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Gino Spano

You’ve picked the venue and booked it. You’re going to have the rustic barn wedding of your dreams.

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Now you need to begin thinking about the guest list and the menu. You know you’ve got some special dietary requirements, and there will be a few kids joining the square dancers later in the evening. What will you serve to your guests, and how will you make sure they’re all satisfied when they leave at the end of the night?

You want to be sure your wedding menu reflects your venue and your rustic theme. As you begin to mull over your options, check out some of these catering ideas to help you get started.

1. Think about What’s Local and in Season

For your barn wedding, you’re taking things back to the country with style. Whether you want the wedding party wearing wedding boots or something a little more toned down, you’re probably imagining a good “down home” feeling. Food can certainly help you evoke that homey or farm atmosphere.

Ask yourself what grows locally, and what will be in season during your wedding. If you’re getting married in August, corn and peaches are abundant. If you get married in January, you might consider dishes based around root vegetables like parsnips, carrots, and beets.

Once you’ve discovered your ingredients, you can begin sourcing them and crafting your menu.

2. Go to Market at Cocktail Hour

Tie your wedding décor to your menu by creating a farmer’s market feel during cocktail hour. Ask guests to help themselves to hors d’oeuvres set out buffet style on wooden risers. Decorate and accent with bushels and baskets of fresh fruit and vegetables like peaches or apples. Hay bales add another element of rustic chic.

What are you serving? Think about crudités and al fresco options to keep things light.

3. Serve up a Hearty Ranch Feast

When it comes to dinner itself, take inspiration from the ranch hands and cowboys of the west. Ranch-inspired wedding dishes include ribs, meatballs, and plenty of potatoes.

Keep in mind simple foods don’t need to be inelegant either. Think about miniature versions of some of your favourites, like hamburger sliders or miniature sloppy joes. BBQ is always another great option.

4. Take Comfort in Classics

Many of the hearty foods you might consider for a ranch-style dinner also fall under the category of “comfort food.” Mac-and-cheese and hamburgers are great options. You can dress them up or down as you please.

Perhaps best of all, comfort classics work for just about everyone. They can often be made to suit vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diets. They’re usually big hits with kids too.

5. Serve up in Style

Presentation is an important part of dining, so spare a thought or two for how your rustic fare will be served up to your guests. Maybe food will be passed around on rustic wooden planks and trays.

You can also display your menus and seating arrangements on barn board or wooden planks.

Where will your guests eat? Wooden benches and trestle-style tables are popular and exude that down-home feel.

6. Something Sweet for the Finish

What will you serve for dessert? Cake is the classic, but give it some thought. Will you serve a naked cake or decorate it with twine? Maybe you’d prefer to place the cake on a wooden stump serving as a cake stand.

You can also serve up other sweet treats for your guests. A summer wedding might benefit from an ice cream sundae bar. Miniature dessert options are almost always a big hit too. If you’re looking for something different, why not think about s’mores made in a wood-fired oven?

Talk to your caterer to keep the ideas flowing. Your wedding catering will better reflect your theme if you take the time to discuss and plan your menu with your décor and venue in mind.


Gino Spano

Starting with roots in a kitchen at 14 years old, he worked his way up the ranks and by the young age of 17 was responsible for daily events of 50 to 600 people. Gino continued to use his talents to work in catering, banquet and restaurant kitchens across the GTA. His love for Italian, French and Asian cuisine paired with his wide variety of knowledge brought him success in his new venture at Seventh Heaven in 2001. Over the past 12 years, he has cooked many meals for social events, corporate events and government officials. His love for new challenges brought him into corporate sales where he and the Seventh Heaven team won Best Catered Event for Canadian Linen’s “The Great White North” – Facility Grand Opening in 2009.
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