Wedding season is nearly upon us, and that means brides, grooms, and their vendors are busy finalizing the perfect big-day menu. While there's a lot guests love about the reception—including the floral décor and the music—what people are most excited about is the food. In fact, plenty of attendees cite cocktail hour, the big-day meal, and the wedding cake as the aspects of the day they most look forward to. To ensure everyone enjoys your offerings, it's nice to think outside the box. To that end, we're sharing the wedding food trends experts expect to see all season long. Take note of these creative ideas and work them into your own celebration.
Late-night snacks may not be a new idea, but that doesn't mean they don't deserve a spot at your wedding. After all, we can all agree when you've been dancing, drinking, and socializing, there's nothing better than a sweet or salty bite. That's why you'll likely be offered late-night bites at most of the events you're attending this wedding season. "Weddings typically last five hours from ceremony start to sparkler send-off," said Rachel Slauer, founder and lead planner at Slauer Events. "Couples want their guests to be well fed throughout. They'll have a late night snack passed around to give their guests energy to finish out on the dance floor strong. Usually it's something greasy and delicious—anything from French fries to sliders to pizza bites!"
Whether it's during during cocktail hour or as spots for guests to get different meal options during dinner, our experts expect to see food stations at weddings all season long. But instead of your basic carving station, couples are choosing more inventive options, otherwise known as "wow" stations. "I'd suggest choosing one or two 'wow' stations," Slauer said. "Maybe a build-your-own macaroni and cheese bar with lots of toppings or an adult milkshake station offering boozy sweet treats." A wedding should be all about the "wow" factor, so including features such as fire, smoky dry ice, or a beautiful display of cocktails is an excellent (and easy!) way to accomplish that.
Interactive Food Options
Does your fiancé love seafood? Are you two obsessed with freshly-made crepes? Show off your favorite foods—and drinks!—with interactive stations that encourage guests to get in on the action. Amberly Odom, owner of Wrenwood Designs, says so many of her couples are bringing an interactive food element to their celebrations this year. "An oyster shucking station with servers that will open them right in front of you and mingle throughout the crowd has been popular," she says. Slauer agrees, adding, "One of my favorite caterers offers a station where donuts are sautéed with whiskey and served with ice cream and other toppings."
Odom says these interactive options are great for larger weddings, because no one must stand in one long food line or sit in their seats, waiting for a plated dinner to be served. It allows guests to walk around, mingle, and have experiences that they'll remember. Whether you want a fresh mozzarella bar, a homemade guacamole station, or an interactive bar, your family and friends will love having a chance to play with their food and drink.
Unique Grazing Tables
Since couples know that guests rarely want to sit for a multi-course meal, many brides and grooms are offering a somewhat lighter meal and providing lots of opportunities to eat throughout the night instead. One option that's gaining popularity is the grazing table, where guests can grab small bites all night long. "They're not your average cheese or charcuterie grazing station," says Lisa Ware, director of business development and special projects at Catering by Michaels. "Dips, spreads, fun fruits and vegetables, cheese, house made chips, skewers, things with different textures and lots of color—all at different levels for an insane spread."
Think outside the box—a sandwich station, with tiny PB&J sandwiches. A cheese station with cheeses made in your state or area of the country. A bourbon tasting station is always an excellent idea, especially if there are distilleries in your state. Perhaps a tray of different levels of dark chocolate, or a large selection of freshly baked breads. Exotic fruits, especially ones that guests can't find at a regular grocery store, would be exciting as well.