* DIY *

Wedding Reception Menu Ideas

Welcome to DIY wedding reception menu ideas!

White bable setting for wedding reception

If you are planning a wedding menu you already have an idea of the expenses involved in hiring a caterer.  If you have decided to DIY or do-it-yourself, then you've come to the right place.

A wedding reception menu doesn't have to be super formal and expensive. It does not have to be an elaborate sit-down affair with multiple courses or an overloaded buffet table.  

There are no hard and fast wedding reception food rules. If you and your intended love burgers and pizza, then burgers and pizza it is!  Do what YOU like and most of your wedding guests will find a way to be happy. 

By the same token, your wedding reception menu ideas should include something for every taste.  From your vegan and vegetarian friends to your most ferocious carnivores.  And don't forget those persnickety relatives and kiddos. 

If you are planning a DIY wedding reception menu then it's time to enlist the help of the die-hard cooks among your family and friends.  If they love to cook, they will be happy to be part of the festivities.  


DIY: Wedding Reception Menu Ideas

These simple wedding reception menus can be done as a seated service or buffet-style and can also be served as a dinner menu.  See Party Food for more information on styles of service


Spring Menu

This fresh menu will serve at least 50.  Double the proportions to serve 100.  Serve with white wines, craft beers and Sunny Holiday Punch.

Easy Pissaladière
Prepare at least 4 for 50 guests

Fruit, Cheese and Crackers
Purchase at least 10 pounds of fruit and 5 pounds of cheese (depending on other appetizers served)

Buttered Fresh Asparagus

Poached Salmon on Field Greens

Lemon and Chive Orzo

Cookie Table

Outdoor Wedding Reception

An outdoor reception is perfect for a spring or summer wedding.  These recipes serve 50 guests

Spinach Dip
Prepare about 3 batches of the dip

Stuffed Mushrooms
Plan on 3-4 small stuffed mushrooms per person or 1-2 large stuffed mushrooms

Grilled Shrimp Kebabs

Grilled Chicken Breasts

Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce

Fruit and Lettuce Salad

Check out more outdoor menu ideas



Family-Style Wedding Reception for 50

Serve this generous banquet as a sit-down affair serving from large platters and bowls on each table.  Set up a separate appetizer and salad bar and a turkey and beef carving station.

Mini Crab Cakes with Mango Salsa
Prepare at least 3 cakes per person

Savory Chilled Crab Dip
Prepare at least 3 quarts

Fruit, Cheese and Crackers
Purchase at least 10 pounds of fruit and 5 pounds of cheese (depending on other appetizers served)

Tossed Salad Bar

Roast Beef
You will need app. 20 pounds of raw beef; if serving other meats, purchase slightly less

Maple-Glazed Turkey with Bourbon-Pecan Gravy

You will need about 40-50 pounds, uncooked; if serving other meats, purchase slightly less

Au Gratin Potatoes

Green Beans Amandine

Mini Cherry Cheesecakes

Wedding Reception Recipes

Buttered Fresh Asparagus
Serves 50

18-20 pounds fresh asparagus
4-oounces butter, melted
Coarse salt or seasoned salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Break or cut off tough stems. Arrange whole spears in steamer pans or in a small amount of water in shallow pans. Do not overcrowd.  Cook until asparagus are tender-crisp, about 8-12 minutes. 

Place on platters and pour warm butter over hot asparagus.  Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.  

Poached Salmon on Dressed Salad Greens
Serves 20-25
A simple yet elegant way to present this popular fish to a large crowd.  As a main course, plan on one filet per person depending on size of the filets.  Use an assortment of salad greens either fresh or packaged. Top with Dijon Vinaigrette or your favorite bottled dressing

Poaching Liquid
½ cup coarsely chopped onions
Parsley sprigs
Celery tops, coarsely chopped
3-4 bay leaves
3 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2-4 teaspoons sea salt
1 large lemon, thickly sliced
1 gallon of water
16 ounces dry white wine

Olive oil
40-50 salmon filets, about 4-5-ounces each, thawed if frozen
5-6 pounds torn lettuce leaves, packaged or fresh
1 ½ quarts vinaigrette (recipes follows) or other purchased vinaigrette or light salad dressing

Place poaching liquid ingredients into a large stock pot.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat.  Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes to develop flavors.

Lightly oil two large baking dishes.  Divide salmon evenly between dishes. Carefully and evenly pour hot liquid and seasonings over salmon until just covered. 

Bake uncovered at 325°F for 15-20 minutes or until fish flakes easily and reaches a temperature of 145°F when measured at thickest part of filet.  Check often and be careful not to overcook.  Carefully remove salmon from liquid brushing away any excess seasonings.   

Place lettuce leaves on individual plates or on large serving platters if serving buffet style.  Drizzle with some of the vinaigrette or dressing.  Carefully place salmon fillets on top of greens. Drizzle with more of the dressing, leaving some to serve on the side.  

Garnish with fresh herbs and sliced greens onions and serve with a salad of grape tomatoes and croutons if desired. 

Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette
Makes 1 ½ quarts

2½ cups red wine vinegar
3/4 oz chopped chives
3/4 cup Dijon mustard
1½ tablespoons salt
2¾ cups salad oil
2 cups olive oil

Add red wine vinegar, chives, mustard, and salt in mixer bowl.  Using a whisk attachment if available, slowly add oils while mixing on medium speed until well blended.  Refrigerate covered for up to 3 days.


Lemon and Chive Orzo
Serves 50

5 pounds orzo pasta
1/3 cup finely sliced chives
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups light olive oil

Cook orzo according to package directions and drain well.  Combine chives, lemon zest and juice, pepper, and oil.  Stir into hot pasta. Serve hot


Grilled Shrimp Kebabs for a Crowd

The size of these kebabs will depend on the size of the skewers used, which depends on whether you serve the shrimp as an appetizer or as a main course.  Use about 3-4 shrimps for an appetizer and 8-10 for a main course. 

15 pounds  large (31-35) shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on
1 1/2 cups light olive oil
1/2 cup minced garlic
4 tablespoons dried thyme

4 tablespoons dried rosemary
2 teaspoons coarse salt or to taste
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper, or to taste
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes

Combine shrimp, oil, herbs and salt and pepper.  Marinate shrimp in refrigerator for no longer than 2 hours.    Drain shrimp and discard remaining marinade.  Thread shrimp onto flat metal skewers.  

Grill shrimp until just pink, turning once.  Alternatively, broil shrimp kebabs for approximately 8-10 minutes, turning once.  Serve with lime wedges or purchased dipping sauce 


Grilled Chicken Breast for 50

2 tablespoons salt (or to taste)
2 tablespoons black pepper


Equal amount Cajun, citrus or other seasoning blend
50 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Rub chicken breast with seasonings of choice.  Grill for 3-5 minutes or until an internal temperature of 165°F is reached, turning once 


Pasta and Fresh Tomato Sauce
Serves 50 as a side dish

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
5 1/2 pounds fresh, ripe tomatoes, diced
1/2 red wine vinegar
1 cup torn fresh basil leaves
Course sea salt to taste

Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
2 1/2 pounds pasta, such as spaghetti, linguine, mini penne
1 pound Parmesan or Romano cheese, grated

Peel tomatoes before dicing if desired.  Mix oil, tomatoes, vinegar, half of the basil and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Can be made 1-2 hours in advance.  Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions. 

Drain well.  Just before service, taste tomato mixture for salt and pepper and toss with hot pasta. Top with remaining basil.  Serve cheese on the side.  


Your Way Fruit Salad
Serves 50

10 pounds baby or other salad greens and lettuces
4 pounds soft seasonal fruits, such as berries, peaches, kiwi, pineapple

3/4 pound blue, feta or Cheddar cheese, on the side
1/4 pound toasted nuts, on the side
1 3/4 quart salad dressing or vinaigrette

Tear salad greens into bite size pieces if necessary.  Layer greens in a platter or bowl.  Scatter fruit on top.  Serve with cheese, nuts and dressing on the side

Top of Wedding Reception Menu Ideas




Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.