Wedding Catering Trends For 2020

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The start of a new year always brings about fresh ideas and the revamping of past trends. As wedding season begins to approach, it's important to reflect on last year's previous trends but also bring unique options to the table when discussing ideas with potential clients.

Whether it's through their theme, decor, or catering, couples are always looking to make their wedding day special. Here are 6 wedding trends for caterers in 2020 that are sure to impress your clients and guests.

1. Grazing Tables

A food trend that's proven it's here to stay: grazing tables. Beloved by clients, guests, and caterers alike, grazing tables are upscale buffet spreads that artfully display foods in interwoven piles. Grazing tables have been popping up at cocktail parties, baby showers, luncheons, and just about every other special occasion, making them a perfect addition to any wedding reception.

Grazing tables allow guests to mingle with each other as they load up plates and cut down on the time it takes for hungry wedding-goers to get their meals. Plus, these lavishly decorated tables add an unforgettable touch to weddings that your clients are sure to love.

What Should I Include In My Grazing Table?

  • Variety of fresh cheeses
  • Variety of cured meats
  • Bread and crackers
  • Fruits and jams
  • Variety of dips
  • Popcorn
  • Pretzels
  • Nuts

Catering Tip: Seafood-themed grazing tables are quickly becoming popular alongside the traditional ham and cheese assortments, so feel free to design grazing tables filled with oysters, shrimp, lobster, and other raw bar items as well.

What Should I Decorate My Grazing Table With?

  • Flowers and greenery (fresh or artificial)
  • Wooden baskets
  • Vine borders
  • Colorful accents according to theme
  • Metallic ribbons
  • Handwritten labels

Although grazing tables are designed for finger foods, ensure to leave an array of silverware and serving tools throughout your spread for guests to serve themselves. And for an added touch of multidimensionality in your food and floral arrangement, scatter wooden risers and stands on your grazing table and cover them with foods to play with scale and size.

2. Plant-Based Options

With more of the world growing conscious of their health and sustainable practices, plant-based foods have become a part of many people's daily lives. As caterers, you may have already had several clients ask you to create plant-based or vegan dishes for events.

Adding plant-based options to wedding menus is a great way to accommodate clients and their guests, or to easily provide options for those with dietary restrictions. Consider creating a plant-based cocktail hour or adding plant-based entrees to your wedding catering services.

Plant-Based Catering Ideas

  • Tofu lettuce cups
  • Vegan sushi rolls
  • Veggie skewers
  • Beet tartare
  • Eggplant lasagna
  • Edamame dumplings
  • Jackfruit "pulled pork" sliders
  • Cashew mac and "cheese"
  • Stuffed mushrooms
  • Butternut squash soup shooters

3. Compostable Tableware

To complement your eco-friendly menus, offer your clients the option of incorporating natural tableware and serving utensils into their dinnerware options. Sustainable tableware and cutlery crafted from a variety of wood and leaves often have unique tones and natural patterns that can't be replicated, offering the one-of-a-kind look that most brides and grooms are seeking.

What Should I Include In My Compostable Tableware Set?

  • Mini plates made from palm leaves, bamboo or sugarcane
  • Dinner plates made from palm leaves, bamboo or sugarcane
  • Soup bowls made from palm leaves or sugarcane
  • Appetizer cups made from palm leaves or bamboo
  • Tasting spoons made from bamboo or sugarcane
  • Mini cutlery and full-size cutlery made from wood or bamboo
  • Handheld food cones made from wood or bamboo
  • Food boats made from wood or bamboo

Although some guests might want to stick to traditional silverware, guests who lean towards earth-conscious and plant-based options will love the idea of using unique and nature-friendly tableware on their special day.

4. Personalized Cocktail Menus

Besides the celebration of love and family, it's no secret that the best part of weddings is the drinks! However, a growing wedding trend is forgoing the traditional open bar setup and opting for a customized cocktail menu.

Helping your clients create personalized drinks is a great way to capture their personalities or tie in their wedding theme, and guests will love the fun twist to their beverages. Plus, for those looking to cut down on costs, a fixed drink menu is a great way of controlling the bar tab.

How Do I Create A Custom Cocktail Menu?

  1. Sit down with your clients and ask them about their preferred drinks or what kind of cocktails they would like at their wedding.
  2. Offer up some beverage suggestions and flavor combinations of your own, in case your clients need help narrowing down ideas.
  3. Create a cocktail menu with 3-4 drink options, incorporating multiple types of spirits.
  4. Ask your clients to come up with names for their custom cocktails, inspired by the couple themselves or their wedding theme.

Catering Tip: Include a lighter ABV or non-alcoholic option to accommodate guests who are limiting their alcohol intake or prefer not to drink.

Unique Glassware Presentation Ideas

Apart from perfectly blended combinations and garnishes, glassware plays a huge role in creating memorable drink presentations. Serve your client's personalized cocktails in drinkware just as unique as the actual beverage.

  • Moscow mule mugs
  • Oversized wine glasses
  • Unique martini glasses
  • Etched or engraved glasses
  • Mini glasses for beer flights or cocktail tastings
  • Shot glasses
  • Test tubes or lab-inspired glasses

5. Customizable Food Stations

Along with forgoing most traditional aspects of weddings, most couples these days are also getting rid of overly-formal, three-course, sit-down dinners and instead choosing casual, customizable food stations.

Wedding caterers know that hungry guests can get disgruntled after waiting on their food for too long, so ready-to-serve food stations are the ideal solution for keeping guests happy and helping to avoid any additional stress on your client's wedding day. The interactive element that custom food stations bring is also a great way of leaving a lasting impression on guests.

Ideas For Custom Food Stations

  • Sushi rolling station
  • Ramen station
  • Burrito bowl station
  • Create-your-own-pizza station
  • Build-your-own-burger station
  • Fruit and chocolate fondue station
  • S'mores station
  • Macaron station
  • Fill-your-own candy bag station
  • Donut station

Tips For Creating Custom Food Stations

  • Discuss. Get together with your clients and talk about the kinds of food stations they would like at their wedding.
  • Find what speaks to your guests. Play up your client's theme with regional cuisine, childhood classics, or comfort foods they love.
  • Create a layout. Spread out your station by tableware and utensils, followed by base ingredients, proteins, and sides, to keep a consistent flow between guests as they serve themselves.
  • Avoid crowding. Set up food stations throughout the venue to prevent large crowds of guests from forming around one station.

6. Late-Night Snack Bars

Perfect for those with evening receptions or couples who want to keep the party going, late-night snack bars have become a popular trend amongst clients. Late-night snack stations are also a great way to leave guests with a good treat after cakes have been cut and dessert stations have been scavenged.

Ideas For Late-Night Snack Bars

  • Dessert canapes
  • Chocolate-dipped cookies
  • Trail mixes
  • Ice cream sundaes
  • Cookie and milk shooters
  • Mini hamburgers
  • Mini grilled cheeses
  • Mini chicken and waffles
  • French fries
  • Pretzels
  • Coffee and croissants

Keep in mind that late-night snack bars should be set up for fewer guests, and should be filled with lighter options. To keep the remaining dancers and bridal party members fueled for the rest of the night, you can even opt for some savory snacks and drinks.

Find What Works For You And Your Clients

Trends come and go, but weddings create memories that last for years. The most important step in ensuring your clients are absolutely satisfied with your catering services on their special day is to find the style of catering they're looking for.

If a couple wants a traditional reception and sit-down dinner, then choose menus and layouts that work for them. If a couple wants a more intimate, casual gathering with their friends and family, give suggestions on how to create unforgettable experiences as their menu progresses. No matter what style of wedding you're catering, these 6 trends are here to stay for upcoming wedding seasons to come and are great options for you and your clients to consider when planning their wedding.

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