Food trucks. Why do people love them so much? Because they are quick, cheap, gourmet food that is conveniently located in a truck. These foods options go beyond the traditional burger and fries with unique options like gyros, ice cream, doughnuts, Mexican food, Chinese food and even grilled cheese. For a budget friendly alternative to a formal sit down dinner, consider thinking a bit outside the box where wedding catering is concerned. Street food has been enjoying a massive surge of late in cities across the world. Every city has its own delicacies, in New York it’s the hot dog, LA loves a taco truck, Hanoi boasts the Banh Mi, Amsterdam has fries and mayonaise, and London specializes in fish ‘n chips.
These trucks might be more used to feeding festivals and farmers’ markets, but they have certainly begun honing their skills and catering for weddings as well. Cool, casual, and totally tasty, food trucks can be a quirky, memorable and an often budget-friendly option to feed your guests at a more casual wedding. After all, what could be a more personal touch to the food at your wedding, than having it supplied from your favorite local food truck?
Whether you are commissioning a food truck in place of a caterer or as a tasty late night option, we love the idea of mobile food at the reception. Sure, your more traditional parents may balk at the idea of food on wheels on the most important day of your life, but we're here to tell you that mobile vendors can provide functional, fun, and delicious options to your guests.
To make your food truck even more trendy, opt for a seasonal kitchen. These have become hugely popular, and there's no reason the farm to table aesthetic can't extend to a food truck, too. We can help you find the right cuisine and menu made from locally sourced ingredients whipped up into delicious dishes.
There are some definite pros to having a food truck at your reception.
1. Options. Forget the traditional beef, chicken, or fish at your reception. By having a food truck you can choose to serve Kobe beef burgers and fries, crepes, or Korean-Mexican fusion.
2. Cost. You can spend under $20,000 on food trucks versus traditional sit down dinner catering options.
3. Seasonal. If you’re having a spring, summer, or fall wedding then this is a great option.
4. Time. This is a a great way to keep guests busy during the reception because instead of sitting around waiting for their food to arrive at the separate tables, they can mingle with other guests while they stand in line.
5. Availability. Booking one is easy because in basically every major city, there is a plethora of options…especially here in Nashville.
6. Personalization. You have the ability to personalize your menu to your tastes and theme.
And with the pros to having a food truck at your reception, there are always cons as well.
1. Waiting. Lines mean waiting. Waiting means less time for guests to enjoy the party.
2. Weather. Unexpected weather elements like rain, storms, and wind can complicate plans if you don’t think ahead.
3. Amount of food. For every 75 guests you should have 1 food truck but not even that guarantees everyone will get their food in a timely manner.
4. Options. If you have guests that are vegetarians or very health conscious, they may not want to eat from some of these food trucks.
5. Permits and zoning. Before booking one check the zoning for your reception venue. Not all food trucks can park there.
6. Staff. There may be a lack of staff helping prepare all of the food.
Now even with the pros and cons, this still may seem like a no-brainer. Just make sure you will have enough food. Some of your guests may have big appetites so be sure to have a burger/taco/donut contingency so that your hungry guests can go for seconds. Then always consider sides and toppings. Talk to your food truck vendor about additional extras. Even if they serve more than one specialty dish, you still may want to feature a buffet table with salads and sides alongside the truck to keep things moving along. Always choose standing-friendly food. Food trucks are perfect for late night eats and cocktail hours, if this is the case, be sure to choose small dishes that your guests can manage easily. Once you have a concept in mind, talk to the food truck owners. They may be used to serving large groups of people over the course of a day, but there is a certain standard of speed and service expected at weddings.
Chances are, if you are a casual couple street food won’t be a problem, but still be sure your wedding planner lets the food vendors know what’s expected with the time-frame and supplies such as napkins, silverware, etc, and have enough staff to meet the demands of your guests.
Now, before you go booking your catering, have your wedding planner check with your venue parking and/or trading outside your selected venue. They may even need to enquire about electricity hook-ups on behalf of your food truck vendor. They will need to confirm that there is ample room for the truck to park with space for your guests to safely line up outside. As with any al fresco element, always think of the weather. What if it rains, is baking hot, or super windy on your wedding day? Be sure you and your wedding planner consider all options when choosing the location to position your truck, and how to plan the logistics. When you go looking for your wedding cuisine, keep in mind that street food vendors tend to be some of the friendliest people around. They are passionate about food and love to talk about it. Select somebody whose dishes you’ve tried and loved, but also someone who you feel a connection with to ensure that they will make your wedding day food extra special.
Depending on your friends or family, food truck refreshments might seem a little unconventional. Perhaps let your key guests know in advance what to expect on your wedding website, so they will get into the spirit of casual dining. It’s always good to have signage, or someone with a mic on hand to let guests know when and where the truck is. This makes it so much easier than having your wedding planner trying to herd all the guests themselves.
And finally, don’t forget to tell your photographer that you will be having a food truck. They are a fabulous funky photo backdrop. It’s the perfect chance to get some quirky, candid snaps during the day. So, without further ado, here are some of our ways to feature a food truck at your wedding.
1. WE ALL SCREAM
Fun, tasty, and the perfect photo op, an ice-cream truck at your wedding is probably the easiest of the bunch to pull off. They’re readily available and pretty inexpensive. While there are some event specific ice-cream carts which you may need to hire for a set time or price, local ice-cream trucks will often happily take time away from the local route, playground or park for the promise of a 75-cone sale. If you aren’t keen in dairy desserts, there is always the vegan, lower calorie option of a snow cone truck. Its a fun, unexpected, and refreshing dessert. Guests can cool down with nostalgic flavors like blue raspberry and root beer or go for something refined and adult-approved, like Mai Tai or cappuccino.
2. COFFEE STOP
Are you and your other half caffeine addicts? Treat your guests to your favorite pick-me-up at your wedding! Lots of coffee companies will send out carts or trucks to local events. We recommend serving them with wedding cake, doughnuts, or cookies instead of the typical standard dessert.
3. BURGER BUS
When it comes to street food, the burger reigns supreme. Pulled pork, falafel, chicken or beef, chat with your caterer about creating your favorite combinations. If this is going to be part of your cocktail hour, or late night snack time, perhaps it is best to opt for mini sliders rather than bigger buns.
4. TOTALLY CHEESY
For a late night snack that is sure to please every palate, consider grilled cheese sandwiches. They are super portable and perfect for eating quickly without ruining your fancy wedding duds!
5. JUST DESSERTS
As you know, tables laden with assorted desserts have become incredibly popular over the last year or so, the next step in this trend? Dessert trucks!
Imagine how excited your guests would be with a truck filled with sweets… cupcakes, cookies, donuts…you name it! This is such a nice way to break up your dinner and prevent food comas from sitting down too long after your guests over eat.
6. CHIP TRUCK
Is there any greater late night snack than the humble French fry? Keep it simple with your local fish and chip van for the late night eats, or go for gourmet with some chic chip cones at your cocktail hour. Our personal favorite is a gravy-laced poutine, there’s no finer street food after you’ve spent the night drinking and dancing!
7. PIZZA PARTY
We’ve noticed a bit of a trend. Pizza is being served at weddings, and why the heck not? It’s delicious, it’s affordable and it’s versatile – plus you’re *almost* guaranteed all your guests will love it. Be sure to choose a selection of options for meat-eaters and vegetarians, and don’t forget a gluten free or vegan option if you have guests with those dietary restrictions. Simply dress up your display and then dish it out by the slice. Its perfect for casual wedding dining.
8. TACO TRUCK
Who doesn’t love tacos?! They are self-contained and easy to eat standing up. These make tasty, laid back eats for cocktail hour, or a fun addition to a fiesta style buffet.
9. DOGGY BAG
We just adore the idea of a couple hopping out of their wedding vehicle in all their regalia to grab a hot dog en route to the reception. Why not share the love and bring the hot dog cart to your guests instead? Set up a station with ketchup, onions, mustard, and relish and let your guests dig in. We can’t think of a more fun wedding day snack!!
10. PIGGY BACK
The ultimate southern street food of course it barbeque. Everything from loaded baked potatoes to savory smoked sliders. Pulled pork, pulled chicken or brisket, create your favorite combinations with your food truck pit master. Once again, if this is going to be part of your cocktail hour, or late night snack time, opt for mini sliders rather than the bigger buns.
Would you feature a food truck at your wedding?
If you had a food truck on your big day, we’d love to hear about it!