Food is becoming as much of an experience as it is something to fill our bellies. It's also a place where brides and grooms can show off their creativity. Additionally, the appetizers, main course, and sweet treats can be used to tell the story of the couple and have guests get to know them more. Pumping up the grub with these trends is a great wedding hack that won't cost a fortune, but it will have big impact. First up, have a gander at the 15 wedding food trends you will definitely want at your nuptials. Then take a look at five food trends that might initially seem cool, but are actually best avoided.
Level-up your alcohol options with wine or beer flights during your cocktail hour or reception. If you want to continue the trend of including foods from your hometowns, source your alcohol from local breweries or vineyards for a warm, personalized touch. You could even include a wine tasting component to your meal or serve the flights alongside your sit-down dinner. The option will feel elegant to your guests and familiarize them with their options at the bar. It can also create a nice buzz early in the evening to ensure your guests start living it up before the dancing even starts.
This feels like a "duh!" moment, but this list alone should be enough evidence that recent wedding trends have shifted away from the traditional sit-down dinner for family-style meals, buffets, wandering food bars, or whatever else wedding planners materialize to create a unique, unconventional dining experience. Ironically, this means that the most surprising option has become a return to form with a formal dinner service. Go for multiple courses, white-gloved staff, and beautiful plating to give your guests a break from the exhausting ordeal that is carrying their own food around or scrambling to make something at the traveling oyster bar.
We love an open bar. Honestly, is there any point to a wedding without one? If your response is "a celebration of love," the bride and groom could celebrate their love with the three friends they actually like and each other in a Fiji elopement. Weddings are an excuse to throw a giant party, and we all know it. A bubbly bar is a cute addition to your alcohol options, especially for the dreaded daytime wedding where it seems a little too early to be pounding vodka crans. Offer a variety of champagnes and sparkling wines with fruits to plop into the glass.
Let's pour one out for all of the gift bags we've accidentally left behind at wedding receptions. After a long night of drinking, dancing, and actually watching people get married, it's easy to leave your swag bag during the end of the night wind-down. A hot new trend for weddings with a lot of out-of-town visitors (or destination weddings) is welcome bags. Some hosts opt for a gifting suite in the hotel where guests are invited to fill their bags with items laid out in the room and do a meet-and-greet with the bride and groom, while others leave welcome bags with gift certificates to local businesses and a letter. This ensures their gifts are actually used and gives your guests fun ways to spend any down time.
If you loved the idea of shouting out your hometowns through your culinary options, consider telling your *entire love story* instead. Include deserts from your favorite couples trips, like macarons from Paris or beignets from New Orleans. Make the appetizers throwbacks to your first date or the night you got engaged. Every gastronomic moment can be a reminder of why you're getting married in the first place, perfect for couples that love nostalgia (or bragging), travel often, or want a culinary theme without limiting their options.
CBD is having a huge moment, especially for 20-somethings. An easy way to incorporate this into your reception is through CBD-infused cocktails, which have already been around for a while in bigger cities and would be available by request at the bar. This would be a more subtle addition to the night and would be less jarring to older relatives who might not realize that you *aren't* drugging the guests. For the adventurous, CBD pastries taste exactly like non-CBD pastries, but they make everyone feel verrryyyy calmmmmm. Make sure to include a plaque with a short disclaimer or explanation for anyone who isn't in the know.
Straws are the devil, we get it. The bar is your easiest opportunity to stay eco-friendly, either by going strawless or throwing it back to your sorority rush days with colorful paper straws. Using bamboo stir sticks is another way to reduce single-use plastics, clear your conscious, and save you a lecture from your eco-warrior second cousins. If you want to kick it up a notch, print drink menus (if you choose to have them) on recycled stationary, use local vendors to reduce your carbon footprint, and veer toward eco-friendly or farm-to-table vendors.
If you're having a smaller wedding or you know that your guests aren't big on dancing (boring, but whatever), tasting menus with six to eight smaller gourmet courses are great for foodies that want to use the opportunity to create a five-star meal to remember. Hire a chef that specializes in tasting menus and highlight it as an intimate dining experience that is not to be missed. If this is your type of crowd, a tasting menu could be what sets your wedding a head above the rest for years to come.
Health and wellness are on everyone's minds as "self-care" becomes a bigger and bigger priority amongst millennials suffering from burn-out culture. Açaí bowls are a big hit regardless of the time of day (if you think they're just for breakfast, you are so two years ago). Offer an açaí building bar with various fruits, granola, and sweets to pair with your smoothie bowl. This could even be included in your dessert options if you run with a particularly health-conscious crowd or as a part of your late-night snacks to re-energize your guests at the end of the night.
Alternative cakes in place of an actual wedding cake scream "trying too hard," and will probably bum out more than one guest. No, Carol, we don't want a giant pancake stack instead of a five-tier cake. When we're invited to a wedding, we're trained from birth to expect cake. Do you really want to smush a maple-syrup pancake stack in your S/O's face? It's not cute. By all means, have your donut wall and your cinnamon bun stations, it's fun! But if you try to stack eight cheeses on top of each other and call it a wedding cake, you're robbing yourself of a cake tasting, and that's a tragedy itself.
It's a relief to see couples that met on Hinge and Bumble getting married. Notice I didn't say Tinder because we aren't living in a magical fantasy world where that would ever happen. It's awesome knowing that lasting relationships are possible through dating apps because they're starting to be the only way to meet people, which is terrifying. I'm sure everyone that needs to know your real love story already knows it, but your great aunt doesn't need to know you met your spouse because you both lived in TriBeCa and were DTF. You don't need a Coffee Meets Bagel-themed signature cocktail or #SheSwipedRight as your wedding hashtag to prove you're not embarrassed by how you met the love of your life.
Hot take: Fondant tastes horrible. Like, really bad. Shows like Cake Boss made fondant look like the end-all, be-all of cake decorating because it's a popular, clean way to make large scale cake designs or subtle detailed accents, but it's wasteful to leave the entire husk of your cake lying uneaten on a plate. Decorations with fruit, flowers, hardened chocolate, or buttercream are also super pretty, and at least three of the four mentioned are delicious to boot. The fondant band trend is on its way out, and we couldn't be more happy about it.
There's nothing inherently wrong with gazpacho. It's fun to say, it's fun to spell, it's fun to eat. So what's the damage? Chilled gazpacho shooters are popular at spring and summer weddings, but a nice 'zpach isn't as commonplace as it used to be. If your guests aren't the adventurous-eating type, they might stay away from the weirdly cold, brightly-colored shot glasses being passed around, meaning you'll end the night with a lifelong commitment *and* a lifetime supply of warm gazpacho. Not exactly the wedding reception gift you expected, is it?
If you want a table with various pizzas on it as an option for your guests, it's not *heinous.* It's a little Souplantation for a formal event, but your reputation will recover. Making the whole main event a pizza buffet, though, is unforgivable. First of all, just serve flatbreads and pizza bites as appetizers, and people will be happy. If you basically only have a bunch of different pizzas, not only is it just tacky, your guests (especially the older ones) will just feel bloated and disgusting for the rest of the night, and anyone with lactose intolerance (aka every adult over eighteen, at this point) is going to have to result to Postmates. Also, this is your wedding, not Chuck-E-Cheese.
We are *so torn* on this one, guys. On the one hand, daytime wedding receptions are a general no from us, if they can be avoided. There's very little chance of getting to go home with the hot best man if it's 3PM, guests either will lose the rest of their day or have to leave to get to their evening plans, and if you opt for an outdoor reception, it's just going to keep getting warmer as people get drunker. All bad things. On the other hand, we love brunch, and the options for a bottomless brunch reception are adorable. Dayge-ing is awesome with the right crowd, mimosa bars are a Big Yes, and a Make Your Own Waffle bar sounds like an actual dream. If you're getting married somewhere with a decent climate and you have friends that can hang, save some money and have some fun with a bottomless mimosa reception.