WEDDING TRENDS FOR CATERED EVENTS
Trends follow lifestyles, not just what’s in fashion
Jody Wimer, founder and creative director of JPC Event
Group outside Pittsburgh, is on the board of the International
Caterers Association, blogs for WeddingAces.com and
shows up on the internet wherever people are looking for
information about wedding trends.
Some of the trends she sees really aren’t trends so much
as today’s lifestyles:
• Wedding couples are creating weddings based on
their interests, backgrounds and way of life, rather
than following a book of rules about what their
wedding and reception should be.
• The wedding reception is more than a meal followed
by dancing. “They might do stations for appetizers,
then go into the ballroom for a progressive meal with
a first seated course, then some dancing, then serve
another course,” says Wimer. “So it’s not that you’re
stuck in a chair for two hours.
• There’s something special for guests as they leave. “You
come out and there’s a food truck outside, or a Starbucks
truck with doughnuts,” Wimer says. “The idea of having
something special at the end has been around for a while,
but people are taking it to a bigger level.”
• Comfort food is still big on reception menus. “I think
when you go into a reception and even come out of it,
people want comfort food,” she says. “I think people
are getting S’Mored to death.”
Wimer pulled together examples of some of the trends
she thinks are important today.
Of course weddings have been held outdoors for centuries,
but with today’s emphasis on the environment and natural
settings, even more couples are moving the entire event—
including the wedding ceremony itself—into the outdoors.
Bringing back an almost medieval style, long tables—
sometimes rustic ones—pull the guests at a reception
together for a strong feeling of community. “Often you
do them vineyard style, where you don’t cover them
with linens.” Feasting tables are perfect for family-style
service, another hot trend.
rustic table décor
Even at an indoor wedding, roughhewn fabrics—even
burlap—signal “rustic.” A burlap tablecover or runner
may be accented with succulent plants and moss in an
earthy-natural but elegant wedding.
alternatives to cake
Cupcakes are still popular, of course, but this year there
are not only alternatives (or additions) to the traditional
wedding cake, there are alternatives to cupcakes as well.
Think pie buffets (full size or miniature), donuts, Whoopie
pies. Donut holes with dipping sauces seem downright
elegant—and are inexpensive and easy to prepare,
transport and serve.
Creating comfortable seating areas is not just for high-end
receptions anymore. “Everyday brides are doing them
now,” says Wimer. “With the number of rental companies
available, it’s easy.” She found the demand for lounge
areas great enough in her area that she bought white
leather couches and furniture that she could sell multiple
times—at an initial cost not much more than renting them
for one event would have been.
Mismatched, thrift table settings have been popular
for a couple of years, but Wimer says thrift furnishings
also give receptions a unique look. “Think banged-up
dressers with drawers hanging out, filled with wedding
gifts and holding the guest book. Or old beat-up end
tables used as beverage displays.”
Lighting has long been used at major corporate events,
but not as much at weddings. That’s changing, Wimer
says. “From custom-cut gobos sporting monograms to
graphics, to patterns projected as wallpaper.”
Trends and event themes are always changing simply
because the world is. The goal is to create catered
events that fit the mood, the client’s wishes and the event
location—and that delight the guests. While the menu is