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Wedding evening etiquette – when and what to serve your guests

Wedding catering can be pretty straightforward for daytime reception guests. Whether you’re serving a traditional sit-down meal or buffet, you must ensure evening guests are catered for as well. Unfortunately, evening guests are often overlooked. It’s partly down to miscommunication between the wedding planner and the catering company; sometimes, you just don’t think about them. So, what should you serve to your evening guests and when?

Buffets can be useful for evening receptions and party guests

Buffets are the easiest option when it comes to catering for evening guests. Of course, everyone has an opinion over this, but if you've had daytime guests and have already served a sit-down meal, few will want another. It might be easier to choose buffet-style catering for the evening. Daytime guests can nibble when they feel hungry, and the evening guests are fed too. When you’re working out the wedding catering, it’s important to have a separate option for evenings. This will ensure there is sufficient food for all guests, day, and night.

Snack foods are the best wedding catering options for evening guests

Simple snacks are all that’s needed for evening guests. Most will already have had something to eat before they arrive anyway and probably won’t want a huge meal. Snacks are easy to nibble on and there are lots of options to consider serving too, such as sandwiches, mini burgers, hot dogs, and more. Wedding catering doesn’t need to be overly complicated.

A live cooking station

Wedding catering can be relatively simple if you offer great variety. You could bring some entertainment to the guests by offering them a live cooking station. Chinese and Thai dishes could be made by a chef in front of the guests, or paella, chicken, and more. This wedding catering option is viable and different. Plus, it might be useful if you aren’t keen on a traditional buffet selection.

Always have a dessert tray

Whether children are attending the evening party or otherwise, guests should have a sweet treat available. A dessert tray can be perfect. You can lay out lots of little nibbles which is great for those who don’t necessarily want another meal. You could make the wedding cake available to the evening guests too.

When is the best time to serve evening guests?

This depends on when the wedding took place. For instance, if you were married at noon and the daytime party started at 1.30 pm, you probably want to serve the evening food at around 6.30-7.00 pm. For later weddings, 8.00 pm – 9.00 pm might be more sufficient. Wedding catering doesn’t have a set time because every event is different. It really depends on your wedding times and how many guests will arrive at night.

Make life easier for yourself

Every bride and groom get into a panic over catering, including what should be served and when. It’s understandable, especially when you have day and evening guests. Often, evening guests are overlooked, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Simple snack foods and buffet-style options are more than sufficient for your evening guests. Wedding catering can be incredibly simple.


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