Italian wedding menus at wedding receptions

Italian wedding menus at wedding receptions

Wedding menu time! No panic!

Even if you have never done something similar, this is going to be a relatively easy time if you follow our expert advice. Guests attending a wedding banquet in Italy will have a good time and the chance to eat many delicious and authentic Italian food.

Let’s start with a true/false game about Italian wedding banquets!

  1. Italian Wedding banquets include a large amount of food, up to 15 courses. FALSE!
    It is true that weddings can be really huge celebrations in some regions in Italy but the sample menus you will receive from our Wedding Planners start from a 4-course menu and can be totally customized according to your preferences. When more courses are offered, the quantity and timings will allow your guests to eat all the food, cake included!
  2. Order French Champagne if you want the best wine for your guests. FALSE!
    Champagne is for sure a good wine but Italy offers a wide range of excellent sparkling wine such as Prosecco or Franciacorta. Once you have selected the courses for your ideal wedding menu ask for wine recommendations, some may be available to taste in your country or you may come to Italy a few months before for a wine and menu tasting.
  3. Speeches are not traditionally part of Italian Wedding Banquets. TRUE!
    In Italy a common cheer for the newlyweds is simply “Evviva gli sposi!” therefore if you think you will have proper speeches, discuss this with your wedding planner because it has to be coordinated with the kitchen.
  4. You need to check what your guests wish to eat because you need to please everybody. FALSE!
    How can you please everybody’s tastes? We recommend our Bride and Grooms to select the menu they like and we will then discuss alternative courses for those who have special diets for religion or other reasons, for those who have allergies, are vegetarian, vegan, or celiac. Children menus are also available in any restaurant.

Different types of food can be served in Italy, based on the tastes of the Bride and Groom and of the region of Italy where the event takes place. Of course, there are similarities. Typically, an Italian wedding banquet starts with a standing welcome cocktail that lasts approx one hour. At the tables, guests receive two or three appetizers that can be served on the same plate, a first course, or a mix of two and then one or two main courses with a side dish. Follows a limoncello or sorbet, a buffet of fruits or desserts, and then the Wedding Cake.  Italian Wedding banquets always end with an espresso coffee.

Here’s an easy step-by-step guide to setting the menu for your wedding:


Hors d’Oeuvres are usually served during the welcome cocktail. Either left on tables or passed around to guests on trays by waiters. They can include simple salted bites like olives, crisps, and nuts, or include some old cheese like Parmesan Cheese, mozzarellas and cherry tomatoes, salami, fried vegetables, mini quiches, and a refined selection of canapés and appetizers.


This is the first dish served at the tables, which can be a single course or a mix of different food. Depending on the season appetizers may include bruschetta, mushrooms, shrimp cocktail, ham and melon, smoked salmon, or grilled seafood.


Usually consisting of pasta (spaghetti, fusilli, paccheri, lasagne, penne, linguine, etc.), gnocchi, risotto or ravioli/tortellini.


Can be made of fish or meat such as beef, pork, lamb, guinea fowl, check local specialties! Chicken and Rabbit are not very much used at wedding meals.


Depending on the main course, it may consist of vegetables such as eggplants, spinaches, mixed salad or herb roasted potatoes.


It is similar to ice-cream but mixed with some alcoholic drinks like prosecco or vodka. Considered fundamental as a palate cleanser to remove all flavors allowing you to taste the next course. Typical flavors are lemon, strawberry, mint, ginger, or mandarin.


In some cases, the wedding cake can be served as a dessert or you can select a typical Italian dessert such as Tiramisu to be served before the cake. During the summer an ice-cream with some Italian cookies or strawberries as dessert can be a good idea!


Italian wedding cakes are generally one-layer cakes made with white or choco sponge cake filled with chantilly, chocolate, or lemon cream and covered with icing or whipped cream. However, it is possible under request to have a multi-tiered cake.

Classical “Confettata all’Italiana” (sugared almonds).

Sample of a Traditional Italian Wedding Menu


  • Champagne Cocktail, Bellini, Mimosa, Fruit Juices
  • Salty snacks, Olives, Peanuts, Chips
  • Baby-pizzas and Bruschette with Cherry Tomatoes


  • Grilled Vegetables from the Vegetable Garden, Giant Olives
  • Air-dried Beef Rolls Filled with Rocket, Ricotta and Mascarpone
  • San Daniele Ham, Local Bacon & Salame
  • Fiordilatte Mozzarella Cheese
  • Buffalo’s Milk Mozzarella and Spiced Ricotta Cheese  

First course

  • Homemade Scialatielli Pasta with Shrimps and Rocket
  • For vegetarians:
    Homemade Scialatielli Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes, Aubergines, Mozzarella Cheese and Basil

Main course

  • OPTION 1: Fish main course
    Baked Sea Bass with tomato salsa and Sautéed Zucchini
  • OPTION 2: Meat main course
    Lamb Roll and Chops with Herbs on a Bed of Sautéed Apricots and Mushrooms 
  • OPTION 3: Vegetarian Main course
    Zucchine Parmigiana / Vegetables Strudel


  • Fresh Fruit Cut on a Wild Berries Sauce with a Biscuit of Almond Kernels and Caramelized Sugar and Vanilla Ice Cream

 Wedding cake

Sample Vegetarian Menu

Starter:  Aubergine, “scamorza” cheese, and tomato timbale
Pasta:  Cannelloni of dough with broccoli and chili pepper served on a bed of tomatoes
Main: Vegetable tempura in a yogurt and orange sauce
Dessert:  Traditional Tiramisu

Sample Pescetarian Menu

Starter:  Lobster salad with a citrus sauce flavored with ginger
Pasta:  Cannelloni of dough with broccoli and chili pepper served on a bed of tomatoes
Main: Vegetable tempura in a yogurt and orange sauce
Dessert: Traditional Tiramisu

Vegan/Vegetarian courses ideas

Hors d’Oeuvre

Tomato Salad
Roulade of eggplant with cherry tomatoes, rocket salad, and balsamic vinegar;
“Caponata Style” whole wheat biscuits with Mixed vegetables in olive oil with cherry tomatoes;
Grilled Vegetables;
Salad of celery and olives;
Mushrooms and Artichokes grilled;
Mixed Bruschetta with Cherry Tomatoes and Aubergines;
Avocado Salad;
Braised Artichokes;

Meal Course

Risotto (rice) with Mushrooms;
Risotto (rice) with Mixed Vegetables;
Home Made Gnocchi with fresh tomato sauce and basil;
Pasta with Courgettes;
Pasta “Spaghetti” with Pesto;
Pasta “Pennette” with Eggplants;
Fried Artichokes;

Side Orders

Mixed Salad;
Green Salad;
Salad Tomato and Rocket;
Potato Croquettes;
Fresh French Fries;
Steamed Vegetables;

 Sample Children Menu

  • Mozzarella and ham
  • Pasta with tomatoes sauce and basil
  • Veal or Chicken cutlet and French fries
  • Ice cream


  • Check which are the products typical of the region
  • Base your menu around the month or season the wedding will take place in.
  • Check if any of your guests have allergies
  • Check if any of your guests are vegetarians or vegan
  • Discuss a children menu based on the exact age of kids

Things that cannot be missing on Italian banquet tables

  • Menu prints
  • Place cards
  • Table name/number
  • Floral centerpieces with candles
  • Favors

We have created a handy Guide to Italian Wedding Menus on our main website. Do not hesitate to contact us to organize an incredible Italian wedding meal!


Image Credits: Gianluca & Mary Adovasio ©, Marta Guenzi ©, Lelia Scarfiotti ©, Gianni Di Natale ©, Peter & Veronika ©, Lisa Poggi ©.