Dim sum, donut bars, appetizers paired with mini drinks, cheese sommeliers, meat bars, breakfast food and anything vegan made it to Amy Levin-Epstein’s list of the top new wedding catering trends for 2014. Hungry yet?
“There’s so much more to wedding food than chicken and potatoes,” wrote the media’s matrimonial guru in a recent Huffington Post article.
“Weddings are more personalized these days than ever before,” agreed Kim Forrest, editor of WeddingWire. “Each element is an opportunity for a couple to express themselves, and the food is no exception. Couples are incorporating their favorite foods, childhood favorites, and even dishes from countries they’ve traveled to into their menus.”
Katie Rotramel, client and venue relations manager with Eat and Smile Catering in Washington, D.C., said food trends this year reflect a move from bigger to smaller plates with more tapas-style hors d’oeuvres. There is “more of an emphasis on the party and not everyone sitting down at dinner. This allows for more mingling and more of a cocktail party atmosphere.”
Roughly half of Eat and Smile Catering’s clients are opting for this style, Rotramel said, adding that she catered her own wedding this way.
“It’s conducive for people [who are] meeting for the first time and friends who don’t meet regularly, versus being stuck at a table with seven other strangers,” said Rotramel. Though the bites are smaller, the experts say, the food still has to taste great.
But what about traditional wedding buffets?
Forrest says that buffets have long been popular because they are “less expensive than plated sit-down dinners.”
Smaller plates, however, please more guests and also save the couple money. Forrest said she has noticed “a lot of cute pairings – miniature grilled cheese sandwiches served with a shot glass of tomato soup, tiny tuna tacos with a tequila shot and more.” Couples are also incorporating what are known as “action stations” into the wedding cocktail hour – where chefs prepare small dishes to order.
Experts say savory foods are not all that’s on the menu this season. According to Forrest, many couples still favor the cake-cutting tradition. “Those cake-cutting photos are such classics, and I think couples like to carry on that tradition,” she said. “And there are so many ways to decorate a wedding cake, it’s another opportunity to express your style.”
But move over wedding cakes — cupcakes and other bite-sized desserts are finally giving the wedding cake some competition.
Cupcakes started to be a big trend a few years ago, and many couples still serve them, Forrest said. “Not only are cupcakes cute, but they also provide an easy portion for each guest rather than having to cut a wedding cake.”
Yet another sweet innovation are push-pops, said Epstein. These circular or square-shaped bites of cake-on-a-stick look like miniature wedding cakes and often taste just as good.