Wedding food trends for 2021

What are we going to be eating at weddings this year?’ Tis the season…to get engaged!  With over a quarter of all wedding engagements happening over the Christmas and New Year period, this is a busy time for the wedding industry and an exciting time for couples planning their big day! When you can have whatever you want to eat….what do you choose?  Well we’ve taken 100 of our bespoke wedding menus for this coming year and we’ve put together what we see as the wedding food trends for 2021.

So we have taken 100 of our bespoke menus (that we’re hoping to deliver over the next 12 months) and are giving you a sneak peek at the trends emerging in the world of weddings.   With bespoke catering being our speciality, our clients can have literally whatever they want for their wedding menu – they’re in control and work with our chefs to craft their own unique menus.  So when you can have whatever you want to eat….what do you choose?  We’ll hand-over to our Co-founder and Executive Chef, Jonathan Carter-Morris to guide us through wedding food trends for 2021.

What’s the trend for wedding venues?

Well of the 100 menus looked at, 39% are going to be served at a rustic, barn venue.  With 29% in a stately home and 20% in a marquee.  We cater for weddings and events all over the country – everything from a festival style woodland to a luxurious manor house and we’re continuing to see a trend towards escaping to the countryside.

…and the trend for wedding guest numbers?

We’ve got our fingers-crossed for COVID-19 to get under control and enable a return to weddings that we’re used to seeing, with guests able to celebrate in their numbers.  Over half of the weddings we have this year are currently planning between 60 – 100 guests.  We have a few over 250 guests and similarly less than 10% with under 50 guests.

The wedding menu format

Of these menus, the majority are a three-course wedding breakfast (69%) with over 80% including canapés after the wedding ceremony.  Serving canapés at a drinks reception is a great way to get guests mingling and breaking the ice.  There aren’t many better conversation starters than the sight and taste of delicious food at the beginning of the celebrations.

As for what our most popular canapés are, it looks like we’ll be making a lot of Arancinis this year as they appear on a quarter of our menus.  Our clients love getting really creative with canapés, but we notice they do always like to have at least one crowd-pleaser on the menu, so we see a lot of Pork Belly and Mini Yorkshire puddings with Beef (both on 16% of menus).  And of course a classic Salmon Blini – appearing on 14% of menus.  We do see some surprises and extravagant ingredients in the canapés too though.  One wedding will be enjoying Swordfish Carpaccio, another Yakitori Chicken and one couple have swapped canapés for a whole leg of Parma Ham to be carved and served with Manchengo Cheese.”

For the wedding breakfast itself we have almost 40% of our clients planning a sharing menu.  Many of our clients want to be able to create menus that they’ve enjoyed on holidays, shared with friends and be able to recreate a relaxed and informal atmosphere for their wedding day.

Almost a third of clients will be giving their guests the chance to pre-order their meal in advance.  So they’ll typically choose two or three dishes that we’ll serve on the day and their guests can pick what they’d like to eat from each course.

By far the most popular starter course is a sharing style charcuterie board.  34% of our clients have really enjoyed selecting some of their favourite sharing foods.  Ingredients like Parma Ham, Mortadella, Salami, Cheeses and then seasonal ingredients like Asparagus or Artichokes – all served together on sharing boards that guests can pass around the table and help themselves.  Again it’s a great way to create conversation around the table for guests that may not know each other.

The wedding breakfast menu

We still have some classic starters like soup, Goat’s Cheese and salads, but much like canapés, we’ll also be serving some really personal, favourite dishes of our clients. Such as Marinated Vegetable Bao Buns or a King Prawn and Atlantic Shrimp Salad.

For the main course we often hear our clients saying to us that they want everyone to be full, having enjoyed something they probably couldn’t order in a restaurant.  We still get the staple ingredients such as Beef and Chicken being the centrepiece to the dish.  In fact Beef will be appearing on 38% of main course menus with Chicken in second place on 21% of dishes.  Vegetarian and vegan clients and guests are also enjoying a lot of variety on their menus too.  But there’s still an out and out favourite in Butternut Squash on two thirds of vegetarian and vegan menus.

For the dessert course, we love the chocolate versus fruit debate and it never ceases to surprise us how often one of our clients is a chocoholic and the other prefers fruit and cream dessert.  So out of the 100 menus we looked at, 54% had chocolate as the main dessert ingredient, but I’m still not expecting that debate to be concluded!

Lots of our clients are taking advantage of having choice and serving their guests a duo or trio of desserts – especially when they can’t make their mind up themselves!  Over a quarter of menus will have more than one dessert on the menu and one in ten are choosing to use their wedding cake as part of the dessert course.

Fusion menus and wedding evening food

When it comes to fusion menus, we’re often asked if we can incorporate cuisines from around the world and make different dishes work together.  Our most popular style of fusion cuisine this coming year is going to be Greek food, accounting for almost 30% of the fusion menus.  It also accounts for our largest wedding this year with over 350 guests.  We also see quite commonly Spanish, Germanic, Moroccan and Persian cuisines being catered for at weddings this year. 

Going into the evening food we see a big demand for street-food inspired menus.  27% of our clients will also be inviting additional guests to the evening party and so guest numbers will be increasing in the evening.  Many of these guests will be enjoying dishes like Paella (34%), Fish & Chips (22%), Pizza and Cheeseboards (14% respectively).

So there you have it.  In a time when there is no traditional way of getting married and a far greater ability to plan your wedding day and your wedding food in whatever way you wish, we’ll see what 2021 holds in store for us.  Even more so, we’ll be holding out to see what COVID-19 and NO.10 allow us to do in this coming year. Fingers-crossed, many more couples will be saying “I do”.

Take a look at some of our wedding stories for ideas and inspiration for your wedding menu.  Also take a look at some of our sample menus that could be helpful as a starting point to planning your wedding catering.  If you’d like to chat through your wedding plans then just drop us a line or give us a call and we can get our chefs working their magic on your big day.