Wedding Catering Options Explained *

Wedding Catering Options Explained *

Image by May Iosotaluno. See more of this real wedding here.

Location, decor, catering…oh my! There are many big decisions that go into bringing your dream wedding to life. For all the foodie couples, we’ve got you covered. From plated meals to food trucks—get ready to feast on endless wedding day catering options. We’re taking the stress out of planning by explaining all the info you need to know about wedding catering in one place. 

Before choosing your caterer, you’ll need to have your venue booked and understand any limitations that they’ll have on the vendors you’ll be able to hire. If you’re unsure about how to find the perfect venue for your wedding, check out our venue guide. Then, come back and read through all of the options available to feed yourselves and your wedding guests.

Different Meal Styles

Once you’ve selected your venue, consider the type of meal you’d like to entertain your guests with. Keep these in mind on your catering journey to ensure that there’s no confusion between you, your wedding dream team, and your guests.

Plated Meals

If you’re looking for a formal, served meal, this option is for you. Plated meals typically include three courses: appetizer, entree, and dessert. Though this adds an intimate nature to your wedding, keep in mind this type of meal comes with extra planning and preparation—from formulating a seating chart to collecting guest’s food choices and dietary restrictions (typically from their RSVP). Then, you’ll need to communicate these to your caterer. 

Passed Appetizers

Couples wanting a more relaxed reception—without sacrificing plentiful and delicious foods—should opt for a passed appetizer option. Typically passed appetizers are combined with the cocktail hour and include bite-sized snacks that are served by catering staff. 

Images by Lindsay Hackney Photography. See more of this real wedding here.

Hors D’oeuvres 

From charcuterie tables—also known as grazing tables—to sliders, hor d’oeuvres have become a popular wedding food option. This is a perfect meal selection for couples looking to combine food presentation and taste to enhance their reception. Usually set in a buffet style, guests can come and go as they please and have the choice of endless food options. This is sure to add a relaxed vibe to any wedding day, without having to sacrifice mouth-watering foods. 

Cake and Punch

A fun and budget-friendly catering option is a “cake and punch” reception. Instead of serving your guests a full sit-down meal, you jump right to wedding cake and drinks—we’re all for skipping straight to dessert. This is a perfect option for late-night weddings or short and sweet celebrations. 

Image by Emily Battles Photography. See more of this real wedding here.

Catering Styles Vary

You’ve selected the meal style fit for your wedding vibe and theme, now it’s time to determine execution. There are catering styles fit for every couple and every wedding size. Whether you’re wanting a hands-on catering experience or wanting to assemble a team of industry professionals to take the reins, you’re sure to find a catering style here that is perfect for you. 

Venues With In-House Catering 

If you’re searching for ways to simplify your wedding planning process, some venues offer in-house catering. This style of catering means the venue takes full reign of the catering duties from setup to tear down, and everything in-between. No extra time needed to coordinate between the caterer and the venue—it’s already done for you. Of course, you’ll still be able to work with the in-house catering team on the menu.

DIY Catering

With weddings getting smaller, more couples are opting to DIY major elements of their weddings—like decor and food. Maybe you love cooking and want to prep the meal yourselves, whatever the reasoning may be, do it yourself catering is always an option. By going with a DIY approach you’re able to directly control the flavor and outcome, without having to sacrifice quality. 

Hire a Caterer 

Hiring a top-notch caterer is one of the easiest ways to reduce your wedding planning stress. A professional caterer will take care of the procurement, planning, cooking, and cleanup. The caterer will also impact your reception experience by limiting your wedding day work. This way, you can be present and soak up all of the memories. 

Consider reaching out to your favorite restaurant as a fun way to show off local dining to your guests. 

Image by May Iosotaluno. See more of this real wedding here.

Food Trucks

Options, options, and more options. If you’re dreaming of a relaxed reception vibe with a variety of food options, food trucks are an ideal catering option. This can also be an easy way to appease many different dietary restrictions and preferences. Whether you’ve got vegans or gluten-free guests, there are trucks for everyone. 

This style of catering also adds fun to any styled reception, not to mention the endless food options that are offered on wheels nowadays. 

Cocktail Party Reception 

A cocktail party reception means skipping the meal and instead indulging in a variety of hors d’oeuvres and drinks. Cocktail party food opens the door to creativity. This can mean an oversized charcuterie table or passed appetizers. This reception food option is perfect for couples looking to customize every part of their reception—from the food options, to the decor—and for couples that want their reception bar to be the main event. 

Images by Epic Love Story. See more of this real wedding here.

There is no better way to kick off your marriage than with a reception that is authentically you. From the wedding catering options to the reception drinks, every element should be a reflection of you, your partner, and your union. If you’re searching for ways to make your reception unique without breaking the bank, you won’t want to miss these tips for decorating your reception space on a budget

 

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8 Questions To Make A Wedding Playlist *

8 Questions To Make A Wedding Playlist *

Music is the soundtrack of our lives. Whether you’re jogging down the street with wireless headphones or baking bread in the kitchen, there’s something special about the impact music has on those who can hear it. On the most important day of your life—ahem, your wedding day—how do you decide what should be included in the soundtrack? We’ve got a foolproof set of questions to help you make a wedding playlist as perfect as your day. 

Don’t Forget Music Creates Emotions, Choose It Wisely

The music you choose creates and enhances the emotions felt by you and your guests whether you’re on the dance floor or having dinner. “Can you imagine eating a nice meal with a Pitbull song in the background? If the music doesn’t match the moment, things feel off. When you make a wedding playlist it needs to fit what you want your guests to experience. The whole night should have a soundtrack that feels like you as soon as you hear it. If you’re not excited, as the couple, then no one will be,” says Mark Maya Photography, an expert Junebug member. 

couple dancing

photo by Les Bandits

1. What Would We Dance To?

After you’re officially married, what songs will you want to dance to? Imagine that you are a guest at your own wedding. What do you want to hear? Add some songs that will make you smile, add songs by your favorite artists, and add the songs that are inside jokes between you and your partner.

2. What Do Your Guests Want?

It’s okay if everyone doesn’t love every single song on your playlist. That will help the ebb and flow of your bar line—your bartenders will thank you later—and it will also give your guests a chance to breathe during songs they aren’t familiar with. 

Junebug member and wedding planner, Mirabella Weddings, has the perfect suggestion for how to easily pull this off. When you send your invitations, include space on the RSVP for guests to put a song they’d like to hear at your wedding. This is a great way to make your guests feel involved and ensure you always have someone on the dance floor! 

Junebug Tip

If your grandmother is going to your wedding and she sends you a song, you can bet she’ll be ready to boogie to it. Make sure her request is on the playlist.

wedding party dancing

photo by Nikk Nguyen

3. What Songs Are Popular Right Now?

You know what songs are popular right now, even if you don’t listen to the radio. Even if you think these songs are overplayed on the radio, you want them on your playlist—hear us out. Their popularity will mean that your guests have heard these songs and are familiar with them. When they’re familiar with these tunes, they’re much more likely to hit your dance floor

4. What Songs Are You Loving?

London-based Junebug wedding planner, The Bijou Bride, had great advice for songs you can’t get enough of. She says, “Set up a shared playlist through Spotify, iTunes, Prime, or Tidal and every time you hear something you love, add it to your playlist. The issue most couples find is that their song selection adds up to more time than they actually have available on the wedding day! This is where starting early really helps as you’ll need to allow time to sort through your lists and allocate to the parts of the wedding day they suit best.”

4. DJ, What Do You Suggest?

Of course, making a wedding playlist will never be as important as hiring an expert wedding DJ. However, creating this playlist can help bridge the gap between your wedding music expectations and reality. 

With the experts in mind, we turned to our industry pros and asked them, what does it take to make the perfect playlist? We loved what Junebug members Benjamin T Warner Events had to say, “music can make or break your celebration and helps set the tone and energy throughout the day.”

wedding dj image

5. What Genres Must Be Played?

At your wedding, you’ll likely have a broad list of guests. Keep folks from all ages in mind as you load up songs that are going to ignite their inner ‘dance floor is my stage’ fire and be appropriate for everyone to hear. 

6. What’s On The Kill List?

Mirabella Weddings, Junebug expert wedding planner, has more expert advice regarding your wedding playlist. She says, “It’s certainly important to think about songs you definitely want to be played—it’s also equally important to make it clear which songs you absolutely don’t want to be played.” You should communicate this to your DJ and band in advance to avoid any panic on the dance floor. 

Remember, in the end, that you’re creating a playlist to celebrate your partnership, so your wedding music should be chosen as partners. This means if your partner says there’s no way you’ll be hearing Ice Ice Baby, you’ll need to compromise and keep it off the list. 

7. Are There Enough Slow Songs?

Make sure your playlist includes a ratio of one slow song for every six songs. Give your new spouse time to slow dance with you while making sure not to neglect the other styles of songs. You’ll want to make sure to include a good mix of cheesy dance songs like Gangnam Style or Macarena to warm your guests up for sing-along songs like Sweet Caroline or We Are Family

Junebug Tip

When planning for changes between songs, make sure to add some flexibility. Junebug members, Happy Together Films, advise that couples be prepared for the unknown, especially now. “For example, if the weather changes and you need to move indoors, think about whether your venue will have room for your guest to get loud and dance or if you need to control the crowd once inside.”

first dance

photo by Nick Plus Danee

8. Do We Want To Listen To This All Night?

Once you’ve answered the questions above, scroll through your playlist and ask yourselves if you want to listen to this playlist—without skipping tracks—for the whole night. If the answer is yes, it’s ready. You’ve made a wedding playlist!  

Music creates the mood and ambiance of your wedding. Striking that perfect balance can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. We’re here to help, and we’ve created a wedding playlist guaranteed to please—and get guests on the dance floor. Check it out for inspiration while you’re waiting to hear back from our expert wedding DJs.

 

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10 Amazing Vermont Wedding Venues *

10 Amazing Vermont Wedding Venues *

Planning a Vermont wedding? Don’t miss these incredible reception sites! Though just a select few of the many wonderful places to tie the knot, these properties showcase all the reasons why couples keep coming back to the Green Mountain State. From mountainside resorts and cozy inns, to lakeside estates and functioning farms, there’s a little something for everyone! Nestled on 700 beautiful acres in the heart of the Green Mountains, this working farm is the destination for an elegant rustic wedding. The property has six restored barns, multiple lodging sites and still functions as a working farm. Riverside Farm serves a limited number of weddings per year to create a truly exclusive experience. This lakefront venue is a private escape that you and your guests will simply love.

The restored Inn showcases quintessential Vermont charm with modern amenities to ensure the utmost in comfort. The lawn offers ample reception and ceremony space, while the house itself can accommodate up to 32 overnight guests. So many mountains, so little time! Stratton Mountain Resort is one of the state’s premiere ski and wedding destinations. The resort’s indoor event spaces and accommodations reflect the cozy elegance of an alpine lodge. Outside, you can enjoy mountain views and activities year round. Located in the center of picturesque Warren Village, this Relais & Chateaux inn is an intimate destination wedding venue. An expert wedding planner, on-site gourmet chef and helpful staff will bring every aspect of your vision to life. You’ll love the refined decor and sumptuous rooms and suites.

Enjoy a mountainside resort with the spirit of a country homestead. The resort is set on 350 acres overlooking views of the surrounding Green Mountains and lake. Multiple ceremony and reception sites offer options for celebrations of any size. Amenities include a private beach, pool, luxe accommodations and year round activities for outdoor enthusiasts. This luxury bed and breakfast specializes in elegant weddings set in the countryside. The lawn is perfect for open air ceremonies and tented celebrations. Inside, you’ll find well appointed guest rooms, a spa and dining space to enjoy cuisine from the chef, owner. The property also has a barn space for larger events. Celebrate in the heart of the storied Northeast Kingdom. This country estate is located just outside of Burke Village overlooking the Willoughby Gap. The property’s many perks include hilltop ceremony sites, an expansive lawn, rose gardens, gourmet dining, comfortable guest rooms and the newly renovated Morgan Horse Barn.

Tucked on the shores of Lake Champlain just outside of Burlington, Shelburne Farms is a pastoral gem. The property has two incredible event venues: The Coach Barn and The Inn. Both offer polished country decor, restored architecture, open air ceremony space and views of the sparkling lake. The perfect choice for couples seeking a private and laid-back atmosphere. This summer camp on Lake Fairlee doubles as a beautiful wedding venue. You and your guests will enjoy exclusive access to the 20 cabins, Main Lodge, six tent cabins, waterfront and grounds all weekend long. The Main Lodge offers ample space for up to 170, while the lawn can cater to parties even larger. Locals and visitors alike have been vacationing and celebrating at this historic resort for over a century. Today, the Basin Harbor Club also serves as an elegant wedding escape. The property has several indoor and outdoor event spaces to choose from, each outfitted with quintessential New England decor and views of Lake Champlain.

 

19 wedding sing-along songs get guests belting their faves *

19 wedding sing-along songs get guests belting their faves *

wedding sing-along
Photo by Urban Light Studios
I want to include a group sing-along song, as part of my ceremony. Were it a traditional wedding, it’d be a hymn, but it’s going to be completely non-religious. So, I’m hoping for some suggestions of songs that are:
  • Of a romantic nature
  • Easy to sing
  • Well-known by a variety of people from different walks of life
-Cassan

Sing-alongs have a way of making people happy. Non-dancers have something joyful to do and dancers can belt out the song while they boogie. Just standing together and breathing in unison (as you naturally do when you sing together) creates a sense of togetherness that’s hard to beat.

A good sing-along has memorable words, or at least a couple of memorable lines people can jump in on. They can’t require a huge vocal range and they must have a catchy tune. Older songs are fine, especially if you have multiple generations on your guest list. Some guests will remember the song from the Top 40 list of their youth, and others may know it from a recent movie.

The song should be pretty popular, though, at least with your crowd. Familiar songs are more likely to get everyone singing.

Our list of the 19 best wedding sing-along songs

Here’s a list of perfect sing-along songs, along with the artist. Click through to hear samples or buy the songs (you may want to buy the files — streaming services are notorious for flaking out at critical moments!!)

  1. “All You Need Is Love,” by the Beatles
  2. “Rainbow Connection,” by Paul Williams (as sung by Kermit the Frog)
  3. “So Happy Together,” by the Turtles
  4. “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” by Marvin Gaye
  5. “Brown Eyed Girl,” by Van Morrison
  6. “That’s Amore,” by Dean Martin
  7. “Lady Marmalade,” by the Pointer Sisters
  8. “Fight for Your Right to Party,” by the Beastie Boys
  9. “Don’t Stop Believin’,” by Journey
  10. “Lean on Me,” by Bill Withers
  11. “Marry You,” by Bruno Mars
  12. “I’ve Had the Time of My Life,” by by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes
  13. “Stand by Me,” by Ben E. King
  14. “A Thousand Years,” by Boyce Avenue
  15. “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” by Elton John
  16. “Eres Tu,” by Mocedades (for Spanish speakers)
  17. “Best of My Love,” by the Emotions
  18. “The Way You Make Me Feel,” by Michael Jackson
  19. “Wonderwall,” by Oasis

You might prefer Willie Nelson for “Rainbow Connection” or The Supremes for “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” Go with your favorites.

How to get people to sing-along at your wedding

How can you encourage people to sing along? Briavael and Nikki printed lyrics on their program and handed out kazoos to make sure non-singers had a good way to join in.

Play the music loud so nobody has to feel self-conscious when they sing. Call it a “holler-along” song to make it clear that you want the love, not the musical ability.

If you have strong singers in your group, ask them ahead of time to lead the sing-along. With or without a microphone, a confident singer (who got a heads-up so they could remind themselves of the lyrics) can make it easier for everyone.

Are you choosing just one song? That might be all your guests want to sing. On the other hand, some might need a couple of songs to warm up to the idea — or they might be having so much fun they want to keep singing. You know your friends and family best. Consider having one for-sure song, plus another you’ll pull out if people are really enjoying themselves.

Listen — really listen –to the lyrics of the song or songs before you make your choice. Often, we don’t realize that there’s a sad section in a favorite song. And that might not be a deal-breaker. Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” is a popular song at weddings in spite of all the “lonely heart” lyrics. But make sure you know ahead of time so you can make an informed choice.

With the right songs and the right spirit, your sing-along might be the most memorable moment of the wedding.