If you're currently planning a wedding, then you know that making decisions about catering options for your guests is no simple task. Thanks to consumer service website Thumbtack, you can find out exactly what catering options are trending now with their 2016 Wedding Report, which compiled data from roughly 320,000 couples currently planning weddings.
One of the most noticeable catering trends this year is the increase in formal, seated wedding receptions, which 29 percent of couples are choosing in 2016 — up 7 percent from last year — and buffet catering is down from 82 percent in 2015 to 76 percent this year.
"This year we're seeing couples investing up to 20 percent more to create a memorable, classic affair," said Ashley Brasier, wedding director for Thumbtack. "The reception is the focus of this extra spending, with couples turning away from themed weddings and instead focusing on finer touches like formal plated dinners, laser-cut place settings, and bold floral choices."
As the popularity of formal receptions grows and couples are shying away from self-service receptions, requests for servers are up 25 percent and requests for bartenders are up 42 percent.
Couples are also upping the ante on cuisine choices as most are opting for Italian (38 percent) or formal American fare (35 percent).
"We're seeing a lot of couples request a full cocktail reception with hors d'oeuvres," says Heather Bublick, a senior certified wedding planner. "Passed apps all night means the party never stops. It's also an opportunity for couples to showcase foods that let their personalities shine through."
In fact, 25 percent of couples are choosing hors d'oeuvres for their wedding receptions this year. Other popular catering options include barbecue (25 percent), Mexican/Latin (19 percent), Mediterranean (14 percent), casual American (12 percent) and French (10 percent).
In addition to traditional reception fare, the report notes that "couples are increasingly looking to connect the cuisine offered at their wedding with their own heritage and family traditions, with many couples requesting that caterers recreate special family recipes."
As for wedding cakes, the report states that 80 percent of couples want traditional layered cakes and that they will be taller than ever this year with 57 percent of couples requesting three-layer cakes. Similarly, 21 percent of couples are choosing cakes with two layers and 15 percent with four layers. Cupcakes have also seen a spike in popularity with a 10 percent increase from last year.