When it comes to receptions, one size does not fit all. Some couples want a cocktail party or buffet, while others prefer a seated dinner. Whatever your style, let these five trends inspire.
Create an Experience.
Interactive is en vogue, whether the chefs light up bananas flambé or prepare a poke bowl to order. Service style also plays a part. Food stations, for instance, encourage conversation. But even if guests are sitting down, you can still make it interactive. Consider a family-style approach. “Guests pass the food around and have a little bit of everything,” explains Dana Twaddell, vice president of Sage Catering in Berwyn, Pennsylvania.
Liven up the Libations.
A champagne tower is guaranteed to produce a buzz, says Amy Patel, co-owner of Platform 1 Events at the Columbia Station in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. Couple it with signature cocktails with fun themes or ice stamped with your names. Speaking of cocktails, there’s been an uptick in bourbon. At the beach, that means bourbon crushes, says Joe Payne, food and beverage director of the Lighthouse Cove Event Center in Dewey Beach, Delaware. Any juice should be fresh, Twaddell maintains.
Banish Boring Appetizers.
Since Phoenixville is a brewery town, customers are asking for haute pub grub. Take, for instance, marinated pork belly sliders, Philly cheesesteak meatballs, smoking jalapeño peppers with three kinds of cheese and a hot sauce, and Reuben dip with soft caraway pretzels, Patel says. You don’t need to be in Brew City to up your app game. Couples are gravitating toward pretty grazing boards covered with easy-to-eat nibbles for appetizers and desserts.
Couples now offer several entrée choices for sit-down dinners to accommodate dietary preferences. For instance, Lighthouse Cove customers purchasing a plated service get three options—but putting four on the RSVP card is not unusual, says Lisa Wilgus, director of catering and convention services.
Let Them Eat…Anything But a Big Cake.
The traditional tiered wedding cake has been on the wane for some time—people don’t want to stop partying long enough to eat it. You can still have your cake and eat it too. Purchase a small one for the ceremonial slice, or order cupcakes and cake pops, says Michael “Sherm” Porter, president and CEO of Sherm’s Catering in Wilmington, Delaware. Another option is miniature pastries. Toscana Catering in Wilmington offers about 15 mini desserts, including cheesecake, brownies, cookies and cupcakes. Mini lava cakes, doughnuts and crème brûlée are hot, Patel adds. If you’re committed to a tiered cake, supply cake bags or boxes to guests so they can enjoy a slice at home, suggests Lori Seward of Toscana Catering. It will cut down on leftovers. Another tip: Instead of freezing the top tier, which occupies valuable freezer real estate, ask the baker for a gift certificate to purchase a small cake for your first anniversary.