff dependent on your guest count, but how about appetizers? Here’s a general rule to follow when it comes to determining how much to order:

  • 2-4 bites/person if appetizers are being served 30-60 minutes prior to the meal
  • 5-6 bites/person if appetizers are being served 2 hours prior to the meal
  • 12-15 biter/person if appetizers are being served in place of a meal

Keep in mind that tray-passed appetizers will last longer than those that are displayed buffet style.

When it comes to consumption of drinks, a general rule to follow is your guests will most likely consume 2-3 drinks during cocktail hour and then 1 drink/hour following.

We hope these tips help ease your mind and wallet when it comes to planning your food and drinks for your big day. Bon appetit!

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