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40 Wedding Menu Ideas for Summer – Brides

4 minutes, 17 seconds Read

Planning your menu for a summer wedding is one of the most important tasks to check off your to-do list. Whether you opt for a buffet-style reception or a plated meal, there are so many options to choose from. And while the format of your dinner (or brunch) service definitely matters, the food you select is even more important. “You want your guests to indulge but also feel good when eating at your wedding, so spending time on your menu creation and asking your caterer questions is crucial,” says Shaivi Sukhadia and Oscar Garcia of Sukhadia Caterers.

Meet the Expert

  • Shaivi Sukhadia is the owner and director of catering and Oscar Garcia is the executive chef at Sukhadia Caterers, a premium wedding and event caterer in South Plainfield, New Jersey, that’s been in the business for 20 years.
  • Stephani O’Connor is a culinary specialist with over a decade of experience in the industry. She is also the former culinary director of The Peached Tortilla, a full-serve South Asian fusion restaurant and catering business in Austin, Texas.

If you’re at a loss for what to serve at your cocktail hour and wedding reception, luckily, you can use the season to inspire your menu. In the summer, there are so many delicious fruits and vegetables that are at their peak, from tomatoes and eggplant to peaches and watermelon. By selecting dishes made with ripe ingredients, you’ll create a fresher, more flavorful spread, while putting together a cohesive event that coordinates with the time of year. Just remember to plan a well-balanced menu with a variety of items, per Sukhadia and Garcia, so everyone feels nourished and energized. And since your friends and family will be wearing formal attire, make sure that the cuisine isn’t too messy or difficult to eat.

To get the full scoop on the best food to serve at your celebration, we called upon our rolodex of caterers, chefs, and culinary experts. Keep scrolling to learn expert-approved tips and tricks to embrace the flavors of the season, plus 40 mouthwatering wedding menu ideas for summer.

Tips for Planning Your Summer Wedding Menu

To help you choose the best items for your summer wedding menu, we asked the experts to share their must-know tips for planning your dishes.

Make It Interactive

Look for ways to make your big day even more special by adding interactive food stations. Not only is this display unique, but it will also encourage your guests to get up, move around, and mingle with one another. “Especially in summer, stations are a big deal for us, and they just keep getting more popular,” culinary specialist Stephani O’Connor says. “We put together a lot of fun, interactive stations for weddings. The more interactive, the better.”

Graze a Little

Grazing tables are trending in the wedding space, and they’re especially impactful at a summer soirée. “Taking a whole table and filling it with a variety of food has become so popular,” O’Connor mentions. Select your favorite meats and cheeses, and pair them with nuts, melon, berries, and other in-season options to create the perfect lineup. Grazing tables give your guests the opportunity to nibble as the day goes on without making them feel like they need to sit down for a full, heavy meal.

Stay Fresh

Incorporate fresh flavors into your passed appetizers or stations, and consider greeting guests with something light as they arrive at the ceremony. “Summer always brings menus with fresh, seasonal food, incorporating more berries, melons, and a lot of fresh herbs,” O’Connor explains. “Whatever is fresh in season at the time, we definitely use a lot of it.”

Keep It Light

Since many spots in the summer season are hot and humid, the last thing your guests want to consume is a heavy, rich meal that will make them sweat even more. “People tend to want things very fresh and very light,” O’Connor points out. For instance, sushi and grilled fish are fresh options that won’t weight anyone down. If you’re serving pasta, O’Connor recommends using a browned butter sauce instead of a thicker, cream-based one.

Add Herbs

In addition to seasonal fruits and vegetables, the summer season gives way to numerous in-season herbs, such as basil, dill, mint, cilantro, oregano, rosemary, and thyme. “Make sure your wedding menu includes fresh herbs, either used in the recipe to give it that flavor or as a simple topping to complete the dish,” Sukhadia and Garcia advise. Maybe this looks like a homemade pesto sauce blended with basil or a tossed salad topped with cilantro.

Focus on the Presentation

The way in which you present these summer dishes will make them even more appetizing. Plus, the display can pull your event together and reinforce your aesthetic. Sukhadia and Garcia suggest adding color and texture to your spread by decorating with fresh fruits and vegetables, whether it’s lemon slices on top of your roasted salmon entrée or fresh blackberries on your blackberry crumble.

40 Wedding Menu Ideas for Summer

With these key tips in mind, we put together a list of wedding menu ideas that will inspire you when selecting your summer wedding feast.

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