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Meals on Wheels: Food Trucks for Weddings
One of the best ways to ensure your guests have a fabulous time on your wedding day is to provide them with great food. Longer wedding days are becoming more popular, which often means offering more than just an entrée and dessert. Stuck on what a third course should be? Just hit the streets.
The food truck craze that took over busy downtown curbsides has now landed smack-dab in the middle of wedding receptions. Using a food truck for a late-night snack or second dessert can be an affordable and easy option, but most important, a fun and memorable experience for your guests.
When Ellie Baumgartner and Kevin Smith were planning their wedding menu, they knew they wanted to add something special to the usual repertoire. As two former Wisconsinites currently living in Portland, Oregon, their goal was to blend elements of their old home with their new home. They decided the Milwaukee-based Gouda Girls truck (formerly, the Chubby Cheese truck) was just the ticket: a food cart similar to those the couple visits in Portland, combined with good ol’ Wisconsin cheese.
The food truck supplied grilled cheese sandwiches to guests as a late-night snack, and proved to be as entertaining as it was nourishing. “When people are dancing and drinking, it’s fun to have something to tide them over later in the night,” explains Baumgartner. “The truck ended up being a gathering site for people, too.”
If you’ve ever been to a food truck rally, you know that street fare no longer simply means a hot dog and a side of chips. Some couples opt to bring in classic fried food for a snack, while others go for more unusual cuisines. Satellite Crepes in Milwaukee is known for toting their partially solar-powered food cart to weddings and serving gourmet crepes filled with fresh fruit and Nutella. Kangaroostaurant in Appleton specializes in flavorful comfort food such as pulled pork sandwiches and sweet-potato fries. Whatever mood you want to strike, you’re guaranteed to find a food truck that can provide it.
This trendy meals-on-wheels option is also hassle-free. Instead of worrying about aligning schedules with a chef for taste-testing, a bride can grab her groom-to-be and do a food-truck run to see what options are available. With everything made fresh on the spot, menus can usually be customized too.
“We pride ourselves on our flexibility to serve each bride’s unique desires,” says the Gouda Girls co-owner Katherine Tonn. But that’s not the only advantage to this trend. “Food trucks are also fortunate to have a lower overhead than most traditional catering businesses, thus lower prices.”
Though the cost of hosting a food truck varies depending on menu, travel distance for the truck and other factors, it can still be cheaper than adding another meal through a caterer. With something like a grilled cheese sandwich, which has few ingredients and a short cooking time, the cost ranges from about $3 to $5 per person. However, many food trucks prefer using local and organic ingredients, so larger snacks can average up to $15 per person. Because everything is conveniently packed into a licensed kitchen on wheels, there is generally no rental charge for items such as flatware—plus there’s no cleanup.
The Total Package
It’s important to remember that mobile food vendors not only provide food for your guests, but an experience as well. Make sure the truck is located in a convenient area at your venue and that it arrives at an appropriate time. The chef will let you know what their permit covers and will usually suggest a set-up location. The truck may also visit the venue prior to the big day to ensure everything will run flawlessly and that its presence won’t distract from the location.
“We had our wedding at a building that’s pretty industrial, which we liked for the rawness of the space, but we weren’t that excited about the outside view,” says Baumgartner. “The food truck actually kind of blocked that view and they set up little lights too, which was a really nice touch.”
Whether you want to serve big slices of pizza or stuffed risotto balls for a midnight snack, you’ll find the options are endless. Hiring a food truck not only allows the guests to mingle at the end of the night, but the chefs also promise the guests will leave with a wide smile and a full belly.
“Food trucks can add a little or a lot to any wedding,” Tonn says. “Our goal is to always make good food and good friends!”
A Truckload of Options
A few of the many local food trucks well-versed in making delicious snacks
- The Gouda Girls (formerly Chubby Cheese)
Rich grilled cheese sandwiches and other cheesy delights
- Satellite Crepes
Sweet or savory crepes, all filled with organic ingredients
Wholesome comfort food such as pulled pork sandwiches and sweet-potato fries
- The Dandelion
Vegetarian/vegan cuisine, including dessert
Huge slices of pizza with fresh toppings and creative combos
- Pita Brothers
Freshly grilled pita sandwiches with authentic Lebanese flatbread
- Mad City Fry Guy
Hot dogs, hand-cut fries and poutine
- Fried and Fabulous
Deep-fried sweets from cheesecake to PB & J sandwiches