20 Raw Bars Perfect for Your Summer Wedding

boat shaped serving tray filled with seafood
Jackie Fox of J. Harper Photography

It's typical to offer a fish main course option during a traditional wedding dinner—but if you are a real seafood lover, we suggest prefacing the meal with a raw bar at your event. A station of fresh oysters, shrimp, crab, and lobster can elevate your celebration in many ways. Plus, this fine-dining spread can speak to your favorite food while lending decadence to your big day.

Naturally, raw bars have a beachy look, so if you are getting married on the water, this spread can serve as big-day décor, too. Upgrade your thematic setup in a way that pays homage to your oceanside locale with a model rowboat, like this one by The Chef's Table and Dear Rose Studio. You can even add oars to enhance the station's realistic look. If you want a subtler display that still alludes to your nautical fête, try serving seafood in smaller shell-shaped bowls. Of course, you don't need to get married in the sand to offer a raw bar on your own big day—they're a guaranteed culinary crowd-pleaser for any event, whatever the location.

Besides fish, crab, and shellfish, all you need to finish off your raw bar is ice. After all, it's crucial that your selection stays cold all night long. For a unique twist on a seafood setup, an ice sculpture that holds your spread should keep things cool while making for a stunning design element. Looking for more raw bar examples to inspire your own? The ahead images prove that an interactive seafood station can be just as striking as it is tasty.

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Fish Market

Oysters in Ice
A Bryan Photo

Make guests feel like they're at an authentic fish market by building your own seafood counter-inspired raw bar. To accomplish this look, top your display with a wooden plank; use the surface to offer cocktail, hot sauce, and oyster crackers, too.

02 of 19

Passed Seafood

server holding platter of oysters, shrimp, and fried seafood
Sawyer Baird for Baird & Lim

Bring the raw bar to your guests by hiring servers to pass platters of oysters, shrimp, and fried clams (these were provided by Southern Inn) around.

03 of 19

Wooden Texture

oysters filled wooden ice box
O'Malley Photographers

A wooden ice box filled with freshly-shucked oysters is the perfect addition to a cocktail hour spread, as evidenced by Merren Events' setup.

04 of 19

Sushi Rolls

Sushi Rolls on wooden stand above shrimp and oysters
Aaron and Jillian Photography

We love how Lowndes Grove used a wooden stand to display sushi cones over shrimp and oysters. Mirror this setup if you're incorporating nori rolls into your raw bar; elevating them slightly above the ice will prevent them from becoming soggy.

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Single Serving

oysters with hot sauce raw bar ideas
Melissa Schollaert Photography

Create a single-serving raw bar (Toast Events made these hors d'oeuvres) by passing around ice-filled cups that hold an oyster and a mini Tabasco bottle in each.

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Ice Sculpture

seafood filled ice sculpture
Jen Fariello Photography

Turn your raw bar into a work of art that'll impress your guests by placing seafood on a tiered ice sculpture.

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Sea Spice

seafood and various dips serving tray
Caroline Tran Photography

Copy Urban Palate's appetizer if you're looking to spice up your raw bar with an array of dips that pair nicely with clams, shrimp, and crab.

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Shell Bowl

engagement party food rachel red
Rachel Red Photography

Complement your seaside wedding locale by serving oysters in a shell-shaped bowl. Lindsay Bishop Events worked with Cru Catering to create this setup.

09 of 19

Icy Décor

jessica brian wedding rawbar
Abby Jiu Photography

Make like Sleepy Hollow Country Club and recreate this ice sculpture raw bar for a seafood station that doubles as elevated big-day décor.

10 of 19

Rustic Aesthetic

seafood filled wooden crates
Jen Huang

Recreate Lauren James Events' raw bar by displaying oysters in wooden crates to complement your wedding's rustic aesthetic.

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Plate Seasoning

oyster bar wedding food
Laurel McConnell Photography

Model your raw bar after Roche Harbers' by offering sauces, lemons, and limes with your seafood so guest can season their plates however they please.

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Thematic Canoe

canoe shaped oversized serving tray filled with seafood
Erin McGinn Photography

Create a thematic display that speaks to your seafood spread by making a raw bar out of a tiny canoe. Magic Foods Catering made this station.

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Fishing Boat

Johnny Miller

Turn a repurposed fishing boat filled with ice into a raw bar, like The Beach Plum Inn did here, to hint at your love for the sport.

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Industrial Venue

metal barrels filled with seafood
Megan Clouse

Present your raw bar (Park Avenue Catering created this setup) in wood and metal barrels for a fun juxtaposition of the nautical and the industrial.

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Oar Addition

seafood filled row boat with oars
Studio Nouveau

Add oars to your rowboat raw bar—Boston Yacht Club made this spread—to create a realistic nautical setup.

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Silver and Glass

round white linen covered table with seafood bar
Megan Sorel Photography

Make like Alexandra Kolendrianos and enhance your formal wedding aesthetic with an elegant raw bar. The experts used chilled silver bowls on glass stands to hold different seafood.

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Seaside Nod

boat shaped seafood filled serving bar
Eileen Meny Photography

Nod to your seaside affair by serving your raw bar—Cape Cod Celebrations and Clambakes, Etc. put together this station—in a boat.

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Nautical Rope

seafood filled metal barrel with rope decor
Erin Jean Photography

Display seafood in a barrel decorated with rope to lend a nautical feel to your raw bar, like Three Three Five and Sash and Bow did here.

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Asian Flavor

wedding sushi bar
Margaux Gamble

Take notes from Catering Costa and add Asian flair to your raw bar by offering sushi, too.

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