Need inspiring ideas to take your wedding reception beyond the ordinary? When it comes to building a menu that will excite and entice, couples are steering away from the traditional chicken-and-beef cliché and venturing towards something more contemporary and memorable. You are only limited by your imagination. Do something daring, and feature a reception menu that will and tantalize all the senses. Here is a list of the hottest menu ideas and catering trends:

Go Ethnic
Gain inspiration from our friends across the border or overseas, and feature an ethnic menu. It's a great opportunity to honor your heritage or just an excuse to serve something fun. Consider an Italian pasta station or a Chinese wok station. How about a build-your-own taco bar? Or take your guests on a world tour, and serve a little bit of everything.

Comfort Food Goes Chic
Pay homage to your family upbringing and serve comfort foods, straight up with a chic twist. Everyone loves macaroni and cheese; add some pizzazz to an old favorite by adding gruyere and fontina cheeses. Stuff mini sirloin hamburgers with blue cheese and top them with caramelized onions. Comfort foods can also be served family-style, setting a relaxed and festive mood for the wedding reception.

Reflect a Theme
Tie it all together, and choose your reception menu based on the season, theme or color of your wedding. Feature apple-maple glazed chicken with pumpkin cheesecake during the fall, or try lemon grilled salmon with a steamed fresh vegetable medley during the summer. Stocking a buffet with all food from the same family on the color wheel can make for a fascinating presentation (albeit, a little rough on your caterer). One of our favorite menu ideas - connect your guests to the wedding celebration and recreate your first meal has a couple or revolve your cuisine around your honeymoon destination.

Buzz on Bars
They're not just for drinks anymore…Take your guests on a culinary journey of the senses with strategically placed food stations. Dynamic bars with bite sized samples allow guests to mingle and savor a number of flavors. So when you think catering - think tiny and scattered.

Cocktails & Appetizers
Looking to break the traditional five course mold? Base your entire wedding reception on cocktails and appetizers. This catering style allows for more variety and affords ample opportunity for creative presentation ideas. Serve a signature drink at a customized drink station. Feature shrimp and grits martinis. You're only limited by your imagination. The constant flow of stimulating culinary works of art and eye-catching spirits creates an intimate social atmosphere for your guests.

For a complete guide to planning your wedding reception menu, visit Elegala.com's complete Catering guide.