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There are many things that you do for your guests on your wedding day: you provide a festive dance floor, you encourage them to get a little tipsy, and you even show them exactly where to sit for dinner with an adorable little card. But arguably, the most important thing that you do for your guests on your big day is that you feed them. Unfortunately, wedding food ideas are often a bit of a bummer. Dry chicken, soggy salmon, and long buffet lines… oh my!

The food you serve on your wedding day is important — it keeps Uncle Sal from getting too buzzed at cocktail hour, it makes your guests feel taken care of, and it keeps you from getting hangry on one of the more stressful occasions of your life. From the traditional plated dinners to decadent full raw bars, the food your guests indulge in can make or break their opinion of your wedding. Of course the goal of your wedding is not to get rave reviews from everyone, but keeping the people who took time to celebrate your love (and probably invest some cash in your future) an excellent food situation. Don’t be afraid to get creative, but do keep everyone’s palates in mind.

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1. Tacos and Tostadas
Whether you’re setting up a DIY taco bar, or asking a seasoned chef prepare a variety of tacos for tables to share family-style, everybody loves Mexican food. Going all out? Add some tostadas and fresh guacamole to the mix. Ideally, your bartenders know how to make a mean margarita to accompany the meal.

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2. Lobster
Yes, lobster gets expensive quickly, but so does any wedding dish. And who doesn’t love lobster? (Aside from your cousin with the shellfish allergy.) If you’re having a summertime backyard wedding, keep it casual and order a whole bunch of lobsters to boil and serve. Yes, lobster gets messy, but custom wedding bibs are also super adorable.

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3. Barbecue
If you’re on a budget, but you want to serve food you know your guests will love, organize family style of buffet barbecue. Contact local joints to see if anyone could even bring a smoker to your outdoor wedding. Pulled pork and mashed potatoes have never disappointed. Plus, BBQ is great at soaking up alcohol.

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4. Pizza
Pizza at a wedding can feel like dessert at the end of a meal: do you really need it? Yes, you do. Another crowd pleaser, pizza at cocktail hour or brought out towards the end of the reception is a great way to keep people happy and full.

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5. Bread, Cheese, and Meat
Good cheese, some charcuterie, and hunks of baguette are a great way to keep your guests satiated during cocktail hour. They’re indulgent, but isn’t indulgence the point of going to a wedding?

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6. Oysters
Another big ticket item that will go over well with any group. Investigate local oyster farms to see if you can’t score a deal on a batch of raw oysters and hire someone to help shuck them. Don’t forget the accoutrements!

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7. Soft Pretzels
Every wedding should have a salty food that absorbs the open bar available to guests. A soft pretzel stand complete with mustard bar is a delicious idea, especially for a German wedding.

8. French Fries
Another staple food that can be either casual or classy, include some pommes frites and sauces at your wedding. You can even have french fry bar!

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9. Burgers
Having a burger at a wedding sounds counterintuitive, but there are multiple ways you can bring a meat sandwich to your party menu. Live in California? Why not have In-n-Out at the reception’s end? Want to keep it classy? Try sliders instead — just make sure they’re actually good. A burger is also a decent sit-down plated dinner menu item. People love burgers.

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10. Nachos
An excellent addition to any cocktail or after-party menu. Add a hot sauce bar for good measure, and be sure the ‘chos are coated in adequate cheese.

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12. Dumplings
Soup dumplings, pot stickers, wontons… any deliciously filled carbohydrate is fine by most guests. Another idea? Family-style Szechuan food at the table. Ideally with a lazy susan involved.

Written by: Kimmy Foskett

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