Catering 2021 Style: Wedding Reception Trends to Embrace

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After a year that postponed countless weddings, testing many marriages before they even began, weddings are finally back. Hooray!

We looked to the experts at Catersource and Brides to get their take on catering and wedding trends nationwide as we all adapt to this new era. Traditions thankfully live on, but some of them look a little different, at least for now.

According to the Catersource Wedding Forecast 2021 by Kathleen Stoehr and Brides’  50+ Pandemic Wedding Trends That Are Here to Stay for Good by Colleen Sullivan, the following are just a few of the pandemic trends that have emerged and are expected to continue:

  • Smaller guest lists
  • Elegantly plated and coursed meals with a higher cost per guest
  • Greater formality with a focus on the guest experience
  • Increase in outdoor venues
  • Commitment to pandemic-era safety practices
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Engaged couples will be looking for a caterer who can help them pull off a dream reception that is both safe and unforgettable for themselves and their cherished guests. Do you have all the tools you need to unleash your creative genius and keep the party going?

Creative Plating

With more elaborate, plated meal service, beautiful presentation is an essential. Mercer Culinary has developed a wide range of plating tools that will inspire you to create and impress your guests with a dining experience for all the senses. Brushes, wedges, tongs, and spoons can be used separately or together to create a limitless array of designs. With a variety of styles, sizes, and shapes—sold separately or in complete sets—these refined instruments are designed to help you expertly finish your own masterpiece.

The Mercer Culinary 8-piece Plating Set provides all the essential items needed for attractive presentations and comes with a heavy-duty roll for easy storage and transport. 

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The Mercer Culinary 6-piece Silicone Brush Set is dishwasher safe and features color-coded brush heads and tips for easy identification of brush style. Tapered, textured handles provide a sure grip for and comfort for smooth control to show off your artistic flair. This 480°F heat-tolerant set also comes with a heavy-duty roll for easy storage and transport.

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Then show off that gorgeous presentation with a clear plate cover. No-hole Camcovers shield meals completely to help maintain safe temperatures and reduce contamination risk. Clear covers not only showcase your elegant presentation, but they also stack securely and provide a quieter meal service than traditional metal, with no polishing required. Safe for high heat commercial dishwashers, Camcovers® can be completely sanitized between events.


Looking for an elegant alternative to a traditional buffet? Appetizers, cake slices, sushi, and individual charcuterie boxes are just a small sampling of ideas to serve guests safely with Touch Free Dining from BauscherHepp. A sustainable, practical solution for a hygienic presentation of an endless variety of menu items, this new line includes premium German porcelain from Bauscher with a clear, shatterproof cover that shows off your creations.

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Attended Buffet and Action Stations

Set up with any locally-mandated precautions in place, action stations remain a popular way to safely entertain and serve guests. For clients who prefer buffet-style dining, a shielded buffet attended by a server provides a safer alternative to self-service.  Freestanding TableCraft Action Station Shields, available in single and double sizes, create a safe barrier between staff and guests while showcasing the culinary team and their creations.

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Bar Service

Outdoor celebrations call for portable bars that can handle the elements while still looking elegant. Attractive, easy to work, and easy-to-clean CamBars from Cambro come in three sizes for professional bar service indoors or out. Large Bar 730 is ideal for ballrooms and reception halls, midsize Bar 650 fits into standard hotel elevators for property-wide use, while smaller Bar 540 is ultra-portable for transporting between events at different locations.  Available in a wide variety of colors, designer options, and equipment packages.

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As a caterer, you’re an expert at fulfilling unusual requests and meeting lofty demands. We’re right there with you! From fine china to prep and plating tools to insulated bulk food holding equipment and beyond, our team has decades of experience equipping caterers to help make their clients’ dreams come true. Contact us.