Why Wedding Food Bars are the New Buffet

Weddings are grand events, and the trend is for couples to create unique and memorable experiences for their guests. The betrothed couple’s families spend months – sometimes a year or more — planning every detail from the dress, to the venue, to the feast. The center of any good party is delicious food; historically, wedding food has ranged from cake and champagne to extravagant, multi-course meals.Over the last few decades, wedding buffets became popular because they can handle a hungry, large group of guests. Catering companies often have a large selection of meals available, which makes it easy to please a variety of palates; however, it can get expensive when trying to provide enough food to keep everyone happy.

Savvy couples are opting for a simpler, cheaper solution: wedding food bars.

So, what are wedding food bars, and why are they quickly taking the place of the traditional buffet?

Food Bars for Wedding Receptions

A wedding food bar is similar to a buffet, in that it offers a variety of food choices for the guests; however, food bars usually consist of small portions, candies, or snack foods.  Typically, each type of food is separated into decorative jars, bowls, or plates, so that the guest can customize their snack to their specific tastes.

So how are food bars really different from traditional buffets, and why are they so popular?


Just a few short years ago, not offering your wedding guests a meal was a huge faux pas. As the economy ebbs and flows, wedding guests have come to understand when their loved ones choose a more economical option food bar option. Wedding food bars offer guests something to snack on without the substantial out-of-pocket expense.

Personal Touches

One of the best things about food bars is that they are incredibly customizable. You can pick foods that you and your soul mate love or something that tells the story of how you met. If you met at a ball game, have a food bar that’s centered around stadium foods like mini hot dogs, popcorn, and peanuts. If you’re having a winter wedding and have a soft spot for hot chocolate, set up a hot chocolate bar with peppermint sticks, cinnamon, whipped cream, and other fun toppings. Your guests will love getting to see a piece of your personal story, and they’ll have fun creating their own treats.


Another reason to choose a food bar is its flexibility. It’s easier to please everyone’s sweet tooth or provide a salty snack than to try and pick a meal that all of your guests will love.

Additionally, you don’t need much space to set up a food bar. A simple folding table with a tablecloth, or a vintage refurbished dresser, even a couple of bar stools with different levels of glasses filled with candies work perfectly.


Food bars are also a great way to keep your guests entertained while you get pictures, chat with friends, or put your feet up for a few minutes during the festivities. Because the food bars allow your guests to build their own experiences, they’ll enjoy it much more than a buffet of standard food.

Need Wedding Food Bar Ideas?

If you’re not sure what kind of food bar you want at your wedding reception, check out these sweet food bar ideas:

  • Trail mix
  • S’mores
  • Donut
  • Pretzel
  • “Late Night Snack”
  • Pickles

The possibilities are limited only by your imagination, so get creative and have fun!

If you’re looking for the perfect wedding venue for your special day, then contact us at the Essex Room. We look forward to helping you create the wedding of your dreams.