33 Best Wedding Reception Food Ideas on a Budget (2023)


When you’re thinking of wedding food ideas, you might picture wedding invitations asking if your guests want chicken or beef. But when planning your wedding menu, you no longer have to stick to a sit-down meal. Thanks to fantastic dishes from around the world, wedding food can now mean anything from tacos to tapas! It’s time to ditch the same options that everyone chooses and serve up something authentic.

Having trouble thinking of wedding menu ideas that will leave your guests in awe? No worries! Whether you’re choosing a food station or planning a whole reception menu, we’ve got you covered and within budget. Just follow our guide to sumptuous food to make your big day extra special. Read on!

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Wedding Food Ideas for a Buffet

You may not want to have a big meal during the cocktail hour. But you shouldn’t let your guests get peckish! Here a buffet can tide guests over until diner time. For some fun suggestions, check out our top wedding buffet ideas below that fit your wedding theme.

1. Barbecue Favorites: Fried Chicken, Mac and Cheese, and Biscuits

wedding menus: Barbecue Favorites

For a wedding food that’s always popular, wow your guests with some Southern charm. Fill the air with the smell of sizzling food, perfect for an outdoor wedding reception. This wedding menu will please meat-eaters and vegetarians alike.

2. Waffle Table

wedding reception foods:Waffle Table

One of our top choices for wedding dinner buffet ideas is a waffle table. This unconventional choice will impress and refresh your guests. Pick a selection of savory and sweet toppings that everyone will love. You could even hire a special chef to make everyone’s waffles to their liking.

3. Pizza Platter

cheap wedding food idea:Pizza Platter

Who doesn’t love this Italian classic? A pizza party makes fun food for a wedding reception. Lay them all out or stack them up like a wedding cake. For an extra special touch, hire a traditional pizza oven so your guests can order their own.

4. Taco Table

wedding reception food ideas on a budget:Taco Table

If you love Mexican food, load your buffet tables with fabulous taco mix. From beef to chicken, this simple wedding dinner allows everyone to make their perfect meal. Mix up the mojitos and prepare for some antojitos!

5. Sausage Chive Pinwheels

 food for wedding reception:Sausage Chive Pinwheels

These tasty treats are like the sausage rolls we all love but dressed up for your big day! They won’t look out of place among your dishes for a wedding reception with their stylish looks. You can also prepare them yourself, so they make great DIY wedding reception food.

6. Salad Bar

 Salad Bar
Source: Bour3

A selection of salads can be the unsung hero of buffet ideas for weddings. Allow guests to combine their own ingredients buffet-style so everyone can choose their preferred reception food. Keep things interesting with some warm toppings and different dressings.

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7. Donut Station

Donut Station
Source:Marzouq Almosawi

Donuts are a new popular wedding food. It’s easy to display these colorful treats by stacking them or even presenting them on a pegboard. With different colors and sprinkles, donuts are one of the best and most beautiful wedding reception foods on a budget.

8. Bagel Buffet

Bagel Buffet
Source:Erik Mörner

If you want easy banquet food ideas, why not try some delicious bagels? This versatile food can be sweet or savory and pre-made or DIY. They’re such a fun meal for any time of the day, so they’re a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

Finger Food Ideas for Wedding Reception

Many hors d’oeuvres can be made by you at home and are fantastic to serve at cocktail hour. These wedding food ideas can be classic but also include non-traditional wedding food. Prepare them before your big day to keep the event stress-free.

1. Veggie Roll-Ups

Veggie Roll-ups
Source:Maria Janicki

Keep your summer wedding fresh and elegant with gorgeously-presented crisp vegetables. Veggie roll-ups are super easy to make, and your guests will love them.

They’re the perfect food idea for a wedding with vegetarian attendees or anyone who wants a lighter bite. Definitely a must on your wedding food list!

2. Bacon Bar

Bacon Bar
Source: Eli

For wedding reception buffet menu ideas that will please the meat fanatics, choose a bacon bar for a taste explosion. Go for classic bacon flavors like smoked or peppered. Mix them with something more daring like brown sugar or maple syrup, and voila! You’ve got an instant hit!

3. Meatballs

Source: Uros Zunic

This traditional wedding dinner is not just for spaghetti. Put meatballs on sticks, and they make delicious hors d’oeuvres too! You can do so much with them: serve them plain or with melted cheese. Let your guests dip their own in a classic Italian ragu sauce or something spicier.

4. Baby Lobster Rolls

Reception Dinner Ideas: Lobster Roll
Source: Laura Duris

Get a taste of New England with this wedding finger food. It’s hard to find a meal more luxurious than a mini lobster roll. These bite-sized delights are a unique food idea that will make your day truly special.

5. Grilled Cheese Bites

reception food ideas:Grilled Cheese Bites
Source: TheLunchBelle

Wedding food doesn’t come much cheesier than this. These traditional snacks are the perfect symphony of the melty delicacy and toasted bread. Pick different kinds of fillings and have fun with unconventional combinations. It’s certainly a unique wedding food!

6. Apple Balls with Sausage

Apple Balls with Sausage

These reception dinner ideas are excellent finger food and perfect for cocktail hour. Sausage and apple are a delicious pair, combining salt and sweetness in harmony. Finish them off with a cocktail stick to match your theme.

7. Custom Signature Ice Cream Sandwich

Custom Signature Ice Cream Sandwich
Source: Karon Liu

Unleash the creativity of your family and friends with an ice cream sandwich bar. Your guests will love customizing their own frozen delights.

In particular, kids will love this choice, so it’s a fantastic accompaniment to a family-style wedding reception menu.

8. Cronuts

best wedding food ideas:Cronuts
Source: Johnny Wangjpg

What’s better than a croissant and a donut? Why the cronut, of course!

This French and New York crossover is no longer only in high-end shops, but many people have never tried one. Their rareness makes them a fabulous addition to your wedding menu foods list!

Wedding Food Bar Ideas

Wedding food bars and carts are becoming increasingly popular, and the variety is immense! From popcorn to potatoes and biscuits to brunch. Anything you can dream of, you can turn into a wedding food bar. Here are some ideas we’ve dreamed up for refreshments for a wedding.

1. Tapas Bar

Tapas Bar

These traditional Iberian snacks can make an amazingly diverse selection of wedding reception foods. Have a mixture of hot and cold plates ready for your guests for a delightful Spanish-style savory pick and mix. Sophisticated and elegant, tapas brings fine dining to your reception food ideas

2. Biscuit Cart

Biscuit Cart
Source: Michael Leuty

If y’all love Southern cuisine, show it with an all-American biscuit cart for wedding dinner food. Make sure there’s plenty of sausage and gravy to go around and provide different toppings for some variety. Jams and other spreads also make great alternative toppings for this comfort food.

3. Brunch Bar

Brunch Bar

At your wedding, it can always be brunch o’clock! This alternative is one of our fairly modern wedding food ideas, as the craze for brunch just keeps growing. You could serve pancakes, a full fry-up, or a Continental breakfast with delicious pastries and fruit.

4. Ice Cream Station

Ice Cream Station
Source: ingrid eulenfan

Why not choose an ice cream station for a fun summer wedding menu idea? Keep your guests cool as they pick out flavors, sauces, and toppings.

A retro pinstriped ice cream parlor makes an adorable and fashionable wedding food bar. Without a doubt, it’s a fantastic outdoor wedding food choice!

5. Oyster bar

outdoor wedding food:Oyster bar
Source: Masaaki Tsuyuguchi

For an elegant wedding buffet, oysters are a perfect choice. They’re the ultimate aphrodisiac, so they will undoubtedly get everyone in the mood for romance. This luxurious option is a popular food at weddings and one that your guests talk about forever!

6. Popcorn Bar

Popcorn Bar
Source: Todd-Nagel-Open

If you’re not a fan of salads for weddings, here’s a more fun option! Different popcorn flavors are trending as a healthy snack packed with potential.

Select gourmet versions of the classic cinema snack to impress your guests. Think chocolate and orange or maple bacon. The sky’s the limit!

7. Potato Bar

popular wedding food:Potato Bar

Fries – curly, straight, wedges. Tater tots and potato smilies. Jackets filled to the brim with exciting toppings. The humble potato can really pull its weight when it comes to people’s favorite snacks! So bringing them all together is a fantastic option for food for weddings.

8. Sweets Station

Sweets Station
Source: Edwige Grivet

Add a touch of magic to your big day with the delight of a sugary station. Indulge your sweet tooth with candy, cookies, and cakes. This easy reception food requires no preparation. Just lay it out and stack them candies high!

Wedding Reception Food Ideas on a Budget

Let’s face it. Weddings can cost a bomb. But our fantastic wedding buffet menu ideas on a budget will satisfy your guests’ stomachs as well as your wallet. Your family and friends won’t be thinking about the cost of these fabulous wedding reception dinners!

1. Fried Asparagus

Fried Asparagus
Source: Catherine-Poh-Huay-Tan-1

Asparagus might come off as quite the fancy wedding food, but it can be deceptively on the budget! Make colorful canapés, wrap it in ham, or simply fry with butter and lemon. These delicious shoots will leave everyone satisfied without breaking the bank.

2. Soup

Source: Photoantenna

Looking for fall wedding food ideas? Soup is warming, hearty, and very easy to make. Choose a couple of options for a crowd-pleasing but inexpensive wedding food idea. Serve with crusty bread and butter for guaranteed success.

3. Spaghetti

Source: Sabre_apprentice

He shyly pushes the last meatball towards you. You’re both eating the final string of spaghetti and meet in the middle with a kiss. Simple pasta can be both cheap and romantic. Just make sure you supply everyone with enough napkins to enjoy this top wedding food.

4. Fish and Chips

easy wedding reception food:Fish-and-Chips
Source: Catherine-Poh-Huay-Tan-4

For beach wedding food with a touch of British class, look no further than fish and chips. It makes an excellent comfort food and is bound to lead to nuptial bliss! Takeaway style or as a sit-down meal, the choice is yours.

5. Fajitas

Source: IstvanMiskolczi

Fajitas are a great wedding reception food idea on a budget. Classically, fajitas come with beef. But the couple can let their imagination run wild with whatever fillings your guests will enjoy. Load the table with healthy veggies to keep this affordable option on the budget.

6. Burgers

Source: Tigercop2k3

Finally, this all-American classic is one of the best wedding food ideas as it is so flexible. Let your family and friends select their own toppings and order their meal from a burger van. Or build a tower of mini sliders as big as your wedding cake!


Now you’re probably bursting with wedding food ideas, so it’s time to get planning! Ensure that you have a wide range of options so that all your guests dig in!

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