Hottest New Buffet Trends – Be Traditional & Please the Crowd

burgers and fries. Cocktail Receptions
Reading Time: 4 minutes

There are so many options when it comes to reception food and one of the most important memories you want to make is how amazing the food was at your wedding! Not to mention, allergies, selective guests and people who only eat certain types of food – it can be difficult to please every palette.

The buffet is one of the most popular choices for the wedding meal. Including a buffet in your reception makes planning easier, can save you money by eliminating wait staff, and gives your guests more options than just the chicken or the fish (unless you include just chicken or fish on the buffet).

Planning a buffet gives you a lot more flexibility for your reception, and you have so many choices for what to include. Here’s a look at some the traditional choices, some of the favorites, and some of the hottest new trends:

Traditional Buffet

Traditionally, reception buffets have included one or two meat options, a pasta, perhaps an additional meatless option, and a few sides, including vegetables, potatoes, and some type of bread. The two meat options are usually some kind of chicken and then either a beef or chicken. Chicken is offered as the healthier alternative for those worried about cholesterol or watching their waist lines. These are the traditional options because they appeal to the largest audience, they are relatively budget-friendly, and they offer a nice variety. There’s no harm in adapting a traditional menu for your buffet. Your guests will enjoy their meal.

Wedding Crowd Pleasers

One way to ensure that your buffet – whether traditional or not – is a crowd pleaser is to include some variation of favourite menu items. For example, chicken parma tends to go over well in every crowd. Chicken generally fits in with everyone’s dietary restraints, and the combination of the breading, sauce, and cheese makes for a delicious and satisfying meal. You can include chicken parma on a traditional spread or even as part of some of the new menu trends, such as by creating a locally sourced option. Other favourite options include pasta of just about any kind, comfort foods like pizza and hamburgers, potatoes of just about any kind, and veggie dishes that are topped with cheese or a savory sauce. Think about all the foods you love and chances are good that your guests will, too.

Latest Trends

Modern couples have played around with wedding traditions to create something unique and more suited to their personal tastes. Incorporating some new trends gives you the chance to do something different for your wedding and give your guests an experience that’s not the same as every other wedding they’ve been to in the past.

The Breakfast Menu

Breakfast foods are very popular right now for weddings at any time of the day. Who doesn’t love breakfast food? You can include everything from an omelet bar to parfaits on your breakfast buffet. These breakfast bars have become especially trendy at the wedding “after parties”. These hot celebrations are held on roof tops to watch the sun rise after dancing the night away at wedding receptions. A great place to enjoy breakfast together and keep the party going as the sun comes up!

Local Produce

Using locally sourced and in-season foods is also popular, and you can do that for any kind of menu that you want to create. You just need to hire a caterer who knows how to get items from local farms and who can create a menu with seasonal items. You can create a traditional menu or pick from one of these other trends.

Food Trucks

Food trucks are very popular right now. Instead of having the buffet at a table inside, you can offer a moving buffet in which guests can go to the food truck of their choosing and order what they want. You might hire a couple of food trucks to be on hand, and you would just pay the bill after everyone has ordered and the drinks stop being served.

Personal Chef

Another way that couples are changing up the traditional buffet is to have a chef or someone else preparing food at a station instead of putting out already prepared foods on a table. You can hire someone to do just one dish, such as whipping up fresh guacamole and salsa or making sushi. Guests will be entertained as well as satiated.


Some people would rather just focus on the “favorites” of the reception – desserts! Sure, cake is great but offering guests a bevy of sweets ranging from homemade cookies to gourmet ice cream. A bar that offers endless topping choices for ice cream sundaes and the like, are the real stars of the show at wedding receptions this year.

Candy Bars

Candy “bars” have also become an easy and fun guest favor station. Areas with every type of favourite candy and chocolate you can imagine for guests to scoop and take home with them is one of the most popular bars to date. All of the greats from Licorice to Twix, something for everyone, all in one spot! A simple way of showing appreciation to guests without having to create, wrap or work on favors.


Finally, your buffet doesn’t have to be limited to foods. Consider adding a drink buffet also. No, this isn’t just an open bar. The drink buffet can include a variety of local sodas and juices, specialty craft beers, or different kinds of coffee and herbal teas. Make the drink buffet special by creating an attractive presentation and including as many different options as your space and budget allow.
The buffet is a popular choice for wedding receptions for a reason. Everyone loves to have control over their own dinner choices. Just make sure it is interesting for your guests by including some interesting dishes or some classic favorites. Keep those guests with special needs in mind as well! A good meal will go a long way to helping your guests enjoy your reception.



Author Heather G

Heather is serious about weddings. She is also the senior writer for two annual magazines, and prides herself on quality work with fast results

More posts by Heather G

Stay in The Loop!

Receive the latest news & competition information

Your details will not be passed onto any third parties