Piece of Cake: Catering Made Easy


hen I sit down for a wedding consultation, the first thing I say is, “Tell me about your event. What is your vision? How do you want this event to feel?” These may seem like overall planning questions, but they play a huge part in the catering choices. The food choices, the presentation, and how to serve all play a role in the overall feel for your reception.

When should you start thinking about catering? It should be on your mind from the very beginning. Catering is one of the largest wedding expenses and needs to be considered right off the bat. How many people do you expect will attend and what is your budget? Do you want to serve alcohol? Do you want disposable dishes or would you like China? Do you want the food delivered and dropped off, or do you want the caterer to provide service? All of these decisions affect the feel of your wedding reception. You will want your catering choices to reflect the style you’ve set for your event. When you first start thinking about the fun stuff like colors, flowers, music, and dresses, remember to think about the food as well.

If you are planning a wedding on a budget, consider a 2:30 or 3:30 ceremony. This will put your reception between lunch and dinner and guests will not expect a meal. You can serve a variety of appetizers and could offer a dessert bar along with the wedding cake. This gives you some sweet and savory options but keeps your menu and your budget a bit smaller.

Casual Wedding Catering

  • Pub mix
  • Fruit and cheese
  • Finger Sandwiches or Sliders
  • Potato or Pasta Salad
  • Mixed Green Salad
  • Meatballs

Early evening ceremony with a budget-friendly menu 

  • Select one protein: chicken or pork
  • Fresh Garden Salad
  • Starch: something to compliment your protein source (potato or mac n cheese)
  • Vegetable: mixed vegetables, carrots, or green beans
  • Yeast rolls

An Elegant Affair

  • Select two or three proteins. You can put these on the RSVP and have your guests let you know in advance which they prefer if you’d like to have a plated dinner.
  • Having your appetizers butler passed allows you to slow things down a bit during the cocktail hour and adds an additional level of elegance to your reception. Consider having a fruit and cheese display or raw/roasted vegetable display as well as two or three passed items. This can be decided based upon the number of people you expect and your food budget.
  • The catering staff can preset salads towards the end of the cocktail hour. Once the bride and groom arrive, guests may be seated and begin enjoying their salad course while either the tables are released to the buffet or the catering staff begins serving a plated meal.
Whether you spend a lot or a little on food, the presentation and service will add to the creation of your reception vision.

Tracy Hellriegel began her career in marketing and advertising and later morphed her project management skills into wedding planning. After moving to Rome in 2009, Tracy started Weddings of North Georgia and became a full time, full-service wedding planner. In 2015, Tracy joined the staff of Harvest Moon Catering as their staff wedding planner.

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