Asking your caterer for a special food request is not unheard of, and you won't know if it's possible if you don't ask. Are ropa vieja and platanos your favorite foods? Do you prefer carrot cake to yellow, white, or chocolate? Ask your caterer if it's possible to come up with a price for your custom menu and you may be surprised at the possibilities. Many caterers I work with, both private and at big hotels, are happy to create something special as long as they have ample time to perfect the dish and order ingredients. Original touches included in your dinner menu add pizzaz and something unique to your wedding celebration that guests will appreciate and enjoy!
A signature appetizer (ex: Pierogies, Swedish meatballs, mini cheeseburger sliders, coconut shrimp) and complimentary cocktail are a perfect way to incorporate your favorites into the wedding. On a budget? (who isn't, really?) Create a laid back atmosphere by serving "heavy" hors d'ouevres that can be eaten while standing and mingling, like a loaded potato bar, macadamia encrusted mahi fingers, and grilled veggies on a skewer. This way you may not need all the courses required for a sit down dinner, and you save big on fewer tables, chairs, linens and centerpieces.
Real Simple's Wedding Reception Menu Ideas article is a great place to inspire your palette, and see ideas for menus at sit-downs, buffets, cocktail parties, and casual barbecue-style weddings.