Wedding receptions are changing with the times, and brides and grooms are having a great time experimenting with new trends in food and drink choices!
Gone are the days of every reception offering a simple plated meal followed by wedding cake. Couples today want personalized menu choices that are fun, delicious, and reflect their personalities.
Small bites and appetizers are becoming more varied and substantial. Some couples even allow the small bites and cocktails to steal the spotlight and choose to forgo a formal meal altogether. Of course, the appetizers should be both hearty and plentiful if this choice is made.
Some popular appetizers / hors d’oeuvres include mini crab cakes, shrimp cocktail, brie in puff pastry, empanadas, mini skewers and kabobs, and crostini.
Another fun trend right now (that can easily be incorporated into your appetizer menu) is the concept of small bites in edible “carriers”. In other words, serve foods that do not leave the guest left holding a toothpick, utensil, or other item once the small bite is consumed. A few examples include crab dip served in edible spoons, Caesar salad bites in parmesan crusted phyllo cups, or shrimp and avocado salsa served in pastry cups.
Signature cocktails are also a fabulous way to make a reception or cocktail hour special. Many caterers will work with couples to create a drink that appeals to their taste buds and matches their desired color scheme. Don’t be afraid to give your signature drink a clever name. Some examples: how about a “Smith-tini” at the Smith wedding or a “Miller-politan” at the Miller wedding?
Another way to keep guests socializing and enjoying themselves is to offer food stations where they can customize their own delicious choices. Some fun ideas for stations include mashed potato bars (offer different types of potatoes in martini glasses and toppings like sour cream, cheddar cheese, bacon, butter, ham, scallions, etc.), pasta bars (offer different shapes, sauces, vegetables, cheeses), or stir fry bars (offer different meats, seafoods, sauces, vegetables, rices).
Food stations are also a natural choice for desserts! Try an ice-cream sundae bar, cookie bar, or candy buffet! Guests will have a great time creating their desserts and chatting about their choices with the other guests!
A final food trend worth talking about is the inclusion of nostalgic comfort foods in the wedding reception menu. Couples are no longer afraid to offer their favorite foods like chicken tenders, mini-hamburgers, French fries, and macaroni and cheese at their formal wedding receptions. In most instances, this can add a fun element to the cocktail hour as long as the foods are presented in an appropriately elegant manner.