Wedding menus have moved far beyond the traditional sit-down, multiple course service. Brides now look for a more modern alternative, such as allowing guests to mingle as they pick and choose between several different food stations. Here are six trending food stations to keep in mind on your special day.
Home cooking. Update your favorite comfort foods by serving them up with a playful and modern twist. Mom’s meatloaf becomes a gourmet meatloaf slider with crispy fried onions and roadside ketchup, classic fries are updated as tempura portabella fries with a ponzu dipping sauce, and campfire s’mores become an open-faced s’more brulee. Comfort foods bring us back to great memories, whether it be family dinners or long summer nights at camp, and these nostalgic dishes can be transformed into refined and elegant options for wedding menus.
A sweet treat. Another modern trend is providing a sweets table along with a traditional wedding cake. A sweets table appeals to many brides because it is infinitely customizable. It might include a variety of delectables such as sweet canapés, petit fours or an interactive candy bar. Miniature desserts are popular as a sweets table option because guests have the ability to enjoy multiple bite-sized portions of many desserts. Some brides even forgo the cake altogether and instead allow guests to choose from a selection of desserts from the sweets table to satisfy their sweet tooth.
Bite-size. Small portions are requested not only with sweets but also for the savory end of menus. Themes such as diner-food (think miniature white cheddar turkey sliders with green apple, or panini-pressed grilled cheese on brioche), work well in this category and appeal to a wide audience. Who doesn’t enjoy a good club sandwich? (Well, one served with imported pancetta and heirloom tomatoes, of course.)
Flavor fusion. The recent fusion trend in restaurant food is a great inspiration for wedding menus. I recently catered an event for a Cuban family that had lived for many years in France. Our concept for the party was a fusion of Cuban and French food, resulting in delicious creations such as petite pressed Cuban sandwiches with Gruyere cheese and Dijon mustard and vegetable croquettes with mojo sauce. Do you and your fiancé love going out for Mexican and Chinese? Marry the cuisines with ideas such as shumai dumplings with chipotle adobo sauce or blue shrimp ceviche and pickled ginger.
Bar hopping. Another fun menu idea is food bars, where chefs prepare customizable dishes, such as a taco bar with toppings, from pulled pork with pickled red onion to braised beef brisket with cilantro and Cotija cheese. Sushi bars appeal to the health-conscious with the likes of spicy tuna rolled in paper or salmon and shiso.
A personal touch. Signature cocktail stations are a wonderful accompaniment to food stations. One fun idea is a gourmet mojito bar, with flavors such as raspberry and mango, and garnishes ranging from blood orange wheels to fresh pomegranate seeds. Beverage stations highlighting the season create a more interactive and approachable feel, such as spiked hot chocolates with marshmallows and graham cracker crumbs on the rim for the holiday season.
On your wedding day, let your personal tastes dictate the menu and both you and your guests will be sure to enjoy.