How to Incorporate Your Wedding Theme into Your Catering Menu

Every year, there are more than 2 million marriage ceremonies performed in the US.

How can you make sure that your upcoming wedding stands out as unique and memorable? One way is to incorporate your wedding theme into your catering menu.

Whether your OBX wedding is in “feet on the sand” on the beach, on a golf course, or at a wedding rental venue, the right caterer can help you create an inspired menu.

Wondering where to start? Read on to learn how to match your catering menu to your wedding theme.

Do Your Research

Before you begin planning your menu, think about your wedding theme. Like a carefully crafted story, you want to weave that theme throughout every aspect of your big day — including the food.

If your theme centers around a movie, book, or character, start by revisiting the source. Look for subtle details in the text or script that you can incorporate into your ceremony and reception.

What if your theme is location-based, such as nautical or rustic? A talented chef and a creative bride can work wonders to incorporate local aspects or themes into the food.

For example, let’s say you’re planning a nautical themed beach wedding in the Outer Banks. A quick internet search yields fun ideas like a Seabreeze cocktail reception and sand dollar cookies.

Now that you’re thinking about food, let’s discuss seven ways to incorporate your wedding theme into the catering menu.

How to Pair Your Wedding Theme with the Menu

  1. Fit the Mood

Every wedding has a distinct mood and personality. Whether yours feels sophisticated, casual, or somewhere in between, your menu selection should match the mood.

Barbecue is a perfect choice for a backyard reception, but it would seem out-of-place in a five-star ballroom. Conversely, caviar or foie gras may not be the right offerings at a casual beach wedding.

Also, consider how traditional (or untraditional) you want your wedding to be. Do you want to serve your guests familiar comfort foods? Or do you want to dazzle them with something unexpected or exotic?

Wanchese Shrimp and Grits Amouse Bouche

  1. Match the Setting

The location of your wedding should definitely factor into your menu selection.

If you’re getting married in a vineyard, offer an appropriate wine pairing with each course. Beachside ceremonies should feature fresh fish, crab, or other local seafood, and we just love being able to get the freshest produce straight out of Wanchese.

Is your city or state known for a certain dish? Feature it! Specialties like Maryland crab cakes or Georgia peach cobbler are sure to delight locals and out-of-towners alike. And you can never go wrong with Chef Wes’ Shrimp & Grits!

Shrimp and Grits in bite size

  1. Go Local and Seasonal

When in doubt, you can never go wrong with locally grown produce or seasonal items.

Let’s go back to our example of a beach wedding in the Outer Banks. To weave your wedding theme into the dinner menu, offer your guests an array of local seafood. This might include yellowfin tuna, rockfish, blue crabs, or sea scallops.

Your wedding caterer will know exactly which items are available and peaking. He or she will have connections to local farmers and markets. Take advantage of that expertise.


  1. Think Global

This may seem like strange advice after the last point, but consider this.

If your wedding is a destination wedding, why not introduce your guests to the local flavors and cuisine? You might also consider offering traditional food or beverages from your or your spouse’s ethnic background.

Or perhaps you and your significant other enjoy the cuisine from a certain foreign country. Why not use this as an opportunity to share your passion and reveal more about yourselves?

Another fun idea? Create a menu based on where you’re spending your honeymoon. Jamaican jerk chicken or Hawaiian Ono would add a fun and unexpected twist to your reception dinner.


  1. Get Festive

Does your wedding fall over a holiday weekend? Incorporate the festivities into your wedding theme – and your catering menu.

Your wedding cake for a Fourth of July wedding could feature red, white, and blue frosting. An autumn ceremony could swap the traditional cake for seasonal fruit pies.

Getting married around St. Patrick’s Day? Show your Irish pride by offering green beer or other green drinks at the cocktail reception.

And a Valentine’s Day wedding might feature candy hearts or other classics like strawberries and champagne.

Fresh Wild Tuna Tataki served at wedding on whalehead club

  1. Themed Drinks

Most mixed drinks have a story behind them. Take advantage of that history by serving theme-appropriate cocktails at your wedding reception.

Tropical favorites like a Mai Tai or a Dark and Stormy are perfect choices for an oceanfront wedding. Dirty martinis or Manhattans are suitable for an elegant, black-tie affair.

Is your wedding more casual? Consider serving a selection of craft beers or liven things up with a whiskey or tequila bar.

You can also have fun with non-alcoholic themed drinks. Fruit-infused waters and homemade lemonade are perfect for hot summer days. Gourmet hot chocolate or apple cider will keep everyone warm during autumn and winter ceremonies.

  1. Piece of Cake

The cake is the highlight of any wedding reception. This is the perfect opportunity to include your wedding theme and express your personality.

Jazz up a traditional white cake with elements of your theme. A nautical wedding cake might include seashells, sand dollars, and starfish. An autumn wedding cake could feature colorful leaves, apples, or pumpkins.

Another popular trend is an assortment of cupcakes instead of one large cake. To incorporate your wedding theme, simply match the colors and flowers from your ceremony to the cupcake frosting and design.

Final Thoughts

The food and drinks at your wedding reception are more than just fuel for the party. They also offer a unique opportunity to express your style and personality.

By matching your menu to your wedding theme, you’ll create a beautiful and one-of-a-kind celebration.

Are you planning a wedding on the Outer Banks? Would you like to work with a professional caterer who will weave your theme throughout the menu?

Contact us at Red Sky Cafe to discuss your vision for your upcoming wedding day.

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