Image from Isobelle & Edward’s real wedding
A small buffet fits perfectly into any wedding schedule – either as nibbles to keep the hunger pangs at bay while waiting for the main meal, or as a little extra for the guests to fill the time while the photos are being taken, or as a late-night snack attack rescue when everyone has been dancing for hours. Here are some fantastic alternative buffet options for your wedding – all budget-friendly, all fun, and all guaranteed to be a big hit! Remember – keep it tiny and tasty.
Ice Cream Buffet
Image courtesy of Smith’s Ice Cream Van
What you need: ice cream, toppings, cups and cones
Easy peasy, and if you think it only works for summer weddings, you’re mistaken – you eat ice cream all year round, so why not at your wedding? A simple option is hiring a special cart or van that’ll come loaded with everything you need – or you can arrange the buffet with the venue/caterer, as cold storage will be required. Toppings may include chocolate sauce, toffee or cherry sauce, then add chopped-up fruit, colourful candy, sprinkles, chocolate flakes, crumbled biscuits, whipped cream, and anything else you fancy.
Crêpe or Pancake Buffet
Image courtesy of greenweddingshoes.com
What you need: Crêpes or pancakes, sweet and savoury toppings
This buffet can be done simply or extravagantly, so choose your favourite option! Crêpes or pancakes are traditionally served with lemon and sugar, syrup, or jam. That’s really enough for a nibble buffet. If you want to go that extra mile, add Nutella, grated cheese, nuts (careful about allergies), fresh fruit, cinnamon, real maple syrup… the possibilities are endless! A sure hit with all guests young and old, they’ll be disappointed when it’s all gone! The buffet can be provided by the venue, or hired as a cart.
Cheese, Crackers and Fruit Buffet
Image courtesy of justrainbowsandbutterflys.blogspot.co.uk
What you need: Varieties of cheese, crackers, fruit
This is like a cheese board at a restaurant, but bigger. Instead of having a cake made of cheese – have cheese served as separate wheels, or pre-cut, plus a variety of crackers, and heaps of grapes. For a touch of colour, you can add other fruit that goes well with cheese, such as apricots and honeydew melon. Sour cherry jam also goes brilliantly with this option. Yum stuff.
Savoury Buffet – Cold
Image courtesy of chef-in-training.com
What you need: Popcorn, crisps, pita breads, tortilla chips, a variety of dips (sour cream, salsa, hummus), dipping veggies (peppers, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, celery sticks)
Think of any party you’ve been to where a similar selection of snacks had been served – it went down a storm, right? Guaranteed to work for your wedding! Nothing to cook here, so it is very easy to lay out, all you need is lots of bowls and some platters, and the more colourful foods you have, the better. This buffet is extremely budget-friendly, and a perfect appetiser. For some unusual flavours, try finding some dip recipes online – you wouldn’t believe what tasty stuff you can make at home from the most basic ingredients! Another plus – this buffet works all year round.
Savoury Buffet – Warm
Image from Sarah & John-Paul’s real wedding
What you need: Mini pork pies, peas, chilli, potato wedges (or any kind of potato really), pickles, chutneys, black pudding, bacon and cabbage, cottage pie portions, any pasta dish, coddle
You’ll need your venue or caterer to help here, but it’s no big deal – just keep in mind the mantra “everything in miniature”. This is nibbles, not the main meal! If you keep the dishes traditional, it could be a wonderful taste of Irish cuisine for guests who may have never had an opportunity to try it – they’ll rave about it for sure!
Image courtesy of heartloveweddings.com
What you need: Tiny burgers, buns, burger toppings, condiments
This is a burger buffet – the tiny patties need attending to, but the rest of it is a DIY job – guests get their buns, then their burgers, then they top them with anything they want: lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, cheese, bacon bits, mushrooms, BBQ sauce, ketchup, mustard, mayo… throw in some onion rings too if you’re feeling adventurous. Depending on the size of the burgers and how long the guests will have to wait for the main meal, allow approximately three burgers per person.
Image courtesy of pizzaranch.com
What you need: Pizza, and more pizza
Nice and easy does it – a variety of tiny pizzas with various toppings, and they’re really easy to do for vegetarian and gluten-free guests too, as pizza can be made in any incarnation. If you feel this needs something more, add tiny bruchetta bites, pizza bagels, garlic bread, and dips. But trust us – even if you just keep it to the pizza, it’ll go down a storm.
Image courtesy of unitedwithlove.com
What you need: A single paella or a choice of two, crusty rolls, fresh sliced tomatoes lightly drizzled with olive oil
If you have an option to serve multiple paellas, it’ll be easier to appease the guests with food intolerances – so make sure to take that into consideration. This doesn’t have to be a huge meal – again, remember this is just a nibble before the main meal. A small bowl per person, with some lovely fresh crusty bread to dip, will be ideal. The side of tomatoes is an option you may or may not choose to add, but they pair up beautifully with the hot paella.
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If you think the bride should always have the last word, then Rachel is on your side! A devoted fan of everything quirky, unusual, colourful or crafty, she loves scouting WOL's real weddings for unique and fun touches. When not gazing at pictures, she's dispensing no-nonsense advice on everything from reception entrance songs to bridesmaid problems.