Choosing a caterer for your wedding can be a lot of fun, but during a pandemic we are faced with many tough decisions that we may have never thought about in the past. First and foremost, you want your wedding day to be memorable, but keeping your friends, family, vendors and yourself safe is a major priority in this day and age. Aside from the sanitizing stations, social distancing and “family pod” tables, we have some other tips on how to keep your food and beverages safe during your wedding reception.
Cocktail Hour To-Go
In most cases, cocktail hour is the first time your guests are going to eat, so let’s face it, they are going to be pretty hungry once it rolls around. In the past, the idea of roaming from room to room or station to station, sampling, dipping and mingling was the best way to begin the celebration. Fast forward to a worldwide pandemic and caterers have gotten quite creative with their cocktail hour offerings. Instead of communal serving spoons and trays of hors d’oeuvres being passed around a packed room, couples are offering pre-plated servings and bento boxes. Think about this… mini cheese boards, individual crudites in a rock glass with a dip in the bottom, and pre-filled wonton spoons with savory treats for your guests to sample, all without the worry. When it comes to cocktail hour, we suggest individually portioned servings given directly to your friends and family to keep all those hungry guests safe!
As you know bar lines can get quite long at a wedding, everyone rushing to get their drinks before the best man’s toast, or first dance. Since long lines and COVID don’t mix well together like our favorite cocktails, venues suggest passing beverages butler style during cocktail hour and subsequently offering table service once the reception begins. While bars are now equipped with plexiglass to protect the bartenders, the glassware and your guests, the long lines can really cause a hazard to our social distancing guidelines. We believe that the safest route to a good cocktail is letting the wait staff serve you. So sit back, eat, drink and be merry.
Plated Meals vs. Buffets
A plated meal has always been a welcomed pleasure at weddings. Now more than ever, guests feel more comfortable at an event if they can stay seated and be served. With a plated menu food can be served directly from the kitchen to your guests. In our opinion, this is the best option for keeping your guests within the social distancing guidelines.
Buffets are a bit more tricky when dealing with COVID, but they are still doable. The best advice we can give for offering a buffet meal at your wedding is to make sure that all of the food is being served by the caterer’s staff. Invite guests up to the buffet line, table by table so that no one is congregating too closely and guests are staying within their designated pod. Last but not least make sure to have extra staff on hand so that guests can be monitored and lines limited.
Gone are the chocolate fountains and communal ice cream sundae bars…for now at least. Similar to cocktail hour, desserts should be pre-plated and served directly to guests. If you want to kick it up a notch, offering guests their own assortments of treats such as cupcakes, cake pops and even a jarred dessert are a great way to up the ante. A wedding cake is a given but offering some other sweet treats that are individually portioned is always a sweet way to end the night!
One thing is for sure…in the wake of a global pandemic, we have definitely learned how to be creative with our options. Sure we miss the days of mixing and mingling, grabbing a treat from a server’s tray, meeting someone new at the bar…but one day we will get that back. For now, the key is creativity. From bento boxes packed with your favorite foods to prepackaged picnic baskets for outdoor weddings, there are so many ways to serve up some sweet and savory treats while still being safe!