Fried Calamari Scampi Appetisers canapes being presented in bamboo cones and served at a party with selective focus. It is being served at a wedding party. A waiter is holding the tray with canapes.

Outdoor Wedding Food Ideas


Are you looking for outdoor wedding food ideas? If so, then look no further. In recent years, outdoor weddings have significantly grown in popularity, and at Elysian Events Catering, we are more than happy to make your wedding one-of-a-kind.

History of the Outdoor Wedding

Outdoor weddings are a relatively new phenomenon in the United States. They became popular in the 1970s as couples’ interest in destination weddings increased. While it was still expected to hold weddings in churches, city halls, and at home, many couples sought to have less traditional ceremonies, even if that simply meant moving the wedding outside. 

Since then, outdoor weddings and receptions have only become more popular. In 2020, 68% of weddings were held outside in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and even in a post-pandemic world, outdoor ceremonies have remained popular. In fact, in 2023, 62% of weddings were held outdoors. It’s easy to see why, given all the benefits of an outside celebration.

Why You Should Host an Outdoor Wedding

Outdoor weddings offer a variety of advantages over traditional indoor venues. Here are some pros to consider when choosing your venue:

    • Enjoy the beauty of the outdoors: Holding an outdoor event allows you and your guests to enjoy the gorgeous natural landscape. The beautiful trees, flowers, and sunshine are sure to delight all who attend.
    • Avoid the hassle of booking an indoor venue: Choosing an indoor location can be daunting. Finding the perfect venue and reserving it during your favorite season can often be challenging, as well as expensive. Having an outdoor wedding at a local park or in your yard can allow you to save time and reduce stress.
  • Adopt a natural, rustic theme: For couples who have a shared love of nature, an outdoor wedding is perfect! Celebrating your big day outside and embracing the outdoorsy theme will allow you and your partner to share your love for nature with your family and friends.
  • Provide guests with plenty of space: One of the greatest advantages of outdoor spaces is that they don’t limit the number of guests you can invite. Planning an outdoor wedding will ensure your loved ones can attend your ceremony and reception. 
  • Embrace changing wedding traditions: As weddings grow to be more inclusive of different family structures, values, and religions, wedding traditions are shifting, too. If you are interested in holding a non-traditional wedding that best reflects you and your partner’s values, an outdoor wedding could be a beautiful alternative to a traditional wedding at a church or city hall.

Special Considerations When Celebrating Outside

Holding a wedding ceremony outside has plenty of pros. With that said, some aspects of wedding planning will change if you host in a non-traditional location. Some considerations to keep in mind are as follows:

  • Weather preparations: Though plenty of planning goes into any wedding, one thing that can’t be planned is the weather on the day of the ceremony. Consider any preparations that need to be made in the case of rain or more extreme weather.
  • Set-up of sound equipment: If you plan to have a DJ at the wedding, remember where they will be positioned at the venue. It is essential to ensure they can access power sources for their equipment. You may also want to consider consulting with the DJ before the day of the ceremony to discuss the acoustics of your venue. Music often sounds different in an outdoor setting than inside.
  • Setting up tables and chairs: Most indoor venues already have place settings arranged for guests during weddings and receptions, and while some outdoor venues also offer this service, not all locations do. Research your venue in advance to see if tables and chairs are provided or if an additional service is required.
  • Catering: Similarly to the set-up of tables and chairs, the bar and dining area are often set up in advance in indoor reception halls. When hosting an outdoor wedding, you will want to choose a caterer who is comfortable setting up an outdoor dining area and ensuring all sanitary needs are met outside.

Planning Your Outdoor Wedding Menu

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by catering options when planning an event as large and complex as a wedding. Fortunately, if you’re looking for some outdoor wedding food ideas, Elysian Events Catering is perfect for the occasion! We offer a variety of catering packages to fit your needs, tastes, and budget. Indeed, Elysian Events Catering’s services and accommodations truly set us apart from other wedding caterers in the New Orleans area. 

Environmentally-Conscious Catering

If you are celebrating outside, it is likely you also hold a deep appreciation for the environment. As such, you probably are looking for some environmentally-friendly outdoor wedding food ideas, given that one of the world’s largest environmental concerns is the food waste crisis. According to ReFed, “38% of the 235 million tons in our food supply [went] unsold or uneaten” in 2022. Fortunately, Elysian Events Catering offers buffet-style catering options at weddings, which provides a more environmentally-conscious catering alternative to traditional plated courses. By opting for a buffet, each of your guests can choose a portion size that best suits them. Any food that remains after the reception can go home with our clients or be donated to local food organizations. 

Another common environmental hazard is the use of single-use plastics. Approximately 400 million tons of plastic waste are produced each year, and according to the UN Environment Program, 36% of that waste is made up of single-use food and beverage containers. To combat this challenge, we at Elysian Events Catering are happy to provide eco-friendly dinnerware to our clients, which is included in our package pricing.

 If you want to take advantage of our environmentally-friendly catering options, simply include your request for eco-friendly dinnerware in our contact form.

Options for Every Palette

No matter your tastes, Elysian Events Catering is certain to have dining options that fit your needs and those of your guests. We offer a delicious selection of hors d’oeuvres in all of our wedding packages, such as our smoked shrimp with charred fennel and satsuma glaze, bruschetta with whipped ricotta, confit cherry tomatoes, and arugula pesto, and muffuletta canapé served with salami, mortadella, provolone, and olive salad. 

We also proudly offer vegetarian and vegan main courses and sides, ensuring everyone will find delectable options to enjoy. It is imperative to account for every client’s needs, and as such, we will happily work with you to design a menu tailored to you and your guest’s dietary restrictions. What’s more, our menu changes with the seasons, which guarantees that our ingredients are fresh.

Accommodating Pricing

At Elysian Events Catering, we offer several different pricing options to accommodate you and your budget. Our New Orleans buffet-style wedding packages range from $36 to $52 per person, providing versatility in your catering experience. This also allows you to prioritize which courses you want offered to guests, which can help prevent food waste following the end of your event.

Station-Style Set-Ups

In Wedding Options 3 and 4 (which can be reviewed in more detail here), we offer access to our stations, which are ideal for outside events. In both packages, you can choose one of the following options: our Creole rice bar, mini po-boy station, and stone ground grits bar. All three will allow your guests to customize their meals to their tastes.

Make Your Outdoor Wedding Unforgettable with Elysian Events Catering

At Elysian Events Catering, we pride ourselves on our high-quality catering services and meeting your wedding vision. Our staff would happily bring your wedding to life with our outdoor-friendly buffet options, environmentally-conscious services, and rich seasonal flavors. 

If you’re feeling inspired by our outdoor wedding food ideas, then please get in touch with us through our contact form. We can also be reached by email at and by phone at 504-541-0091. Together, we can make your wedding day one you’ll cherish for years to come!

More Insights & Updates from Elysian