All about the food: More receptions putting the food on display

Plenty of parts add up to make a memorable wedding: a dashing groom and beautiful bride, friends and family, the perfect dress and, of course, the food. From dining stations to food trucks, comfort foods to sky-high cakes, this summer’s weddings are shying away from traditional sit-down meals and embracing new trends.

Lauren Kay, senior style editor at The Knot, took a bite out of the question of what are some “wow-worthy foods” for summer weddings.

Bite-size meals

Instead of asking their guests to sit down for a full meal, dinner is being served in bite-size selections, and these small portions are making a big impact. Caterers are specializing in miniature dishes that fit in the palm of your hand, such as a marinated scallop served in an Asian soup spoon.

The trend can be dressed up — think white-gloved servers butlering tiny plates of caviar — or down with bacon sliders and crispy chicken croquettes.

“This trend lets guests and the couple mingle and enjoy each other’s company,” Kay said. Sometimes the main portion of the meal is sit-down with appetizers, desserts and other selections served miniature by design.

Foodie installations

Also taking center stage at weddings this summer will be food and drink stations — the more outrageous the better. This trend eclipses ice sculptures, baked potato bars or make-your-own s’mores tables: Instead, think hanging salad stations, dessert walls of doughnuts that double as placecards and beer-garden-inspired stations, complete with beer steins made of ice. Outdoor weddings can feature tiered buffet stands holding pre-made cocktails and appetizer bites. Get creative with your caterer, or hire a food stylist, Kay said.

Go family-style

Popular with rustic-style weddings, family-style meals reflect a more casual vibe that encourages conversation around the table, Kay said. Family-style can also be dressed up and pulled off in a more elegant setting. The whole meal may be served family-style or just the sides, allowing guests their main-dish option with plenty to share. More affordable, family-style is more elegant than a buffet, but less expensive than a meal served individually.

Towering cakes

Dessert bars and other creative sweets tables probably aren’t going anywhere just yet, but we’ve fallen back in love with the wedding cake, Kay said. Especially en vogue are tall and lean cakes — five, six or even seven tiers high. These dramatic desserts provide a striking focal point for photos and become “a piece of art,” she added. Not only will your guests marvel at the cake’s design but also at its flavor. Couples are making bolder flavor choices sometimes tied in to their honeymoon destination (mango creme for a Thailand honeymoon) or their cultural heritage. Some options include Italian cream with a raspberry puree, banana cake with pineapple butter cream, lemon cake with blueberry compote, bittersweet chocolate with vanilla butter cream and salted chocolate ganache.

Fake the cake

Not into sugar, some couples are choosing a cheese cake — not cheesecake, but a cake made of wheels of cheese, Kay said. “It’s more savory than sweet, and it looks lovely stacked up. You can have it out during the cocktail hour. It’s very typically European,” she said.

Food trucks

Food trucks are a huge trend in weddings right now, especially around the East and West coasts where they’re more plentiful, Kay said. While food trucks can roll up and serve guests dinner, many couples are employing them as tasty late-night snack or dessert options. From a beachy bash with mini lobster rolls, a fish and chips truck, ice cream or snow cone vendors, grilled cheese and taco trucks, and even a waffle truck for the morning-after brunch, food trucks offer endless variety and are priced right, too.

Artisanal, farm-to-table foods

In the past few years, more couples are looking to the source and searching out local and in-season foods, Kay said. This trend spills over to the drinks, with small-label liquor choices or locally brewed craft beers, too.

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