I know how great you felt when you finally found your perfect wedding dress and the satisfaction that came when you woke up in the middle of the night with a color scheme breakthrough. You’ve been creative and showed ingenuity with every other detail, so don’t succumb to the same old catering menu that you’ve eaten at every other wedding.
Don’t worry, you won’t be stuck at the “cutting” board trying to come up with a creative idea or two to incorporate into your wedding reception catering—I’ve compiled a list of the most innovative catering trends I’ve seen (and loved!) in 2011 for weddings.
Be a locavore. The concept of serving local, sustainable foods at wedding receptions is more popular than ever. The benefits of serving local food abounds – you’re supporting the local economy, serving fresh and healthy food to your guests and helping your guests feel a special connection to the location of the event. For an autumn wedding in Indiana, consider serving petite Indiana apple, squash and goat cheese turnovers as hors d’oeuvres!
Serve gourmet junk food. I know you’re going to get excited with this one—a hot catering trend right now is serving gourmet junk food! Love kettle chips? Serve them with a white cheddar mousse and caviar. Mac n’ cheese fanatic? Recreate them in minis using artisan cheeses and smoked paprika! Your guests will love the clever twist, especially if they can reminisce along with you while enjoying delectable but grown-up eats.
Feeling fickle? Think pickled. Pickled is in right now and works for just about any of your favorite foods! Have you ever known the sweetness that is a pickled cherry? Give your guests the chance to explore the unfamiliar in a way that doesn’t completely take them out of their comfort zone. The goal isn’t to scare people away with food that doesn’t seem edible; it’s to show them creative and inventive twists on old favorites that they won’t soon forget!
Lay-off the sauce. Serving sauces with wedding food can be messy, overwhelming and unsatisfying if there are too many choices or too much sauce on a piece of finger food for your own personal preference. The super chic alternative? Dust each plate with seasonings, powders or crumbles to get that kick of flavor! Sprinkling a plate with powders and spices rather than drizzling a sauce over the food is just as effective in executing an intense flavor.
Sip n’ savor. “Sip n’ Savor” hors d’oeuvres are one of my personal favorite catering trends right now. The idea is to pair a complimentary food and drink on one plate –making it easy for your guests to relax and enjoy the beginning of your reception. Present guests with a handful of different appetizer and specialty drink pairings to allow guests to try a little bit of everything without having to commit to a full drink.
Embrace the unexpected. Try serving a savory take on a sweet favorite to really put the “wow” factor into your wedding reception food. Cupcakes have been popular for the past few years, so why not be creative with this falling trend and make a savory jalapeno and cheddar muffin with a savory mousse on top. Or, take it the opposite direction and take something that’s traditionally savory and make it sweet!
Now that I’ve told you what’s in, it’s your job to really make your menu your own! Work with your catering manager to make sure you’re serving food that creates just as many memories as the occasion itself! The most important thing about serving inventive food is that it allows you to tell a special story and connect to your guests. Impress them with their first bite and bring them to tears at their last!
Dee Haddad is an event designer at Indianapolis-based Thomas Caterers of Distinction, an off-site scratch catering company that uses innovative designs to create delicious and interesting food for meetings, parties and special events.