Ideas for Wedding Reception Buffets

by Aya Pauli ; Updated September 28, 2017

Buffets provide a wide variety of options.

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If you’re working on ideas for a wedding reception buffet, remember that a buffet is not always cheaper than a sit-down dinner. Light buffets and finger-food buffets tend to be low cost, but full-meal buffets can end up costing more than a sit-down meal. Buffets do have advantages, though, including the wide variety of options they provide.


For a flavorful wedding reception buffet idea with an Asian flare, you may need a caterer. Most popular Asian buffet selections are not the sort of recipes you can prepare before the wedding and freeze until needed. Get the frying oil out for some cabbage egg rolls, fried teriyaki chicken won-tons, crab rangoons, tempura shrimp and pork fried rice. You also should provide steamed white rice, vegetable stir-fry, pepper steak stir-fry and chicken chop suey. Don’t forget a variety of sauces, such as teriyaki, soy, hot mustard, sweet and sour and fish or oyster sauce.


A dessert wedding reception buffet can be inexpensive. If you want a mostly homemade dessert menu, bake and freeze large batches of cookies before the reception. Provide a selection of popular cookies, such as chocolate chip, chocolate chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, peanut butter, snickerdoodle and frosted sugar. You also could offer chocolate pudding, vanilla pudding, butterscotch pudding, lime gelatin salad and/or cherry gelatin salad with sliced bananas.


Gourmet wedding reception buffets may be expensive, but they’re a way for “foodies” to share their favorite dishes with friends and family. Serve chicken cordon bleu, peppered-bacon wrapped beef tenderloins, coconut shrimp in pineapple salsa, lamb chops with a mint glaze and/or grilled lemon-dill salmon. When it comes to side dishes, consider new potatoes with sour cream and chives, asparagus with Hollandaise sauce, green bean almondine, rosemary bread rolls, wild rice pilaf and/or lemon watercress salad.


If you love Italian food, reflect that passion in your wedding reception buffet. It’s best to avoid extremely sloppy foods that can cause a mess, such as spaghetti and meatballs. However, you can serve beef lasagna, cheese ravioli, fettuccini Alfredo, green salad, garlic bread, bread rolls and green beans. For a more expensive Italian-themed wedding reception buffet, serve chicken Parmesan, eggplant Parmesan, blackened chicken fettuccini Alfredo, green tomato salad, Caesar salad, bruschetta, garlic bread and prosciutto-wrapped zucchini spears.


A picnic theme is a classic and budget-friendly wedding reception buffet idea. Homemade, store-bought or potluck, have a finger-friendly menu of fried chicken, buttermilk biscuits, fried tomatoes and corn on the cob cut into short lengths. You also might provide hamburgers, cheeseburgers and hot dogs with all the fixings. Add a selection of yellow potato salad, white potato salad, garden salad, pasta salad, gelatin salad, fruit salad, potato chips and/or corn chips.

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About the Author

A writer since 2000, Aya Pauli has covered a variety of topics including food, fashion, beauty, health, parenting, education, decor and crafts. Her award-winning recipes have been published in food magazines such as "Taste of Home," and she is also the author of a salad cookbook. Pauli's craft projects appear in major manufacturer websites, including Dow Styrofoam. She also holds a CDA in early childhood education and works as a preschool teacher in Wyoming.