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While many couples still love the idea of the traditional three course dinner for their wedding breakfast, others are looking for ways to make their catering more interactive, contemporary, and entertaining. Here are six key wedding catering trends, along with suggestions for the types of wedding they would be appropriate for:
1. Food stations are the utmost in wedding chic, and every season sees the emergence of a new type of station. Set up a number of food stations around your venue, each serving a specific cuisine such as succulent sushi, mini burgers, spicy Mexican treats, or decadent desserts. Have a specialist at each station to advise your guests on combining their food.
When to use it: Food stations work well for a cocktail style reception where guests are constantly on the move and socializing. If you have a large guest list and are planning to hold your reception in an upmarket urban hotel, food stations could be the trend for you.
2. Carve at the table is a twist on the traditional wedding dish of roast meat and gives your guests something to watch while they are waiting for their dinner to be served. Have a selection of meats and at least one server to every twenty guests.
When to use it: If you are looking for a traditional sit down dinner but want to add something a bit different along with entertainment for your guests, carving at the table could be just what you are looking for.
3. Cocktail bars allow your guests to create their own drinks and provide interactive catering. Set up a bar with glasses, various types of champagne or sparkling wine, liqueurs and fruit juices to mix them with, and a selection of fresh fruit and garnishes. Make the bar as colourful and varied as possible.
When to use it: This type of cocktail bar is perfect for an outdoor summer wedding, particularly an evening event. If you are concerned about some guests overindulging, have an expert bar tender on hand and only have the bar open for an hour or two.
4. Eco menus are big news in wedding catering as words such as organic, sustainable, free trade, seasonal, and locally produced, become popular in foodie circles. Decide which of these aspects of an eco menu are most important to you and have your caterer base the menu on those
When to use it: An eco menu suits any type of wedding, but they are especially popular for garden events, or weddings held at country venues such as farms or country estates. If your wedding has a green theme, an eco menu will be perfect for you.
5. Banquet style wedding breakfasts are also increasing in popularity. Having your guests arranged along two or three large tables, instead of several smaller ones allows for more interaction. Serve food on large platters that are perfect for sharing, and serve finger food where appropriate
When to use it: Banquet style dining is perfect if you want a vibrant, noisy wedding reception, and works particularly well with an Italian theme. Don't use it if you want your table linen to stay pristine, or if your main concern is having stunning table centres.
6. Taster menus are a very fashionable trend in wedding catering, although they can be more expensive than the name would suggest. Your guests are served with up to ten different mini courses, usually of fairly exotic foods, to allow them to taste a variety of dishes. If you can afford it, try to serve a different complementary wine with each dish.
When to use it: Taster menus take a long time to serve, so if you want a long wedding breakfast, or you would prefer to have your guests eating and mingling all day than sitting down to dinner, a taster menu is for you. Consider having the speeches and perhaps some wedding entertainment between the numerous courses.