When most people think of the word ‘bar’ in association with a wedding reception, it’s in terms of an open bar or cash bar. But what we’re talking about here isn’t (necessarily) booze; it’s more about loading up buffet tables with food fixings and letting the guests create their own masterpieces. Some are dessert, some are a main course, but they’re all a fun and delicious way to get more out of your wedding reception.
For a brunch wedding, you can’t go wrong with a waffle bar. Rent a few of the waffle irons and batter dispensers–the kind you’ll find at continental breakfasts in hotels–and you’re set for the main course. Then add plenty of topping possibilities: fresh fruit, jam and jelly, different flavors of syrup, whipped cream, peanut butter, even chocolate sauce. The kids will be delighted, and the adults will have fun eating like kids again.
Baked Potato Bar
I recently attended a wedding that was mid-day; it was a little too late for lunch at the reception, and a little too early for dinner. The bride and groom instead had a baked potato bar set up for the guests to stuff themselves, and nobody went away hungry. You can really go crazy with potato toppings: butter, sour cream, and chives are must-haves, of course. But then add bacon bits, cheese, chili, red bell peppers, even avocado. Since they’re gluten-free and can be vegetarian they make a great dish for kids and adults alike. Add a few side dishes, and it can stand in for your entire reception dinner!
Most receptions have a bar that serves beer, but in this case we mean a wide selection of beer for sampling, rather than one or two kegs for general consumption. Odds are your city has a homebrewers’ club or two that might be up to the challenge of providing several craft beer selections for your reception guests. All you need in addition are plenty of 4 oz tasting glasses, and your guests can make their own beer flights.
A great punny way to give your guests a memorable wedding favor is to stock a buffet table with dozens of different types of candy and let each guest create a custom mix. All the brightly-colored candy makes for a fun display, and the bags themselves will be a sweet reminder of your special day.
Ice Cream Bar
Nothing will take your guests back to childhood like a fully-stocked sundae bar. Whether you go for banana splits, cones, or simple scoops, make sure to have several flavors they can choose from and all the toppings you can think of: hot fudge, whipped cream, cherries, graham crackers, marshmallow fluff, sprinkles, and more. Let your guests indulge in a decadent dessert and they’re more likely to get up and dance when the music starts.
It’s all well and good to do a fancy table-service meal at your reception. But with any of these bars providing an option for fully personalized face-stuffing, your guests are sure to leave stuffed and satisfied.