Alternatives to the Sit Down Dinner

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A Different Approach
Creative Alternatives to the Sit Down Dinner
By: Laurin Fegley AfternoonTea_2566075b


Looking for some different, out of the ordinary ideas when it comes to the food offerings at your reception? Below you will find suggestions that will cover the gamete from A-Z and everything in between.

International Food Stations

Not sure what to serve your guests? Why not have a selection of buffet tables each with a different food specialty? You can turn a simple item like soup or a salad or even tacos – into a fabulous and fun experience that guests won’t soon forget! Doing it this way, everyone can have their favorite food, from fish or meat to pizzas, pasta or even a curry. With so many different possibilities, your guests will be able to sample a lot of different foods and will certainly be impressed with all the choices! We usually recommend at least 3 stations for a reception, offering multiple choices to even the most sophisticated palette!

Cheese and Wine

After a late afternoon ceremony, serving cheese and wine at a wedding can be a classy and budget-friendly alternative to a full dinner. Make sure you have a variety of wines and accompany different cheeses with grapes, figs and other interesting fruits. Have a selection of breads with pâtés and cold meats as well and combine this with hors d’oeuvres so you have a variety of sophisticated tastes for your guests to choose from. This a perfect choice for a budget conscience couple

pancake-wedding-cakeBuffet Style Reception

Buffets are great if you’re looking for an inexpensive alternative to a three-course meal. They allow guests to eat at their own pace and take less time and effort than sit-down meals. Buffets also allow you to have a variety of food, as many cuisines as you wish and are an easy way of making sure there is something that everyone will enjoy. A dessert buffet can also work well for a later wedding and is a tasty way to round off the day.


Picnic, not barbeque! This is a great idea for an outdoor spring/summer venue and is a fun way of creating an informal and relaxed wedding that’s perfect for getting your guests to mingle. Why not lay out blankets or decorate your venue with cute gingham tablecloths and fill up pretty picnic baskets with a selection of breads, cheeses, fruits and other sharing snacks? Just uncork some champagne and you’ll have a wedding to remember!


You could serve fondue in round starting with cheese accompanied by a selection of breads and raw veggies followed by an oil-based, meat fondue. This can also be done as a fountain item with soft pretzel sticks, veggies or other cheeses and served with a beer cheese soup flowing through the fountain! Finish your meal with plenty of fruits and marshmallows for your guests to dip into a traditional chocolate version.

Afternoon Tea

Keep your wedding simple and elegant with a fabulous British afternoon tea. Provide your guests with dainty sandwiches, a selection of cupcakes, scones with clotted cream and jam and plenty of champagne. This can be a fun theme to play with and can create a gorgeous, vintage style wedding. This is also a great idea if you’re short on time and don’t want a meal in the late afternoon that will leave your guests too full. A couple of vintage cars would make this a classic party without the full cost of a dinner and everyone will think it was a really special way to celebrate your day!


We all know pancakes are impossible to resist! Why not begin with a selection of savory crêpe options? With a variety of fillings available ranging from cheese and ham to fancy and original recipes, you’ll be sure to cater to everyone as guests can build their own options into their creations. Satisfy a sweet tooth and finish with traditional sweet pancakes for your guests. If you want to create a completely pancake-filled day, why not have a wedding cake that’s made entirely of pancakes, too? (Yes, they do exist!)

picnic Barbeque

Who doesn’t like a barbeque on a sunny day? Barbeques are a lovely choice for summer weddings and can be an inexpensive and different way of feeding your guests. The menu can be as simple or as complex as you like, from sausages and gourmet barbeque recipes to grilled fish and seafood. And we won’t forget some vegetarian options either!

Pig Roasts

Think southern barbeque here – a classic looking buffet with collards and corn breads. Give your wedding a festival feel by choosing a pig roast. Served with apple sauce and stuffing, maybe baked potatoes or salt roasted bliss potatoes? This can be a really cost-effective option, compared to the traditional sit-down meal. You could also serve salads, pasta dishes, potato salad and coleslaw to go with your hog – which also solves any issues with vegetarians.


The Spanish know how to party and a fiesta can be a fun celebration for a wedding. Keep with the theme and serve your guests tapas. Although small, they can still be hearty and filling and there will definitely be something for everyone! Tapas-style food encourages your guests to move around and mingle with others during the meal and you can experiment with lots of different recipes and ideas.