Insider Tips: Your Complete Wedding Menu Guide
By Esther Dawson

17 November 2015

Which menu? Which style of food? There are so many questions surrounding the different menu styles you can choose from for your wedding catering. The right style of menu will have an effect on the overall feel and impression of your wedding. A good caterer will work alongside you to tailor a menu personalised to suit your budget and culinary tastes, to create a timeline for the day, and give you advice on how to ensure the day runs smoothly. Blue Carrot Catering founder, Nicole Manning, has more than twenty years experience in the wedding catering industry and has partnered with Wellington Weddings to share her catering wisdom. This will help any bride or groom-to-be who is overwhelmed by the reception choices and just wants to know what’s what!


The advantage of ordering a plated meal is that you can work closely with a professional chef to create dishes that reflect your style and food tastes. You may have overseas guests who want to taste the local cuisine or maybe you simply want the meal to reflect your personalities. Plated dishes will be made to restaurant standard, beautifully presented, and use seasonal ingredients. Here are 3 different plated-meal options to choose from:

Alternate Drop

Two options for each course are served alternately to your guests. The service is swift and hassle-free.


When they RSVP to your wedding, guests choose which meal they would like to be served from a pre-set list of options. The caterer will carry extra meals in case a guest changes their mind on the day!

Order on the Night

This option gives your guests the choice on the night to decide which meal they would like to order. It’s the most expensive option because the caterer needs to carry more stock; however, your guests will love the authentic restaurant-feel! For this option, we recommend that you provide printed menus on the tables for ease of ordering.

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The buffet meal can be tailor-made to suit your tastes or can choose tell a story of your journey together. For instance, you may like to include dishes from the countries you have visited during your years together! Make sure there is plenty of room for guests to walk down both sides of the buffet table and for guests to be able to move from their seats with ease. Second helpings are always welcome! Traditionally, a buffet is the least expensive option and also allows guests to choose from a wide range of dishes, as well as catering for different dietary requirements.


BBQ weddings are becoming increasingly popular during the summer season when the weather is warmer, allowing guests to casually mingle and socialise outdoors. The right caterer can provide marinated meats, quality fish, fresh organic salads, and delicious desserts. You won’t be restricted by needing a power source – you could be in a forest, a field, or near the beach and the food will be readily available! If you choose this option however, make sure you have a wet weather back up.

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The canapés will provide your guests with their first impression of your day. You’ll want them to be bite-sized, but also include one or two items which are alcohol-soaking. Remember to be a responsible host while your guests are having bubbles or a welcome cocktail over a two hour period. The caterer can also prepare some canapés in a basket for you to take on your photo shoot so you don't miss out on the delicious food (a problem more common than you may think)! Canapés are a great option if you are planning a shorter reception – either a boat trip or a pop-up wedding. Some hand-held finger food can be served too, to replace a sit down meal.


The little people are just as important! A good caterer will provide healthy, organic, non-processed options with sugar-free drinks. To keep the children entertained, we suggest providing individual bags with colouring books and pencils. If you have a children’s table, place paper on the table instead of a cloth so they can draw or doodle during the speeches (which can last an eternity in the mind of an energetic child!).

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When choosing your caterer, ask to see photos of their food from past weddings, read their Facebook reviews, look at their wedding menus, and request a tasting. You want every guest to leave your wedding saying “Wow, what great food and what great service!” Make your wedding memorable by choosing a caterer who gives you the confidence that they will provide fresh, creative, and delicious food.