I'm Donna Marie
An inclusive adventurous destination wedding and elopement photographer livin' in upstate New York. I'm here to empower all couples to create an intentional wedding day that focuses on the experience and the feels.
In the midst of planning your elopement or intimate wedding one detail that can get lost between the ceremony, the scenery, and the logistics is: the food. Definitely do not forget about the food. I may always have snacks on hand for all my couples to stave off any hangry tendencies (and because I’m an avid snack enthusiast), planning what will be for lunch or dinner is an important detail of your wedding. Whether your elopement features just the two of you, or a handful of family and friends, there are number of dinner ideas you can include on your celebration day.
Depending on what details you’re including in your day, you may have to do some of the box thinking and problem-solving to find an answer. First things first, your day is about you, so don’t settle for a meal if it’s not going to be something you enjoy just because you know it’s what will make your guests/family/friends happy. It can be really stressful to find meal choices that accommodate everyone, but truthfully, planning food for 2-15 people is waaay easier than planning to feed 100+ guests at a traditional wedding reception! Deciding to elope or have an small wedding opens up some really fun food options that will really add to the overall experience of your wedding day.
Head to your favorite bar or brewery after your ceremony for some comfort food and cozy familiarity. If you’re getting married with just the two of you, or a handful of close friends or family, you can absolutely enjoy your favorite bar foods and maybe a round or two of darts with your new spouse!
Garland City Beer Works—Watertown, NY
Beak and Skiff Apple Orchards— Layfayette, NY
Anything But Beer—Syracuse, NY
It’s a relatively simple idea, but it’s one that is sure to be a hit when it’s your favorite. Make a reservation ahead of time. Most restaurants are more than happy to accommodate a newlywed couple on the day of their wedding.
Explore the area you’re getting married in and check out some of the locally owned restaurants. This is one of my favorite options because you’re helping support the local community. There are a few here in the north country that you may find as your new favorite place to eat:
Empire Square—Watertown, NY
Tin Pan Galley—Sackets Harbor, NY
Farm-to-table is a phrase that can mean different things to different people. At it’s core, farm-to-table means that the food served comes directly from a specific farm—no market, store, or distributor along the way. It’s means to emphasize the relationship between a farm and a restaurant, which helps local farmers keep more of their hard earned profits versus paying for it to be marketed to grocers or the like.
A few northern NY faves include:
Farm To Table Bistro—Rochester, NY
The Brine Well Eatery—Syracuse, NY
The Hub Real Rood Market and Eatery—Tupper Lake, NY
Take out pizza, wood fired pizza, cheap pizza, fancy pizza or (my personal favorite) a pizza truck. The best thing about this option is that you can have the food delivered, or set up right at your chosen location and the choices are sure to please everyone celebrating with you.
(Or Ice Cream Truck, or Donut Truck.) Seriously, the option of having any kind of food truck is always going to be one of my favorites because its adds a whole different layer of experience to your wedding day. And let’s be real, your wedding should be a fun, tailored to you experience. This is one of those dinner ideas that will always be fun.
Pull out all the stops and make a super awesome charcuterie or cheese board. Everyone loves a picnic. Some couples that I’ve worked with opted for this route and it made for a great time, and even better photos. Alternatively, I recently had a couple opt for a full salad bar for their dinner service. This way their friends and family weren’t bogged down by a heavy dinner and still engaged in yard games and dancing. Pack everything up in a backpack or basket, bring along some chilled wine and enjoy the day.
This is another one of my favorite options because it really adds a touch of intimacy to the experience having a professionally cooked home meal is chef’s kiss (pun intended). This works especially well if you’re getting married at a family property, or Airbnb and want to spend your wedding day at one location. Sometimes staying in is the answer.
If you have a rental cabin or Airbnb kitchen at your disposal, or if you’re eloping close to home, you can always host the dinner pot-luck style (if you’re having a few guests), or (if it’s just the two of you) make dinner together yourselves. This can be one of the best ways to try new foods if you’re a foodie. You can also make it themed if you’d like, for example comfort foods, or family tried and true recipes.
Catering is always an option if none of the other options appeal to you. There are many restaurants who will provide amazing meals for any number of guests, or for just the two of you!
If you’re opting for a smaller gathering, 10 or fewer guests, you can also choose to cook together and make it an experience for you and your family/friends. Granted, this can be tricky if you have a smaller kitchen.
You can hire it out, or do the grilling yourselves. Either way, it’s going to be a dinner that everyone will enjoy. Cooking together offers you, your partner, and your friends and family time to bond and gives the day a more relaxed vibe.
You don’t have to offer a full-fledged meal, you can absolutely offer hors d’oeuvre or light snacks—or maybe you’re making your elopement a movie night where you all watch your favorite movies on a large projector and you have an abundance of theatre snacks!
So there you have it! 10+ dinner ideas for you to consider for your wedding day. Did you find one that speaks to you? Have one that I didn’t list? Let me know!
No matter what kind of meal you decide on for your elopement or wedding day, make sure it’s one that you’re going to enjoy. Your dinner doesn’t have to be the conventional three course meal if you don’t want it to be. Aside from dinner ideas, you’re going to want to consider what to offer for dessert!