A Guide to Wedding Catering in Italy: Indulge in La Dolce Vita!

March 22, 2023

If you're planning your big day and looking for the ultimate culinary experience, you can't go wrong with wedding catering in Italy. The land of Amore is known for its breathtaking landscapes, romantic ambiance, and mouthwatering cuisine.

From the fresh seafood of the Amalfi Coast to the rich truffle dishes of Tuscany, Italy boasts a diverse range of regional specialties that will tantalize your taste buds and leave your guests in awe. So whether you dream of an intimate garden wedding or a lavish celebration in a historic villa, Italian wedding catering has something to offer for every style and budget.

But with so many options to choose from, where do you begin? That's where we come in! In this guide, we'll take you on a culinary journey through Italy, exploring the country's top wedding banqueting trends, must-try dishes, and insider tips for planning a truly unforgettable feast. So please sit back, pour yourself a glass of Chianti, and let's dive into the world of Italian wedding catering!

From Antipasti to Dolci: A Guide to Italian Wedding Menus

Italian cuisine is renowned worldwide for its incredible flavors and exquisite dishes, making it the perfect choice for wedding catering. From antipasti to dolci, every course on an Italian wedding menu offers an opportunity to showcase the best of Italian cuisine.

The antipasti course is a traditional Italian starter that features a variety of delicious cured meats like prosciutto, salami, and coppa. It also includes vegetarian options, such as marinated artichokes, roasted peppers, and grilled zucchini. These flavorful bites are a great way to whet your guests' appetite and set the tone for the meal to come.

For the primo, or first course, there are endless options to choose from. You can go with classic pasta dishes such as spaghetti alle vongole or lasagna, or a risotto dish like risotto alla milanese or risotto ai funghi. Meat lovers might opt for a meat-filled ravioli or tortellini dish, while vegetarians can enjoy fresh tomato and basil pasta or creamy mushroom risotto. Whatever you choose, make sure it's made with fresh, seasonal ingredients to ensure maximum flavor.

The secondo, or main course, is typically a meat or fish dish that features the region's flavours. For example, in Tuscany, you might opt for a bistecca alla Fiorentina, a grilled T-bone steak that's cooked rare to medium-rare. Seafood lovers can enjoy dishes like grilled octopus or seafood risotto, which are popular choices in coastal regions.

The contorno, or side dish, is served alongside the secondo and often features fresh vegetables that complement the flavors of the main course. Popular options include roasted potatoes, sautéed greens like spinach or broccoli rabe, or a fresh tomato and mozzarella salad.

Finally, it's time for dolci or dessert. The classic Italian wedding cake is the millefoglie, a layered cake with pastry cream and fresh fruit. Other popular options include tiramisu, panna cotta, and cannoli. And, of course, no Italian meal would be complete without a shot of espresso or a glass of limoncello.

When planning your Italian wedding menu, remember to focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients and highlight the regional specialties of the area where you'll be celebrating. With so many delicious options to choose from, your guests are sure to leave your wedding feeling full and satisfied.

chef making Italian appetiser in a wedding catering

Regional Specialties: Exploring the Best Wedding Catering in Italy

In Italian cuisine, every region has its own specialties that reflect the local culture and ingredients. From the seafood-rich coasts to the meat-heavy inland areas, the diversity of Italian cuisine is one of its greatest assets. So, when planning your Italian wedding catering, it's essential to consider the regional specialties that can make your menu unforgettable.

Starting from the north, Lombardy is known for its risotto dishes, such as risotto alla milanese, which features saffron and bone marrow. Veneto, home of Venice, is famous for seafood dishes like risotto al nero di seppia, made with cuttlefish ink. Moving down to Tuscany, the region is renowned for its meat dishes, especially the Florentine steak, a thick cut of beef cooked rare to medium rare.

In the south, Naples is the birthplace of pizza and other Neapolitan delights like spaghetti alle vongole, a pasta dish with clams. The island of Sicily is a melting pot of Mediterranean flavors, with dishes like caponata, a sweet and sour eggplant dish, and arancini, fried rice balls filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables.

Of course, a discussion of Italian cuisine would only be complete by mentioning the capital city, Rome. Roman cuisine is all about simplicity and local ingredients, with classic dishes like spaghetti alla carbonara and cacio e pepe.

When planning your Italian wedding catering, don't be afraid to explore the regional specialties and highlight the unique flavors of the area where you'll be tying the knot. So whether you opt for a Tuscan meat feast or a seafood extravaganza in Venice, incorporating regional specialties can take your wedding menu to the next level.

What’s Typically Included In Italy’s Wedding Catering?

When you are working with a wedding catering company to plan your Italian menu, they generally offer package prices, including the following. 


Included in the menù per person there is: 

  • Cocktail hour - finger food passed around with the possibility to add some corners (extra quoted) like cold cuts and cheese stations, mozzarella stations, oysters stations, etc.
  • Seated dinner/lunch-  3 courses. Usually is two pasta (one stuffed and one fresh pasta) or one pasta and one risotto + main course (fish, meat, or vegetarian) 
  • Wedding Cake - usually is the Millefoglie which is made on-site in view of all your guests. It’s a beautiful addition to the overall wedding experience. 


  • Late-night snacks: caterings also offer some late-night snacks such as pizza, mini hamburger, or gelato carts. These offerings are available for an additional cost.  


  • Pre-ceremony cocktail (lemonade, water, prosecco before the ceremony starts) 
  • Cocktail hour - included in the price of the menù, there is prosecco, white wine, and red wine to be served during cocktail hour. If you want to add spritz, beers, and some liquors for cocktails, they are available at an additional cost. 
  • Open bar - you can have a simple American classic bar or if you want some higher quality label liquors, you can have the premium open bar. Usually, the caterers do a flat rate for 3 hours of the open bar based on the number of guests.

Others have read this: Insanely Good Signature Wedding Drink Ideas

wedding caterin in Italy mise en place

The Extras

Wedding catering isn’t all about food and beverages. Depending on your wedding venue, you may need to secure chairs, tables, linens, flatware, and dishes from your caterer. And it’s important to discuss this with them as some caterers will include these items in their package prices while others may charge additional fees for renting these items. 

You’ll need some seating for the cocktail reception for approximately 30% of your guests, as the primary goal of the cocktail hour is for mingling, so you’ll want limited seating. Then, of course, for the reception, you’ll need tables and seating for everyone. Your wedding caterer in Italy will be able to explain everything to you. 

Mise en Place - The Finer Details 

When you go to sign up for a tasting or to book a caterer, they will usually have a space, or a separate room set out where you can review napkin and tablecloth options (they come in all kinds of fabrics) along with choosing from different types of cutlery, plates, and glasses. 

Some items are included in the price of the menù per person; others are extra quoted. Many wedding caterers in Italy will offer “basic” and more luxury or upscale options. When choosing upscale items, there will generally be an additional charge. 

Having a holistic vision, theme, and vibe in mind is helpful as you can work on the finer details of your wedding catering. Decide whether you want a chic and glamorous outlook with gold and white furniture and rose gold accents, a more vintage, antique feel, or a minimalistic vibe. 

While there are global trends for wedding décor or dinner settings, traditional, old-school Italian is a very regal and visually alluring style to follow, so consider adding a lot of muted gold accents, engravements, and maybe some wicker furniture if you are getting married by the coastline. 

When finalizing a catering package, know the taxes in your area and the extraneous costs and fees that a caterer may add. Late evening snacks, speciality alcohols, wine, additional appetizers, and other extra expenses may quickly add up. So, make sure to review all of the costs with your wedding planner before you sign the contract.  

Here are some examples of the costs associated with wedding catering in Italy. 

PRICE: an average idea of price for 120 people could be: 

  • Menù per person: €165 + vat
  • Pre Ceremony with prosecco: €10 + vat per person
  • Extra corner: from €15 + vat per person
  • Late-night snack (pizza): €7 + vat per person
  • Gelato cart: Starting from € 1.500,00 + vat
  • Open bar classic: €6.000 + vat for 3 hours

Italian wedding catering is an experience like no other, offering diverse dishes that showcase the best of the country's cuisine. Whether you opt for traditional multi-course meals or choose to incorporate trendy new options like food stations or farm-to-table catering, the focus is always on quality, freshness, and local ingredients. 

With an abundance of delicious options and a rich culinary heritage, Italian wedding catering will impress your guests and leave them with unforgettable memories of your special day.

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