Winter Menu Ideas

Fall's here! Layer up in those soft scarves, pull on some boots, and have your fill of the pumpkin spice lattes, mashed potatoes, and hot apple cider.

But those foods aren't just for fall, and certainly not just for everyday consumption, either. If you're having a winter wedding, comfort foods made from seasonal ingredients are the hot trend.

When you start thinking about wedding menu ideas for your winter gathering, think like you were going to throw a rich and luxurious feast for your guests.

Here are some winter wedding menu ideas that will make your guests salivate just by looking at the menu cards.

Cocktail Hour

If you're going to hold a cocktail hour at your nuptials, offer bite-sized amounts of favorite comfort foods. Many winter wedding brides have recently opted for demi forks with pasta favorites, like seafood ravioli, spaghetti and meatballs, or the all-time favorite mac & cheese coated in breadcrumbs. A more unique twist on the single-bite option would be to offer a mini panini on a stick.

As for drinks, you can always opt for alcohol to keep the blood warm, like mulled wine, heavier beers like stouts, or even ice wines. But don't overlook the seasonal options of hot chocolate, apple cider, or the easy-to-please tea and coffee options.

And if you need more wedding menu ideas for your cocktail hour, try playing around with small soup and salad options, like offering shot glasses of hot soups like pumpkin or tomato!

Winter Wedding Menu Ideas That Everyone Will Love: Cocktail Hour

Photo from Rsms via photopin cc

Soup and Salad

A soup and salad combination is the biggest trend for winter wedding menu ideas, and is a must-have for all couples getting married during the chilly months. Soups can be the same as you offered at your cocktail hour, or they can be different options. Just make sure they're creamy, hearty soups or bisques like cheddar potato, curried squash, or potato leek. Go grander with unique concoctions like Guinness and gouda cheese soup!

As for the salads, you can never go wrong with the classic cranberry, pear, walnut, and goat's cheese (or similar type) salad on a bed of tender greens. Alternatively, work with your caterer to come up with salads that compliment the textures and tastes of your soup or main course.

Winter Wedding Menu Ideas That Everyone Will Love: Soup and Salad

Photo from TheDeliciousLife via photopin cc

Main Course

This is where things get a bit more "Medieval feast" style in terms of the food's heartiness, but with a very modern, gourmet twist in a formal, sit-down atmosphere (think in terms of incredible four and five-star restaurants here). Couples looking at winter wedding menu ideas are really focusing on making a warm impression for the main course, even if it means they have to spend a few extra dollars.

Popular wedding menu ideas for winter include prime cuts of beef like filet mignon, seafood options like baked salmon, and winter or fall game meats like venison or pheasant. Couples are also looking into vegetarian options to offer non-meat-eating guests, such as pasta dishes like cheese-stuffed ravioli.

Whatever you choose, make sure to discuss with your caterer the best sides to pair with the main dish. Don't be afraid to try something different, too, like mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes or risotto cakes of lobster or vegetables (risotto is big this year).

Cultural wedding foods are also being brought into the dining options, with couples working with their caterers to figure out the best ways to incorporate their heritage(s) into the menu.  For example, a Chinese couple may choose to serve Peking duck and follow the traditional eight-course wedding meal.

Heck, if you can't choose what to serve your guests (we don't blame you), just take a cue from the Chinese tradition and serve several small courses! Hardly anyone will object to delicious plate after delicious plate in front of them.

Winter Wedding Menu Ideas That Everyone Will Love: The Main Course

Photo from foodiesathome.com via photopin cc

Dessert

Your winter wedding cake doesn't have to be the only dessert your guests leave the night with. Serve up mini flights (three or more flavor variations) of different desserts so guests can have a variety of tastes on their tongues.

Also make sure you're serving up hot drinks like tea, coffee, and hot chocolate for them to sip on, and consider alcoholic dessert drinks laced with the heavier liqueurs like Bailey's Irish Cream.

You can also skip the dessert all together in favor of unique winter wedding favors like hot chocolate, S'mores, or candy bars. Most guests have a blast picking out their favorite candies to take home or putting together a gourmet hot chocolate drink for themselves. Alternatively, hand out seasonal cookie favors like Speculaas for that sense of home-baked goodness.

Winter Wedding Menu Ideas That Everyone Will Love: Desserts

Photo from Emilie Inc

Your Turn...

Comfort foods take on a whole new meaning when it comes to winter wedding menu ideas. You don't have to stick to the same old steak and potatoes bit at all, and in fact, we'd highly advise against it. Your winter wedding is your chance to really delight your guests, so put some thought into the menu and you're guaranteed to have guests leaving with full bellies and smiles on their faces!

What's your favorite winter food you'd love to have at your wedding?