Thinking Outside of Chicken & Mashed Potatoes - Unique Wedding Menu Ideas

Let’s visit the most classic wedding day menu of all time:

Chicken or beef

Mashed potatoes
Sautéed squash

Sound familiar? This is a popular dish with catering because it can be made in bulk and easily modified to ‘fancy’ things up with ingredients such as lemon, capers, mushrooms, white wine sauce, and au jus.

While there is nothing wrong with sticking to the classics, today’s blog post is all about thinking outside of the box when it comes to your wedding menu.

A while back I wrote a blog post about the ‘All Apps Wedding Reception’ which may be worth visiting as well if you are looking for some truly fresh ideas!

This post is for couples looking for unique wedding menu ideas for plated (or buffet) receptions.

Read on friends!

Photography by  Nick Sparks , Catering by  Footers Catering

Photography by Nick Sparks, Catering by Footers Catering

Unique Wedding Menu Ideas


There are plenty of great catering companies here in Colorado (and I have several recommendations to share!), and many of them can do some positively fantastic things (even if you are on a smaller budget for food).

With catering, you may want to look past the basics (which is what they most commonly offer on their tasting menus). Some examples of ‘thinking outside of the box’:

Fire-roasted shishito peppers with Sriracha dipping sauce
Truffled french fries

Chicken & Waffles with maple-bourbon sauce

Pulled pork sliders with homemade picked slaw

Pan-roasted fresh local trout with lemon and dill

Be sure to chat with your caterer (or with me as your wedding planner!) about fun and unique ways to present tasting spoons, desserts, and cheese platters. Many rental and catering companies have access to fun things such as donut walls, s’mores tables, and tasting spoon displays.

Photography by  Dawn Sparks,  Catering by  Occasions Catering

Photography by Dawn Sparks, Catering by Occasions Catering

The Taco Bar

A taco bar is a welcome meal for guests, that allows people to define the meal exactly as they wish.

As an added bonus, if you are on a budget, a taco bar can be done for less if you are willing to use a local restaurant or franchise (Qdoba, anyone?).

A taco bar wedding reception spread might include:

Margarita marinated chicken
Fire grilled steak

Sautéed fresh peppers and onions
Spanish rice
Handmade sauces and guacamole

A selection of shells and tortillas

Make it truly personal by also offering a selection of hot sauces for guests to experiment with and try! Find them at local craft and farmers markets from local producers, and place a few on each table.

Photography by  Dawn Sparks , Catering by  Occasions Catering

Photography by Dawn Sparks, Catering by Occasions Catering

Be Inspired By Your Heritage

Look for ways to honor your heritage, even if you both come from completely different backgrounds.

It can be really unique and fun to honor two different cultures at the same time by working with your catering company to create a tasting plate or progressive ‘around the world’ menu.

Be Inspired By Your Favorite Foods

There is nothing wrong with offering gourmet burgers (paired with a selection of tasty local beers), mac & cheese (with fun toppings to choose from), or lobster rolls with plenty of butter!

Your guests will love the delicious comfort food, and it will make your wedding extra memorable.

Photography by  Simply Love Co

Photography by Simply Love Co

Go Farm to Table

Serve your guests family style (this is great for outdoor receptions at laid-back venues!) and encourage them to mingle together over a selection of fresh, local food.

A farm-to-table meal should be presented on platters for everybody to sample and pass around. Foods should be fresh and inspired by local availability.

Bring in the Food Trucks

A food truck isn’t always the best choice, because they struggle to keep up with the volume of guests trying to get their meal. They can also be tough to nail down for a planned event, as they risk losing out on spontaneous opportunities (say, parking outside of a ball game).

They can be a really fun option however, if you are thoughtful about it, and can be a really fun choice for pizza, appetizers or desserts!

Still looking for some unique catering inspiration for your Colorado wedding?

Send me a note! I plan weddings in Colorado and Cancun, Mexico and would be thrilled to sit down with you and toss some ideas around that will make your day personal and beautiful.


These are some of the amazing Colorado vendors from the weddings highlighted in this post.

Nick Sparks Photography
Footers Catering

Travis Darnell Photography

Dawn Sparks Photography
Occasions Catering
Simply Love CO

Wanda Bonner