If you’re considering hosting an Italian-themed wedding, you already know that food is going to play a major role. We know Italy is known for fast sports cars, fashion, the Coliseum, and Leonardo Da Vinci. And then there’s the food. Yes, Italian food, one of the most popular cuisines known to the world. But with so many regional options and variations with Italian, we wouldn’t be surprised if you’re losing sleep over your wedding menu. But don’t worry, we’ve got some Italian wedding menu ideas on what to serve from start to finish.
During the first part of the wedding reception, it’s common to serve cocktails along with some small bites. While it doesn’t have to be cocktails specifically (you can stick with wine and beer), your guests will surely appreciate some light refreshments to get started. Cocktail hour is the perfect time to serve an “apertivo” to compliment the drinks.
As the name suggests, cocktail hour is more about the drinks than food, so some small nibbles like olives, cheese, nuts, and bread are perfectly fine to keep your guests munching on something. This is the time for your guests to have their first drink, get acquainted, and say hello to other guests.
We know schedules are never set in stone. There’s a good chance that you might need extra time to take your wedding photos which means the cocktail hour will surely go over an hour. However, by this point your guests might have moved on to their second drink and appetites are starting to awaken. Now would be the perfect time to serve up something more substantial but informal as your guests are still walking around the venue and socializing.
Depending on your wedding venue’s setup, you can have waiters walking around with trays serving appetizers, or you can have a designated area where your guests can help themselves.
For your apps, you can go for some classics like bruschetta, bread with an assortment of Italian cheeses, cold cuts like prosciutto and other cured meats.
If you want to be a bit more adventurous, you can add in some goat cheese, prosciutto, and melon on top of a crostini. If you’re having a wedding during the warmer months, try serving something refreshing like a shrimp cocktail.
Now that your guests have had a chance to mingle and have a few bites to eat, they’re ready to take their seats and take part in the more formal parts of your reception. And of course, they’re also looking forward to eating some real food.
Start your guests off with a choice of salads. You can go for some of the more traditional Italian salads like a Caesar Salad or a Caprese Salad with some greens tossed in with sliced mozzarella, tomatoes, and balsamic.
For the guests who appreciate some slight bitterness in their salads, try an Arugula salad with walnuts and gorgonzola.
Everyone has different pallets and giving your guests a few salad choices is a great way to keep everyone happy and still stick with your Italian themed wedding.
Entrees usually consist of a meat or fish dish. You have many options when it comes to Italian entrees, from the more familiar like Chicken Marsala to other beef, pork, and fished-based dishes. For example, you can have a grilled fish with artichoke caponata or Swordfish prepared Sicilian-style.
Pasta and Italy are synonymous with each other. Although pasta is usually served as “primi plato”, a first course, in Italy, you can substitute it as a main dish.
Pasta choices are unlimited: lasagna, penne, linguine, risotto dishes, and much more. The day there’s a pasta shortage, we might as will call it the end of humanity.
Some good selections for pasta entries can be a Bow-Tie Arrabiata with spicy tomato and fresh basil. If you want to try something with a white sauce, you can serve your guests a creamy based pasta like Tagliatelle Alfredo with garlic and mushrooms. Want something a bit meatier? Maybe something with bacon? Try a Tagliatelle A La Carbonara. Carbonara dishes are usually prepared with egg, hard cheese like Pecorino, and guanciale, which is similar in preparation and texture to bacon.
What’s a wedding reception without dessert? Though you probably have a wedding cake that’s too beautiful to eat, you can also satisfy your guest’s sweet tooth with other tasty treats.
Italians have many options when it comes to desserts. If you’re hosting a wedding during the summer months, what a better way to have your guests cool off with some gelato. Set up a gelato bar where your guests can choose their flavors and savor their ice cream desserts on their tables or anywhere else at the reception venue, including the dance floor (though this could get messy).
How about something a bit less casual? Serve your guests a classic Italian dessert like Tiramisu, or better yet give them an assortment of different Italian desserts like pastries, mousses, and other decadent chocolatey (or non-non-chocolatey) options.
Compliment the dessert hour with some espresso and other coffee options.
How About Pizza at Your Wedding?
So where does pizza fit in in all of this? Although we usually eat pizza as a casual meal on its own, you can certainly “dress” it up for your wedding so that it’s served in an appealing, appetizing, and elegant manner. We’re not talking pizza delivery here, but rather pizzas prepared on the spot. The best part is that, well, who doesn’t love pizza? It’s delicious and more satisfying than your typical wedding fare. It’s also more budget-friendly than other dinner options.
With pizza, your guests can choose the toppings they like, and they can watch them be prepared in front of their own eyes.