Food truck weddings have been trending in the past few years, and for good reason. They’re a fun, quirky, and unique way to feed your guests, while also creating a laid back party atmosphere.
And let’s be honest, we all know that food truck offerings are some of the best around while traditional wedding fare can be a huge miss. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more memorable wedding entree than a mac and cheese stuffed grilled cheese sandwich or epic poutine burrito.
BUT, a food truck isn’t the right fit for every wedding, even if it’s a micro wedding. And even if you do decide that it’s right for you, there are some key elements that you need to keep in mind (yes, it IS a little more complicated than just having them show up!).
So, the first thing you need to decide is – is a food truck right for your micro wedding?
Before you dive headfirst into figuring out HOW to have a food truck at your wedding, first take into considerations these questions:
- Does it work for your venue (more on that below)?
- Does a food truck fit your wedding vibe?
- Is it a good season for the food truck you want?
- Do you already have a few options in mind?
- Do you have the budget for a food truck wedding?
If you’ve decided that you DO in fact want a food truck for your micro wedding, then here are some additional factors to consider.
Many micro weddings are built from the venue up, but this can strongly affect the possibility of hosting a food truck.
If you went with a more traditional venue, then check with them first. Many venues don’t allow outside catering, and if they do, they often have a preferred vendors list that you are required to choose from.
Even if your venue DOES allow outside catering, you still need to do some asking because venues often require that any alcohol served be provided by your caterer. In the case of food trucks, many of them do not serve alcohol.
Regardless of whether you’ve been given the go-ahead by the venue OR if you’re choosing a public space like a park or a lake to be your venue, you need to check with the city.
Many city owned areas simply don’t allow food trucks to park in that area, EVEN if they have an open catering policy.
For example: Chicago has an ordinance that states food trucks can’t park within 200 feet away from any restaurant, and they can’t sell in one place for more than two hours.
Just because you’ve hosted a party at the park before, don’t assume that a food truck can roll up and post up in the parking lot.
If you’ve managed to navigate the hurdles of your venue and the city, then start to consider these additional factors:
- Is there space for the truck(s) to park? Food trucks are pretty darn big, and they take up a lot of space. Make sure you consider the space they’ll take up with their service window open!
- If you’re planning to allow them to park in the parking area provided by your venue, then ensure that there is still plenty of parking available for your guests. While this may not seem like as big of an issue if you’re hosting a micro wedding, it’s still a factor that shouldn’t be overlooked.
- You also need to make sure that they can make it into and out of your venue safely. If you have a long, unpaved, windy road up to your ranch style venue, your food truck might have a hard time making it up and back down again.
- Think about how far away the trucks are from the guests. Are they needing to walk 20 minutes there and back just for food? If you’ve got guests in formal wear, this may not be the best option.
- Do they have access to a power source if they need it?
Plan a Budget
While booking a food truck can mean a lower food budget, this isn’t always the case.
Try to plan for between $25-50 per person, depending on the truck you choose. Add more to this if you decide to add a food truck to serve alcohol at your event.
If you’re really looking to save some money, then consider booking a food truck during the off season. Many trucks are willing to make deals during the slower months, and they’re especially willing to work with smaller guests counts and budgets (hello micro wedding!).
Set a Schedule
One of the great things about having a food truck cater your micro wedding is the fact that you can be more flexible with your schedule. Traditional weddings generally have a very strict and prescribed schedule, but your smaller wedding and unique catering choices allow you to design the day according to what you want.
Start thinking outside the box and set a schedule with the food truck arriving when you think it best fits.
Go With the Seasons
Food trucks are not one size fits all when it comes to seasons, and this is something to consider when you’re planning your micro wedding. You also need to consider the fact that your guests will be waiting outside for the food, so you may need to invest in some tents to provide space for waiting and/or eating. You could also have some tables set up for your guests to sit or stand at.
To minimize wait times, you can
- Create a select menu with minimal items
- Choose a truck with fast prep items (ice cream, drinks, etc).
- Only use the food truck for appetizers, dessert, or late night snacks
You also might want the choice of food truck to flow with the season. Some good summer food trucks for your wedding might be cold desserts (ice cream, popsicles, milkshakes), pizza trucks, or light fresh produce based dishes. In the winter, you might want to use a coffee/hot chocolate truck, or one that serves delicious hot and fresh desserts (we’re looking at you donuts).
This couple had a summer wedding with a pizza and ice cream truck and it looked mighty epic to say the least.
Find Your Truck
There are a few ways to go about finding the perfect food truck for your micro wedding. Of course, if you already have a specific truck in mind, then look them up online and reach out.
If you’re not sure where to start then begin by considering exactly what you want out of your food truck. Are you looking for apps only? An epic main meal? Just desserts and drinks? Maybe even a midnight snack sendoff?
Thinking about what you’re looking to achieve will help to narrow down your search.
Another way is to explore social media. Many food trucks have their own social media pages and you can get a good idea about the type and quality of their food from their posts and what people are saying.
You can also utilize services like Roaming Hunger – the self proclaimed ‘food truck experts’, who will help you link up with food trucks in your area. In fact, they have an entire wedding division on their site that is dedicated to helping couples find the perfect food truck for their wedding.
This could be extra helpful if you’re planning a micro wedding and are looking for a food truck that is willing to cater to a smaller crowd.
If you’re a couple that’s serious about the aesthetic of your micro wedding, then you may also want to take into consideration the look of the food truck. Food trucks used to come in one shape, size, and look (aka big box). But as the industry has flourished, more and more food trucks have created their own vibes and looks that might just fit perfectly with yours.
Plan Your Menu/Customize
Regardless of what your food truck is providing, try to make sure that they have at least a few options available for your guests. It also helps to have one meat based dish and one vegetarian if you know that you’re going to have guests with differing dietary preferences.
Many food trucks are willing to work with you in terms of menu items, and some even offer fun addons like customized menu boards, foods named by you, and color schemes.
Limiting menu items can also be a strategic way to cut down on wait times for food prep. Limited menus not only help the food truck crank out food faster, but it also helps your guests order more quickly as well.
Design an Eating Area
Think about where your guests will be eating. While traditional food truck experiences entail standing and eating, it’s nice to have a space for your guests to sit and relax while they wait and enjoy their meal.
If you have space in your venue, then consider how far your guests will have to walk between the trucks and the venue. If the journey is far, then consider hiring some waitstaff to assist in food transport.
Be Flexible - But Plan Ahead
One of the best things about a micro wedding is the fact that many of the elements don’t have to be planned a year in advance. This jives perfectly with the way that food trucks roll, because most of them only schedule out 2-3 months in advance.
Make a list of your top options, and get in touch with each company. Ask how far out they’re willing to schedule, and also have some backups in mind. The reality with food trucks is that they might possibly go out of business before your big event, and if this happens, you’ll need a plan B.
Have Enough to Go Around
Make sure you do the math so that all of your guests are fed, and fed well. This is information that your food truck will probably request ahead of time, but make sure you take into consideration that some guests may want seconds, especially if the food you’re serving is light.
If your micro wedding has expanded a bit into a semi-micro wedding, then think about getting two food trucks. This will also prevent a long line from forming.
One idea to work around this (and also make sure your guests have enough to eat) is having an apps table set up while they wait. If you’re a charcuterie lover, this is the perfect opportunity to get some epic boards in display for you hungry guests.
If you’d rather serve a more traditional sit down dinner for your micro wedding, then consider having a beverage based food truck instead.
This could be a complement to your main truck, or as a single option. Remember, if you’re using a more traditional venue, they might require that your caterer provides any alcohol served.
One of the major perks of a food truck can be the fact that they will provide the serving dishes and utensils for your wedding. BUT, make sure that you’re down with what they’re providing. If you’re super eco-conscious, you might want to purchase compostable or recyclable dishware for them to use instead.
If you’re wanting to use actual dishes, this is definitely something you should discuss with your food truck beforehand.
Another perk? Easy clean up. But again, think about the fact that people will have to do their own bussing of tables. Food truck workers usually stay in the food truck, and won’t be responsible for clean up. So make sure you have enough strategically placed trash cans so that dishes don’t build up and you don’t leave a mess.
Have you had a food truck wedding and have some great advice (or want to share your pics!) with us? Contact us or leave a comment so we can chat!