We originally planned on writing about new trends in wedding food in this space, but like so much else about the world, in general, as well as bridal planning, wedding food has been upended in 2020 by the unfortunate rise of COVID-19. To guide us through these turbulent times in wedding dining we turned to Jeffrey Selden, managing partner of Stamford-based Marcia Selden Catering & Events. He shared some of what he expects to see over the next year and beyond in catering.
Are people still planning weddings? What type of food options are they exploring?
Clients are definitely still planning their weddings. Most have moved from the summer and early fall to spring of next year. As for food options, they are looking at the menus that are seasonal to when they are planning their wedding.
In the long term — after a vaccine and/or herd immunity — do you see this impacting the type of food we see at weddings? My feeling is that buffets along with passed-around appetizers will be a less viable option for several years, but I guess if we get a vaccine everything could go back to normal. What do you think?
We are hoping that this is just a dream and everything will go back to normal. However, in the meantime we will be working on creating creative ways to reinvent how we serve food at parties. Passed food in new and creative ways will become more popular, buffets will be reworked, and more individually plated meals will become what clients are looking for rather than the grazing version of parties that we have seen in the past.
What advice do you have for couples planning their weddings in 2021? What questions should they be asking their caterers?
We are advising clients to book now for 2021 to ensure they get the dates they want, as the weekends are filling in with all of the 2020 clients that are rebooking. They should definitely look to discuss how COVID impacts their contract, if, in fact, dates need to change for the future and to clarify cancellation and postponement clauses.
In general, are there any food trends for 2021 that you see emerging?
Not yet. Too early to say.
Any trends for 2020 then?
Pre-batched cocktails being delivered with fun, boxed party food for those clients that are looking for their weekend social-distancing parties. This will definitely take us through the summer and fall. And, of course, anything in a box.
Any thoughts on how the catering industry has been faring and surviving during all this and how the public can support these types of businesses?
Many catering companies are doing like we are and providing pre-packaged, home-delivered meals to their clients, friends and hospitals. Some have decided not to open at all, and to hang in there until they get to the other side of this pandemic. We have seen a few bow out of business, and some that are working stronger than ever with government contracts and large hospital contracts.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Food equals love, and we are thrilled that we can help create positive emotions and feelings around the work that we have put into our home-cooked meals.