As a caterer that has had the honor of serving many weddings, I hear it all the time; “it’s been X years and people still rave about the food at my reception.” The quality of food along with the style you choose to serve it will be etched into your reception guests’ memory. Having been in the business for over twenty years, I’ve seen food trends come, go, then come back again. I’ve seen twenty-year-old trends hang around and get better with age, and I’ve seen trends spring out of nowhere. Here are my five trends to watch for 2020.
“This makes me feel some kind of way!”
Selecting the menu for your reception is about more than just providing dinner for your guests. The food and the method it’s serviced are perhaps the most important elements in setting the mood for the evening. As we go into a new decade and given the uncertainty in the world, it is not surprising that couples, more and more, are selecting a menu that is comforting and relatable. For instance, Hollywood actress Sabina Gadecki, who recently married country music superstar, Tyler Rich, really wanted pierogis at their Nashville wedding. Both Sabina’s parents are Polish so these savory dumplings are their family’s go-to comfort food. They were a happy nod to her heritage and were savored by all. My daughter requested fried catfish bites presented with hushpuppies following the same recipes used by her great grandparents in a restaurant they founded in 1938 for her wedding. It did not necessarily mesh with the rest of her menu, but her guests knew the history and there were several “aww” moments.
Trend: Comfort food that is relatable and customized to the couple and/or their family history inspiring a sense of warmth and well being. Food that instills positive emotions and memories.
Grazing tables are a new way of elevating your reception. The trend originated in Australia a couple of years ago and is still taking the catering world by storm. A feast for the eyes, it is more than cheese, charcuterie, crudités, or fruit display. It is all these things and more,…. much, much more. The abundance and variety on the table are what makes it so epic.
You can introduce a Grazing table by opting to skip passed hors d’oeuvres replacing them with this feast at the cocktail-hour. Or you can forego a traditional main course with a more souped-up, heartier spread. Or you bring it out for a late-night nosh. Regardless of when you introduce it, a Grazing Table is a visually fabulous and tasty option. We presented this during the cocktail hour at the wedding reception for country music stars, Carly Pearce and Michael Ray, and it was so popular we replenished and freshened it throughout the night. See our blog post about grazing tables last year.
Trend: Grazing Tables – abundant, beautiful, versatile and delicious.
A Tasty Center of Attention
A trending cousin of the grazing table is the Edible Centerpiece. Where a grazing table is like your stylish, yet extra (in a good way) cuz who lays it ALL out there, your edible centerpiece cousin is more reserved, refined and curates her selection to only your favorites. The Grazing Table is presented on one large table, where Edible Centerpieces are on every guest table. Both cousins are stunning, scrumptious, and the life of the party! Which to invite? We’re glad it is your decision. ;).
Trend: Edible Centerpieces – multifunctional, customizable to your aesthetic.
Not everyone is a control freak, that is until they are invited to build your own plate at a wedding food station. Who doesn’t like to create their own taco or burger or salad? Now I know what your thinking…that’s not a NEW trend! Starting somewhere in the 90s with the ubiquitous mashed potato martini bar, the DIY or build your own food station has been around for a while, and like it or not, because of their popularity, they are here to stay.
We are seeing amazing creativity in elevating these stations. New station ideas are inspired by what is hot in popular restaurants. For instance, a DIY ramen station is a new fav, or they may come from the bride or groom themselves, such as Sabina’s Pierogi Table. One of my favorites is still a taco bar, especially if it’s the Korean Beef Taco Table.
Trend: Interactive Food Tables – fun, gives your guests control, a great opportunity for table styling that enhances the wedding’s aesthetic.
Infusing the flavors of flowers into food continues to grow in popularity. A behind the scenes reason you are seeing more floral flavors as an option is that there have been several new professional hydroponic growers that are not only reliable but who are forever expanding their options. A couple of years ago I recognized this trend and bought two hydroponic grow towers to grow my own…..flowers and herbs only…promise :-), but could not supply enough for the demand.
For caterers, having the confidence that we will be able to get herbs or flowers when we need it, is a game-changer. This allows us to confidently promise that Lavender Shortbread Cookie or the Rose Infused Lemon Drop Martini to a bride six months before the big day. Expect to see more and more brilliant ideas popping up with this trend as providers expand their offerings.
Trend: Edible flowers – more and more options available; reliable edible floral vendors.
As we roll it into this new decade, I am excited to see what new trends will appear and see how old trends evolve. Seeing and reading about trends is an exciting and effective way to guide you to new ideas or to confirm your decisions. That said, as you are planning your 2020 wedding, one of the first things you will discover is that there is not a short supply of ideas or trend gurus. The big challenge will be curating the inspirations to match your vision, budget, and venue. In making decisions, use the words “timeless” and “classic” as your guide, enlist the advice of professionals, and most of all follow your heart…… that’s what got you in this lovely position.