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18 Unique Catering Ideas to Make Your Northern California Wedding Unforgettable 

unique wedding catering ideas

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We’re guessing you’re here because you’re on the hunt for some mouth-watering and unique wedding catering ideas. 

Well, look no further!

We can go on all day about all the reasons we love California. 

The movies, the weather, the culture. 

But of course, that would be another list. 

California has some pretty incredible cuisine. 

And if you’re getting married in The Golden State, you’re in luck. 

Because you’re about to have a pretty incredible wedding menu. 

From appetizers to desserts, here are 18 unique catering ideas to make your Northern California wedding unforgettable. 

Unique Wedding Catering Ideas: Appetizers

It only makes sense to start at the beginning

So first up on our list are the appetizers. 

A noteworthy appetizer sets the stage for the rest of the outstanding meal to come, and surely you want to start off with a bang. 

Stay tuned for all kinds of appetizers you can serve to warm your guests. 


unique wedding catering ideas

If you’ve never had or heard of arancini, this might be the perfect chance to try this tasty dish. 

In short, arancini are Italian rice balls that are stuffed with beef and cheese, coated with bread crumbs, then deep fried. 

They are staples of Sicilian cuisine, and would make for one of the most unbelievably savory and unique wedding catering ideas. 

Popcorn Packets

Now, an option for a more laid-back reception. 

Popcorn packets make for a playful appetizer that is easy to serve and eat on the go. 

If you’re team salty all the way, you can stick to the classic buttery popcorn. 

But if you have a sweet tooth or just want to offer more options, you can always add caramel popcorn to the mix. 

(Just make sure you have some napkins for the greasy popcorn fingers)

Charcuterie Cones

Charcuterie boards are generally crowd pleasers.

But if you’re not looking to have a self-served wedding, or just want a more creative serving option, you can try individual servings of “charcuterie cones”. 

Simply wrap up some fruits and cheese into a cone, and you have a delicious cornucopia of flavor. 

Lobster Rolls

Who says lobster is just limited to the northeast? 

California is right near the Pacific Ocean, which is a fabulous source for all types of seafood. 

Lobster always makes for a tasty and luxurious menu item, and baby lobster roles are the perfect serving portion. 


unique wedding catering ideas

Speaking of seafood, ceviche is another great option if you want to incorporate some fish into your appetizers. 

This Latin American dish is made of raw fish cured in fresh juices, spiced with chili or other seasonings, and further flavored with cilantro and julienned red onions. 

Few other dishes have this rich of a flavor combination! 

Unique Wedding Catering Ideas: Main Courses 

Congratulations! You’ve just knocked it out of the park with your choice of appetizers. 

You want to keep the good times going, so why not take your main courses to the next level

From fan favorites to California specialties, stay tuned for unique wedding menu items that make for incredible main courses. 


There’s nothing more All-American than a juicy cheeseburger, and did you know they are said to have been invented in the Golden State? 

If your reception allows for it, you can take individual orders and have the burgers brought out cooked. 

If not, sliders make for a great option too!


unique wedding catering ideas

Like lobster, oysters make for a luxurious seafood option for your wedding menu. 

Lucky for you, California is known for delicious oysters, so you’ve come to the right place. 

Serving some “traveling seafood”, or having servers carry around some oysters in a bucket, makes for a both elegant and fun food distribution option. 

Need help figuring out your wedding budget?

We know that all weddings are unique and so are wedding budgets. Let us share a customized cost estimate based on YOUR preferences in catering, decor style, season and more.


unique wedding catering ideas

Mexican culture has always had a prominent influence in California. 

And lucky for you, if you want to incorporate that heritage into your wedding menu, Mexican food is some of the tastiest around. 

A taco truck would be easy to incorporate into an outdoor wedding. 

Your guests can mingle, it makes for fun photos, and they get a scrumptious main course. 

Bao Buns

unique wedding catering ideas

If you’re looking for another savory and unique handheld menu item, bao buns are right up your alley. 

Closely related to dumplings, bao buns are a tad bit sweeter, and you can fill them up with pork, fish, mushrooms, or even chocolate. 

How’s that for an out-of-the-box dessert option! 

(But more on those later)

Steak and Salads

If you’re having a more formal, sit-down reception meal, you’ll want to go more traditional with your menu items. 

And for your non-vegetarian guests, a plated beef entrée is always well received. 

Steak and salad always makes for a refined and filling combination, so if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. 


unique wedding catering ideas

You’ve heard of spaghetti, and you’ve surely heard of noodles. 

But have you ever tried zoodles?

Zoodles, or zucchini noodles, are zucchini that are cut into long noodle forms, and are cut into long noodle shapes and served with sauce or cheese like regular spaghetti. 

These are a good option if you know you and your guests won’t be in the mood for a heavier carb. 

They’re also super tasty, and who doesn’t love the word zoodles? 

French Dip Sandwich

Don’t let the name fool you, this sandwich originates from the great state of California.

A French dip sandwich, also known as a beef dip, is a hot sandwich with thin slices of beef on a French baguette.

You can also serve it with Swiss cheese and onions, and you can often dip it into the beef broth for an extra dose of flavor. 

Grilled Cheese With Tomato Soup

unique wedding catering ideas

Onto another sandwich!

Grilled cheese and tomato soup is a comfort food for a reason, and your guests will undoubtedly be pleased to eat this at your wedding. 

If you’d like to add a fun little twist to the dish, try grilled cheese shooters. 

In other words, tomato soup in a shot glass!

California Rolls

Let’s be clear: sushi is absolutely delicious, and you can have as much as you want at your wedding reception. 

However, this very popular roll does come from your “host state”, so it would only make sense to incorporate in your menu.

This fairly simple roll consists of crab, avocado, and cucumber, and the fresh combination makes for an ideal summer dish. 

California-Style Pizza

Everybody loves pizza, that much is true. 

But you’re not just serving any kind of pizza, you’re serving California style pizza. 

What makes a California style pizza, you ask?

It usually consists of a crispy bottom crust and lighter, tender ingredients that can be found in Cali. 

Some of these include avocado, goat cheese, and artichokes. 

Is your mouth watering already? 

Unique Wedding Catering Ideas: Desserts

Before you go, have a look at some unique wedding catering ideas for your dessert options. 

Pick one, pick ’em all, here are our suggestions for ending your reception menu on a sweet note. 

Milkshake Shots

Your guests over 21 may have access to different kinds of “shots”. 

But your guests of all ages can enjoy these fun-sized milkshake shots as a dessert. 

It might be difficult to make giant milkshakes for each and every person attending. 

But milkshake shots are the perfect size to make in bulk and for your guests to enjoy and still feel satisfied. 

Besides, they can always help themselves to seconds. 

Artisan Chocolates

box of chocolates

What’s that famous line from that famous movie about life being like a box of chocolates? 

There are all kinds of great chocolate-themed wedding desserts like chocolate cake or chocolate mousse. 

But how many times have you seen just chocolate served as a dessert? 

You can order boxes in bulk from your favorite chocolatiers, or you can take the opportunity to support a local business in the area. 

Original, tasty, and simple. 


unique wedding catering ideas

If you ask us, waffles are definitely not limited to just breakfast. 

You can serve these as a perfectly satisfying dessert option. 

Especially when you think of all the delicious toppings. 

,For a self-serve reception, you can lay out the waffles along with their toppings and have your guests go to town. 

Hand Pies

Pies are very tasty, but given their crumbly nature, it might be a little difficult to serve them at your reception. 

Hand pies are individual servings of pies that not only look super cute, but are a practical way to serve dessert pies. 

No knives or forks needed; just have a bite! 

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Final Thoughts

Here you have our suggestions for unique wedding catering ideas for a Northern California wedding.

But remember that while it’s great to be unique, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. 

At the end of the day, we know your instincts will lead you down the right path and that you’ll crush your wedding menu.

If you’re still curious about how to make the most of your Northern California wedding, we here at Milestone are experts at planning weddings in this incredible region. 

We hope we can play a part in planning your big day. 

Talk to the Experts

There are no “silly questions”. We know more about Wine Country wedding venues and planning than anyone. We can help you find a venue that matches both your vision and your budget.