Weddings have classically been known as a formal affair with rooms filled with round tables, elegant place settings that include seating cards, and a wedding cake large enough to be seen by everyone. And even though a few wedding parties still opt for a more formal setting, there are many that have ventured over to the social side. The idea is to add “foodertainment” to the mix – a perfect blend of culinary visual appeal and taste that allows for guests to mingle, instead of being locked at a table.
From drinks and finger foods to late night munchies, here are a few wedding catering trends that we hope to see more of this wedding season.
1. Creative Beverages
There’s definitely never a lack of alcoholic beverages at most weddings; in fact, the majority of us go for the wedding, but stay for the party afterwards. Drinking and mingling with friends and loved ones always makes for a perfect night, but when a little fun is brought to the mix, what can go wrong? A few fun beverage trends we’ve seen at recent weddings include a bloody Mary bar, bubbly bar (make a custom glass of bubbly, which includes fruit juice and fruit slices), specialty cocktails and a variety of draft brews.
But don’t forget the guests that prefer not to divulge in alcohol for the evening. We’ve also seen an increase in hot drink stations and water infused stations.
Lastly, when serving food, try recommending a paired beverage – a nice shot of Hefenweizen always goes great with salty finger foods.
2. Finger Foods & Small Plates
It’s easier for guests to mingle when they don’t have to sit at a table as they dine, which is why we’re guessing there’s been a huge increase in finger foods and small plates at weddings. When the caterer offers to walk the room with plated food that can be easily grabbed and munched as guests carry on conversation, the night seems to flow much better – which sets even Bridezilla at ease.
3. Food Trucks & Picnics
We love this trend, it marries simplicity with great food where you least expect it. If you would have told us a few years ago that food trucks would be making their way into weddings, we would have likely laughed, but the only thing laughable about this new trend is how much it encourages people to have their own laughs.
Yes, it’s informal, but how fun and easy is it to have a food truck for dinner and another for dessert. Spread out some beautiful linen on the grass (or on tables) and the entire event can be picnic style.
Farm-to-table isn’t just for residents anymore. In fact, Lyons Farmette, located in Lyons, Colorado, has seen an increase in weddings that want to take place at the farm (and the wedding party has no issues mingling with the wandering farm animals). But it’s not just about farm animals here, the culinary experience offers guests the freshest ingredients, while also being able to entertain guests with special dietary needs – vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, and other allergies.
Think about a table in the middle of a farm surrounded with the rustic beauty that the land brings – it’s hard not to fall in love with the setting and food, even if it does involve a few goats and chickens.
5. Chef Stations
A lot of what attracts people to finger foods and farm-to-table trends is seeing the masterpiece of food on the plate. It’s not just about the food, it’s an interaction that involves all of the senses, and getting food prepared right in front of you helps improve that experience. Chef stations offer a great way for guests to be able to ask questions as they watch their meal being prepared. They also get restaurant quality food that is served hot and fresh.
For those brides that still want a sit down dinner, there are always meals that can be served family-style to encourage guests to keep the chatter going. Family-style catering delivers meals to the table in big dishes that are then passed, and helps to boost guest interactions.
As a word of caution, having big dinner plates and bowls on a table takes up a lot of room – the bride should remember to keep the centerpieces small so the table doesn’t get too crowded.
7. Dessert Bar
Sorry wedding cake lovers, brides are keeping the social train moving right on through dessert time. We’ve seen some interesting dessert choices lately, like smores bars, frozen yogurt bars, fondue bars, and other extravagant dessert buffets.
But cakes aren’t entirely out the window. We’ve also seen cake pops, rice crispy treat cakes, cheesecake bars, and mini-cakes.
8. Late-Night Snacking
Once dinner is done, it’s time to dance the night away, but all of that drinking and dancing leads to late-night munchies. We love seeing that more caterers are offering to entertain the night-owls of the group by serving late-night snacks, like mini pretzel bites, sliders, meatballs, and other fun finger foods. And don’t worry about going over the top; keeping it simple is perfect for this hungry bunch!
9. To-Go Bags
Bless those that are able to rock-the-night-away, but not all guests can stay up into the wee hours of the night to experience those late-night munchies, so opt for helping to cater for guests on the go as well. Think of easy-to-pack foods like trail mix and cookies. You can have the food pre-packed or setup buffet style so they can dip up their own grab-bag.