By Rob Wilhoite with Capt. Rob’s Pigalicious Barbecue Catering

If you are thinking about having a huge menu with lots of dishes for your rehearsal dinner and/or reception, we urge you to reconsider. The cost to feed these guests an elaborate meal is much more than many engaged couples realize.

Your rehearsal dinner and reception menus are some of the smaller details to focus on after you have checked off all the main boxes on your wedding timeline. Something you’ll want to keep in mind is to keep it simple!

For your rehearsal dinner, you’ll want to choose something easy. You will most likely have a large meal at the reception, so the night before try and relax and enjoy your family and close friends. One idea is a simple meal of pasta, salad, and bread. It’s filling, low cost, and no stress. It’s important to remember that the rehearsal meal is a time to sit back, relive those embarrassing family stories, and not worry about what’s on the menu!

Richmond wedding simple menu capt. rob's pigalicious barbecue catering

Now let’s talk reception meal. What you’re trying to do is provide everyone with a memorable meal without blowing the budget. An important note: some catering companies will not leave the leftovers for the client because of food safety concerns. So, the more items you place on the menu, the more food you will have at the end of the night and the more money wasted. Be sure to check with your caterer on their leftover policy.

Here’s a sample reception menu that will help you satisfy your guests while keeping your budget in check:

  • 2-3 appetizers with 1 vegetarian choice
  • 1-2 meats
  • 2-3 sides
  • 2-3 types of beer
  • 2 white wines
  • 2 red wines

Richmond wedding simple menu capt. rob's pigalicious barbecue catering

Are you having a longer cocktail hour with heavier hors-d’oeuvres? Plan on 2-3 food stations with alcohol at the ready. With the main course food stations, count on 1 being vegetarian-friendly, 1 with a meat and starch, and 1 being something like a meat/cheese set up. The possibilities are endless, and with the right caterer, your guests won’t even notice how simple the menu is! Good luck and remember… Your wedding day is nothing more complicated than friends and family getting together for a meal and a preacher just happens to show up. Leave the complications out of it! With a little help from your family and a great team of professionals, your day can be that simple.

Rob Wilhoite is Owner/Pitmaster of the award-winning Capt. Rob’s Pigalicious Barbecue Catering. Contact him at or 804-399-3587.