8 Mouthwatering Sides for Your Wedding Reception Meal
When you’re planning a wedding, you want everything to go perfectly. The venue and your caterer should be on time and ready to go. The time you spend prepping to walk down the aisle should be fun and full of your best friends and family members in your bridal party. Your wedding will be a celebration, especially if everyone is having a great time.
Your guests ultimately won’t care what colors you choose for your wedding scheme or what you write in your personalized vows. Besides cheering on your happily ever after, they want to know they’re in for some delicious food and a memorable reception. You want to be sure everyone will love your reception meal, which can become more difficult as your guest list grows longer.
You don’t need to waste any more time over figuring out if people will prefer chicken over beef. Read on to learn about the best mouthwatering, crowd-pleasing sides you can have at your wedding. There will be something for everyone, so you can relax and enjoy every part of your wedding along with your all guests.
1. Freshly Steamed Veggies
Your guests will have a variety of dietary needs, so make sure when you send out your invitations, you ask everyone to RSVP with their dietary restrictions included. If you already sent them out, you can ask people individually over the phone or social media.
Freshly steamed veggies are always a safe bet to have for any group meal or dinner party. The standard vegetables are broccoli, carrots and cauliflower, but you can mix it up with other vegetables, too. They’ll go with any main entree, are safe foods to eat with most allergies and can be the option for vegetarians to load up on.
2. Creamy Potato Salad
Potato salad might come to mind readily if you’re picturing a picnic, but it’s also a fantastic side for a wedding reception. Hardly anyone will admit to not liking potatoes, and those potatoes get even better with cream and the best spices. Try to make the classic variation, so you have a foundational side. People can make it what they want with the other sides and table spices available.
Don’t forget corn is a perennial favorite, always there to save the day. You can serve it as loose kernels or straight on the cob. Wondering if your food might be too high-end for corn on the cob? It’s a side that even pairs perfectly with lobster, since they can both come drenched in butter. Corn on the cob is a feel-good side adults and kids will equally love. Look into getting corn on the cob skewers, so people don’t get as messy while eating it. They’ll be a major lifesaver for guests who don’t want butter all over their fingers.
4. Macaroni and Cheese
Who doesn’t love a hot plate of mac and cheese? It’s another crowd-pleaser that’s extremely versatile. You can dress it up if your wedding will be at a five-star venue by going with Gouda cheese or make it more casual with cheddar or white cheddar. Have fun picking out what noodle shapes you prefer! It’s one of the most popular foods, and it’ll be just as welcome at your wedding.
5. Steaming Baked Potatoes
Another easy-to-serve side for even the pickiest eaters is the baked potato. Serve your main dish, give everyone a baked potato or two, then set up a topping bar. Everyone can top their potatoes however they like, loading them up with all kinds of delicious foods. Potatoes are also a good choice because they go with any meat. Even if your main course is baked fish, it will pair perfectly with a baked potato.
6. Never-ending Pasta Bar
People go crazy for pasta, so why not include it as a side in your wedding reception meal? Like the potato, it’s budget-friendly and a little bit can serve a lot of people. Make sure to have a few different sauce options so they can top their pasta with whatever they prefer from a pasta bar or have a couple of pasta options on your menu. Another bonus of having pasta in your reception meal is that it quickly fills people up, so you won’t need to worry about having large batches on hand.
7. Vinaigrette Salad Greens
There’s a good reason almost every restaurant has a house salad on their salad or side menu. Pairing fresh greens with some veggies and topping it with a lovely vinaigrette dressing makes a staple dinner item. It won’t trigger any dairy allergens because the dressing isn’t cream-based, so any guest will be able to have it along with the main feature of your meal. Salads are also a flexible side. You can top them with whatever you like to make them complement the flavor of your main foods.
photo by Bajan Wed Vendor Xsperience Weddings
8. Fancy Dinner Rolls
Dinner rolls are another classic side to include with meals, but make sure it’s not your only side. Many people have gluten sensitivities, so it should only be a minor side. Serve it before the main meal or as an extra food your guests can grab on the way back to the table. Go big and get the rich, well-made bread and not the kind of rolls you can find on the discount shelf at a grocery store. Otherwise, it’ll be a waste of a side because it won’t feel like it lives up to the occasion of a wedding.
You might be able to go all-out and make the fanciest sides for your wedding, but the food that will genuinely be mouthwatering for guests is familiar food made correctly. Don’t be afraid to stock up on staples like fresh veggies, salad and pasta. Throw in some fun foods like corn on the cob if it makes sense with what you’re serving.
Once you spend some time picturing all this food coming together, you’ll find the right sides for your reception meal. Don’t feel pressured to create a menu worthy of a restaurant. Whatever you’d normally order for yourself will be perfect for your wedding, since it’s a day celebrating you and the person you love most in the world.
Kacey Bradley is the blogger behind The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Along with writing for her blog, she has written for sites like U.S. News, SUCCESS, Ruffled, and more!