Photo by Sam Stroud Photography
With foodie culture at an all time high, the beloved chicken, beef or fish selection is becoming a thing of the past. In the weddings of old, we would rejoice over the abundance of food at cocktail hour, the delicious plated menu and the wedding cake…but our genuine love of everything edible has taken wedding food to the next level. Couples are leaning toward a well crafted food experience wanting guests to dine on a cuisine that is unique, fun and delicious.
Menus are no longer a “one size fits all” scenario and we couldn’t be more intrigued. Read on for some of our favorite food and beverage trends that we hope are here to stay.
Family Style Meals
We would like to preface this paragraph with a tiny disclaimer; although we love the idea of everyone seated together at a big table, a pandemic is certainly not the time to put this one into action. Separate and socially distant is the way to go for the time being.
Family style dinners are reminiscent of the family dinners you had growing up. Think large platters set out along the middle of the table and passed to everyone seated around this big, magnificent feast. Typically at a wedding, guests will choose their protein and then serve themselves sides from the communal dishes. We love the atmosphere that this type of seating provokes. Tons of social engagement from quiet chats with those seated next to you to big boisterous conversations that everyone can get involved in. If you grew up looking forward to your Sunday family dinners at grandma’s house, this might be the perfect dining style for you!
As we begin to see a decline in the traditional sit down dinners, couples are turning to a more unique and memorable dining experience for their guests. Food stations are replacing the wedding buffet, and boy have they really kicked it up a notch! Food stations are creative and interactive; a food trend that we think is infinitely customizable… you can go fancy, casual or totally nostalgic.
Aside from hand picking exactly what you want to serve, you are offering your guests a truly unique experience. This type of dining style will enable your guests to mix and mingle while they decide what to eat, perhaps eating with someone they have only just met.
Some of our favorite food stations are potato bars, raw bars, sushi and asian food kiosks, a pizza station, popcorn bars, a biscuit bar (carb lovers rejoice), a high-end tapas bar with a little Spanish flair, and taco and nacho stations. If you love breakfast foods, how about a brunch bar complete with DIY waffles with endless toppings and a bacon bar? And if your heart beats for charcuterie, you can include a grazing table. This includes a delectable selection of cold meats, cheeses, antipasti, dips, breads, crackers, salads and fruits…need I say more!? And don’t forget to carry this awesome trend even further with a milk and cookie bar or a sweets station during dessert.
No matter what foods you want to highlight, the trick to nailing it is providing different flavors and varieties. Imagine your guest’s delight when they can stroll through your reception feasting on delicacies from around the world.
Late Night Snacks
Late night snacking is becoming more sophisticated as this wedding trend takes off. So whether you are offering an extension to a meal later in the evening or you are giving your guests something to take on the road, couples are moving away from the traditional grab and go snack and incorporating dishes relevant to unique moments in their relationship.
Offering late night snacks gives a couple the opportunity to include their guests in some of their fondest “foodie”memories. Replicating some of their favorite snacks from their greatest late night spots is not only a nostalgic walk down memory lane but it is also a delicious send off for your family and friends.
Some of the best late night snacks we have seen at weddings include a pretzel bar or an ice cream sandwich bar, grilled cheese and tomato soup dippers, shish kabob skewers, Asian takeout, gourmet french fries, chicken and waffle sliders, and mini lattes with bite-sized donuts. Some couples have also had food trucks lined up and waiting outside for guests as they exit to pick and choose their own late night snacks to go. And lastly, if fast food is your thing, serving up some of your favorite sweet and salty treats from your go to spot is a perfect way to leave your guests happy and full as they exit your celebration.
Gone are the days of brides and grooms picking their favorite classic cocktail. Instead couples are opting for an entire custom bar program. Similar to a food station, couples are moving away from the traditional bar set up and giving guests a more engaging and personalized experience. Some of the drink stations we have seen include a tonic bar complete with all the different alcohol, mixes and garnishes to make your perfect drink and also a bar exclusively devoted to champagne cocktails…again with all the fixings. Couples who are looking to “break out the good stuff” have also incorporated a scotch bar. We are also totally on the champagne truck train!!! If there is something that you and your betrothed love to sip, setting up a custom bar just for that drink is a special touch that your guests will love.
Molecular Mixology and Gastronomy
If you want your food to be enjoyed by both your mouth and your eyes, then molecular gastronomy may be the way to go. This culinary innovation gives your guests a burst of visuals, flavors, and drama to all the senses. This is cooking with a pinch of science and it just about blows everything else away. But beware this is not for the faint of heart. Imagine for a moment spoons carrying soup bubbles which burst in your mouth, or drinks letting out colorful smoke as you sip them, transparent tacos, and ice spheres carrying cocktails.
This food trend is as much about the theatrics and wonder as it is about the taste. And while we love this wedding add on, it may not be practical to have your entire menu be part of the theatrics. We think a special station serving select dishes and cocktails will be enough to keep your guests intrigued but still allow those skeptics to fill up on other options.
Foodies everywhere are embracing their love of food and we are so happy it has carried over into the wedding industry. Once upon a time people may have frowned at the idea of eating tacos at weddings, but today we couldn’t ask for anything better. So if you are a lover of all things sweet and savory, we urge you to take a step out of that box we call tradition and plan a wedding menu that is unique, fun and delicious. Your guests will thank you!