Post-Pandemic Catering Trends for Your Next Event or Wedding

Food is the cornerstone to many events large or small – from intimate meetings to team building activities, to family reunions and of course, weddings. We know from decades of experience that food is the most anticipated feature at events, and also most analyzed by guests. So, as we slowly work our way out of the pandemic, this month’s blog explores food / catering trends for guests to consider as they plan their future events and weddings.
Evolving Buffets: If we learned anything in 2020, it’s that compromises need to be made for comfort and safety, and buffets are no exception when considering food service for your next event. And while we don’t deter guests from selecting a traditional buffet, we do have some ways to evolve buffet service to adhere to guests needs and safety.

Individually Packed Items: Individually served items are a great way to still have the buffet feel, without compromising convenient service. For your next event, connect with your event team to see if appetizers, salads, and desserts can be packaged / individually plated and assembled in buffet style to easily grab-and-go at guests’ leisure. This option is convenient, efficient, and safe, and is growing in popularity, especially for corporate events.

Buffet Attendants: If individually packaged items are not for you, consider having buffet attendants serve food to your guests. While this is not a new concept, as many traditional buffets started with individuals serving food before they turned to a more self-service model, it is a popular option for more formal events such as weddings to minimize guests contacting the food.

Limited Serving Lines: Buffets can still be safe if you consider limited serving lines. Limited serving lines can include your proteins, like a prime-rib carving station, or hot pans serving chicken or beef, while side dishes, such as vegetables, potatoes and sauces can be served or sat at tables for convenience. 

Grazing and Charcuterie & Cheese Boards: “Boards,” while popular in recent years, have only grown in popularity in 2021 and become centerpieces for all kinds of events – from girls-nights-in, to team building events, to weddings and more. Some creative ways for you to include grazing boards into your next event include:

Traditional Boards: Charcuterie, cheese, fruit, nuts, and condiments like quince and honey are classic crowd pleasers for cocktail hour, anniversary parties, and reunions.

Dessert Boards: Assembling a variety of chocolate chips, cookies, donuts, marshmallows, fruit, and more is a great way to offer a variety of desserts at one time; plus, these boards are always fun to pair with hot chocolate or champagne stations. 

Breakfast Boards: Breakfast boards have grown in popularity, especially for brunch-hour weddings and events. From stacking miniature pancakes and waffles to French toast triangles, to egg cups, bacon, muffins and more – breakfast boards are a fun way for guests to build their own experience and hosts to break away from standard breakfast buffets.

Late-Night Snack Boards: Late night snack boards are a great way to feed hungry guests after your wedding or evening event, as well as get creative with your snacks. You can serve a variety of French fries (French fry board) – waffle, crinkle, curly, hand cut – with multiple dipping sauces; or go for a sweet and savory board that includes popcorn, yogurt-dipped pretzels, trail mix, M&M’s, cheeses and more. One of the more unique sweet boards we’ve seen is a cookie board, featuring every type of cookie you can imagine – chocolate chip, Oreos, peanut butter, molasses, oatmeal – as well as a candy board, which had nearly ever nostalgic candy you can imagine – fun-sized candy boards, cow tails, bit-o-honey, sour patch kids, and more. 

Small Stations: It can be difficult to keep guests sat for long periods of time waiting for food and drinks. However, a happy medium between buffets and standard table service are small stations set-up throughout your event. Small stations are ideal for post-pandemic events as they are a great way to socially distance guests without feeling like they’re being socially distanced. For example, you can have six stations set-up throughout your event space, and people will be evenly distributed (for the most part), as opposed to a traditional buffet that encourages all guest to stand together all at once. Additionally, small stations provide guests with variety of options for their dining experience – you may have a carving station, a hot dog stand, a build-your-own flatbread table and more. Small stations are a great way to get creative and provide guests with unexpected variety of food and beverages, while keeping guests comfort and safety top of mind.
No matter the idea for your event’s food and how it’s served, our expert team is here to help bring your vision to life, while keeping you and your guests’ comfort and safety in mind.
For more ideas, information or to learn about Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa’s wedding and event capabilities, packages, and spaces, please visit our wedding page. 

- Your Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa Wedding Team