Infusion cocktail bars and chilled soup stations are among the most popular features of wedding receptions these days. But taste isn’t the only consideration. Couples are asking themselves, how will the meal look on Pinterest?
“Everyone wants to make sure that their guests have a good time in their interactive experience, but also an elegant experience,” said Michele Schwartz, Austin, Texas-based publisher of themodernjewishwedding.com.
Many couples elect to begin their reception with an infusion bar, where guests can create their own cocktails with ingredients that are laid out on a table.
“You might choose to do a Bloody Mary bar or Bellini bar,” she said. “Then you can put out different types of condiments that are used to put in an infusion.”
Schwartz said an infusion bar costs less than a full bar, and it also makes for nice photos — something she said is on the mind of most couples.
“People are starting to plan their event based on the pictures they can get from it,” she said.
Another picturesque food trend Schwartz recommends is the chilled-soup station, which is a set of small beakers halfway-filled with soup and topped with miniature grilled cheese sandwiches. The types of soups that work best for this, she said, are watermelon and pumpkin soup “shooters,” which have the consistency of gazpacho.
“People look at these little beakers and they can be served in a holder specifically made for the couple and it makes for a beautiful picture,” she said.
Other stations that Schwartz said are popular include meat carving stations, Italian food stations and Chinese dim sum carts.
Schwartz said since the end of the Great Recession, more couples are choosing to have formal sit-down dinners as opposed to buffet meals.
Alison Golt, of Cherry Blossom Events in Washington, D.C., said about 70 percent of her clients choose plated dinners. Many of the couples she works with choose to have dual entrees, especially if the members of the couple are from different cultural backgrounds. At a Jewish-Vietnamese wedding Golt planned last year, the couple chose a dual entree of slow-roasted sea bass with saffron and braised short rib for the main course.
“Couples want to capture their culture or their religion,” she said. “When my clients start with me, besides the budget process, I send them a catering questionnaire that asks them all the foods they like.”
Bethesda, Maryland event planner Terri Bergman said she thinks sit-down dinners can be inefficient because guests at a wedding reception want to dance and eat at a time of their choosing.
“You’re eating and drinking and having fun and you’re not having to sit down,” she said. “It’s a matter of the entertainment component. You’re on the dance floor and it’s toward the end of the night. You don’t want the band to stop and say, ‘Dessert is served, please find your seat.’ You want to keep the party going.”
All of the planners agreed that miniature desserts work best for the concluding course. These often include French macaroons in rainbow colors, Schwartz said. Golt said cake pops became popular two years ago and that cheese wheels and pie stations have also been hot in recent years.
“With Pinterest now and everyone being able to see every little detail about their weddings, they can easily pick out what they want,” she said. “Every time I talk with people I say, what is the most important thing in your wedding? And most of the time they say, ‘We’re complete foodies.’ ” JN