Catering Creativity

The pandemic shook up your wedding plans, but this milestone event still can be a celebration that wows your guests. Caterers and wedding planners are re-imagining the wedding format to make your day even more special.

Pandemic food trends include individual servings, stylish presentations

The pandemic shook up your wedding plans, but this milestone event still can be a celebration that wows your guests. Caterers and wedding planners are re-imagining the wedding format to make your day even more special.

“The focus right now is on keeping everyone safe. It’s all about finding clever ways to make people feel safe and comfortable and enjoying the moment together,” said caterer and event planner Andrea Correale of Elegant Affairs Caterers, with New York offices in Manhattan, Long Island and the Hamptons.

What to ask your caterer
Wedding trends are gravitating more toward being socially responsible, with unique hand sanitizer stations and extra safety precautions, and away from doughnut walls and extra large wedding parties.

Be sure to discuss safety measures with your catering company, Correale said.

“Couples should ask how the catering company is managing COVID protocol, what their style of service is and what their team can comfortably and safely execute,” said Camille Ross, wedding planner and owner of Elsie Event Co. based in Austin, Texas. “They should also be asking what sanitizing standards the company is following on a daily basis along with at events.”

Ask about how many events the company has produced under current COVID-19 protocols and to walk through what the cocktail hour and reception will look like if moving forward with their team, Ross said.

“The most obvious question should be to ensure that staff will be fully masked at all times, both during prep and on event day,” Ross said.

Trends
Pre-plated servings in miniature are one of the biggest trends happening.

“Even before the pandemic, we have always been firm believers that miniature versions of any item is the best thing ever,” Ross said. “Now, with added safety precautions, we can use this trend as a way to wow guests. From the most gorgeous individual cheese and charcuterie displays to individually boxed mini desserts, we have seen a sea of fabulous ideas.”

Guests are being treated to personal grazing boards as a first course to a seated dinner, which is the safest way to serve guests at this time, Ross said.

“Many clients are enhancing their entrees to include a dual protein option along with offering more elaborate desserts to finish the evening,” she said. “The late-night snack option also gets a fancy upgrade with snazzy packaging and mini offerings like chips and queso, doughnuts, pretzels and mini pizzas.”

“Family-style used to be a big deal, but it’s not on trend now,” Correale said.

Economical and efficient, buffet-style service has long been a wedding staple, but it’s been tweaked a bit. In addition to Plexiglas shields, the buffet is fully staffed with servers, Correale said.

Rather than just making the best of it, people are getting creative.

“We recently had a bride eliminate cocktail hour completely and offered her guests plated appetizers instead of the passed version,” Ross said. “The club created beautiful plating, and it added a course to the meal, enhancing the experience.”

Another client created a sweet picnic for an intimate event with boxed and branded meals for everyone.

“The catering silver linings have kept the industry creative, in all honesty,” Ross said.

—Melissa Erickson | More Content Now

Where to buy

The Repository
Select Rite Aid Stores
Spee-D Foods
Buehler's Fresh Foods
Fishers Foods, including 44th Street NW, Tuscarawas St. W, Fulton Drive, Lincoln Way E. and Cleveland Ave. NW locations
Aultman Hospital Gift Shop
Mercy Medical Center Gift Shop
Gervasi Vineyard Marketplace
Carpe Diem Coffee Shop, downtown Canton and Belden Village Mall locations
News Depot
Avenue Arts Marketplace
Yum Yum Tree Alliance
Grapes in a Glass