Food trucks at weddings are far from a new trend, but they aren’t yet common occurrences. Because new food trucks are opening up all the time, we want to provide a thorough guide to hiring a food truck for your wedding.
First things first, you’ll need to make sure your reception venue allows outside caterers, and ensure the space will work for a food truck. Different venues have different rules about what exactly is an “outside caterer.” City or state venues may not allow food trucks to park anywhere on the property. Some venues that do allow outside caterers may not allow food trucks. Also keep in mind that while the trucks don’t take up too much space, they’ll take up more space when their windows and doors are open. They will also need a power source, and guests will need to be able to easily access the truck.
Consider the season and the weather. Your guests will have to stand outside to get their food, and possibly have to wait in line for a while to get it. If it’s horribly hot, or it’s raining, or windy, or snowing, or freezing cold — well, the point is, the weather is somewhat unpredictable, but you’ll need to do your best to plan for it. For hot weather, if there’s no shade, you could set up tents in front of the trucks. If it’s raining or windy, maybe add sides to the tents to protect your guests. For a winter wedding, you could use the enclosed tents with a space heater or two. If tents aren’t a possibility, consider these options instead:
- For a summer wedding, maybe get a food truck to serve ice cream or snow cones. The lines will move faster, so guests won’t have to stand as long in the sun.
- For a winter wedding, you can hire an espresso and hot chocolate truck, or one that serves warm desserts like lava cakes. Again, a dessert-only or drink-only food truck will be able to serve guests faster than one that serves meals, so your guests won’t be exposed to the elements for very long.
- If you’re still worried about guests having to wait too long, though, you can use a food truck for appetizers, desserts, or a late-night snack and serve a more traditional dinner.
- Ask your food truck options if they’ll do a personalized menu for your wedding. They may let you choose as well as name the dishes. A smaller menu would also shorten guests’ wait time.
On a similar note, think about how you want your guests to eat: sitting or standing. You’ll save space by having guests stand and mingle, but it’ll limit the types of food they will be able to eat. A combination of dinner tables and cocktail tables may be the perfect compromise!
Many people claim food trucks are cheaper than traditional caterers, and this may be true, but you’ll have to do your research. Food truck prices vary significantly between cities and even types of food. A safe average is $10 per person, which is lower than the average caterer, but of course, you’ll have to get estimates from each caterer and truck you’re considering in order to know for sure.
Different food trucks operate differently. Some may be willing to schedule months or a year in advance, but others will ask you to contact them just a month or so before the wedding. That kind of last-minute planning can be stressful. Food trucks also come and go quickly. New food trucks open every day, and established food trucks close up or transfer to a building just as frequently. Still others move to an entirely different city. If you’re willing to wait until closer to your wedding day to book a truck, make sure you have several options in case they’re not all around anymore.
Once You’ve Hired
Food trucks have their own containers to serve their food in, but these may not be “traditional” dinnerware. If you love the idea of your wedding guests eating off of china rather than paper plates, you may not want a food truck. Some truck owners will work with you and use your dishes, but some may not. Be prepared to compromise. If you’re trying to have an eco-friendly wedding, consider purchasing your own recyclable or biodegradable plates, utensils, napkins, and cups.
Don’t forget the wait. We mentioned it before, but no one wants hungry guests at their wedding. Depending on the size of your guest list, your guests may have to wait a while for their food. If you’ve decided on having food trucks serve the full dinner, avoid hungry or even cranky guests by setting out appetizers and side dishes for guests to snack on until the line dies down. However, it is not out of the ordinary for wedding guests to have to wait a bit for their dinners — it’s only natural when you have so many people to serve.
Types of Food Trucks
You can find almost any kind of food truck, depending on where you are looking. Of course, bigger cities will have more options than small towns. California, Florida, New York, Oregon, and Pennsylvania seem to have some of the best food trucks in the country, so if you’re considering a destination wedding, don’t rule those states out! But a quick search online will show you dozens of “Top 10” lists of favorite food trucks; in your city, state, and country. Here is just a small sampling of the thousands of food trucks in America to start your brainstorming (and snacking) session:
Tacos/burritos: multiple locations in TX, OK, CO; New Orleans, LA
Pizza: New York, NY
Grilled Cheese: Nashville, TN; Charlotte, NC
Sushi Burritos: Portland, OR
Burgers: Houston, TX; Providence, RI
Comfort food: San Diego, CA;
Mac N Cheese: Miami, FL; Rittenhouse, PA or Newark, DE;
Burgers: Las Vegas, NV
Korean-Mexican BBQ: Los Angeles, CA
Vegan options: New York, NY; Portland, OR
Thai: Austin, TX; Verona, NJ
Breakfast: Salt Lake City, UT; Philadelphia, PA
Ice cream: Atlanta, GA; multiple locations in NY and PA;
Cupcakes: Philadelphia, PA; Nutley, NJ
Cannoli: Hammonton, NJ
Gourmet jello shots: Portland, OR
Doughnuts: Charleston, SC; Austin, TX
Crepes: Orange County, CA
Miscellaneous: Philadelphia, PA
Coffee: Boston, MA
Champagne: Lexington, KY
Cocktails: Charleston, SC
Full bar: Telluride, CO; vintage bar in 8 states; Columbus, OH; Seattle, WA
Beer: multiple locations in OR; locations in 5 states; Ipswich, MA
Mocktails: Boston, MA
Lemonade: Cranston, RI
The Bottom Line
Food trucks are a fun, creative, delicious addition to any wedding. If you can get past any logistics problems, your guests are sure to love ordering from a food truck. If you opt for an appetizer or late-night snack truck, make it a surprise! Just make sure your photographer or videographer knows so they can capture your guests’ excitement.