Catering Trends for Weddings

by on June 2nd, 2014
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Cocktail weddings, food stations, local foods, creative inspirations, and themed weddings are on the rise. Couples nowadays are feeling much freer to be creative and unique with their ideas and even their foods. Checkout some of today’s Most Creative Wedding Catering Trends!

Cocktail Weddings

Many couples are beginning to rethink the heavy sit down dinners and buffets and go for a lighter cocktail reception. These are more a short and sweet kind of party with plenty of time to talk, but still enough time to head out early and get on with the honeymoon.

This is for those couples who never liked the sit down receptions with the bride and groom slowly making their way around the room saying hi and giving a quick hug before moving on to the next table. I never liked seeing people sitting at the back of the room falling asleep while the bride and groom are having a blast waiting for the next part of the reception. What do most people stick around ’til the end for anyway? The Cake, of course! Couples today are changing things up and keeping them exciting by offering more options
for guests. Cocktail receptions are known for a smaller number of people, simple hors d’ oeuvres rather than a full meal and light conversation. Cocktail receptions allow for light dancing while leaving the drink at the table and seeing as how this also means less chairs, people are standing up, walking around and visiting with friends and family. Isn’t that what
weddings are for anyway?

Forget the bonus to guests for a little while and consider all of the benefits to the bride and groom (or whoever is paying for the wedding). Cocktails mean less tables, less chairs, less
linens, no formal place setting for meals, paper napkins and small dishes. Most likely this also means no silverware, spending less on food and alcohol, etc. Cocktail receptions
are lighter, sweeter, shorter and a lot less expensive for those that weren’t planning on spending a great deal of money and weren’t looking for a party that went on into the night, but still wanted a classy affair. What a deal!

Interactive Food Stations

Food stations are fun for your wedding guests because they allow guests to sample foods that they otherwise might never have tasted, in little teeny tiny portions, and they get everyone mixing and mingling. Love seafood? Have a seafood station. Love prime rib? Go for a carving station. You can also create stations that reflect your ethnicity or your locale.

Get guests excited about the menu with interactive food stations, manned by talented chefs who can chat ingredients and cooking methods. Some interactive food station ideas: stir-fry stations, grilling stations, sushi-rolling stations, tortilla-making stations, and more.
I find that most wedding guests simply don’t like being trapped at a dining table all night. Having your guests seated at a table for hours can quickly zap the energy right out of your special night.
Small is big right now! Miniature versions of classic foods continue to grow in popularity. Examples include serving mini chicken pot pies, petite salads or bite-size grilled cheese sandwiches with rich tomato soup in demitasse cups.

Here are some ideas for food stations that will tantalize your taste buds (and those of your guests!):
Asian Station
Spring rolls, pan fried dumplings, and Thai dishes like satay chicken or pad Thai.

Mexican Station
Tacos and nachos with lots of yummy toppings.

Pasta Station
A variety of hot gourmet pastas with different sauces for your guests to choose from.

Salad and Veggie Station
Greek salad, Caesar salad, bean salad – the options are endless. You could also include grilled veggies.

Cheese Station
A selection of domestic and international cheeses from gourmet cheese makers. Pair with a variety of wines, both red and white.

Mac and Cheese Station
We’re not talking Kraft Dinner here. Have a chef cook up some gourmet mac and cheese and offer a variety of toppings to make it even more decadent.
Soup Station
Perfect for fall and winter weddings. Offer a variety of homemade soups, like seafood chowder, minestrone, lobster bisque, butternut squash soup, chicken gumbo, or asparagus soup in little wonton soup spoons. What about gazpacho, vichyssoise or borsht?

Dessert Station
You could have a lot of fun with this. Offer a wide variety of homemade desserts in little cups or stick with a theme like chocolate.

Ice Cream or Gelato Station
A variety of gourmet ice creams or gelato with lots of delicious toppings to choose from so guests can create their own sundaes.

Espresso Station
Espresso, gourmet coffees and teas – and don’t forget the hot chocolate for the kids. Have cinnamon, whipped cream, nutmeg, cane sugar and cream on hand.

Family-Style Table Service

Give your sit-down dinner reception more of a dinner party vibe by having dinner passed family-style. So instead of plated meals, each dish is passed around the table for guests to help themselves.

Family style is the latest trend in weddings and dinner parties incorporating a more casual tone rather than dinners that come plated to each guest. The idea of passing around serving dishes and helping one’s self to a dish that is part of the meal is meant to conjure up the intimacy of family dinners. I love family style meals! They’re fun and interactive. Folks are busy passing food to each other and talking away at the same time.

This wedding trend is a fantastic option for brides and grooms that want to set a natural stage for their guests to interact, in a setting akin to “home.” There are many positives that come with a family style reception, like permission to have low-key centerpieces because you need the space. Right? They are more comfortable and homey (especially for larger weddings where guests don’t know each other) and there are no lines for your guests to be called to and wait in. That’s the best part!

Also consider that there will be less waste with family style than with either sit-down plated dinners or a buffet because people will serve themselves what they WANT. Those who don’t like the veggies won’t have to leave them sitting on the side of the plate. Those doing Atkins can avoid the starches and potatoes. Family-style meals are meant to merge the two families into the creation of one new family. Isn’t that what a wedding is designed to do?

You get the picture. Weddings are meant to be about the bride and the groom and what makes them so unique. Take a moment and really put some thought into how you are making this wonderful occasion your own. You don’t have to follow the cookie-cutter wedding schedule with all of the ways you’ve seen them go wrong in the past. Be creative and unique and you will essentially create a unique experience for any guests attending your wedding.

Victoria Kelly, “Catering Trends in Weddings”, www.apieceofcakeweddingdesign.com


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