After 2020 and 2021 were such challenging years for weddings, 2022 came back in full force. Last year, many couples were playing catch-up from having to move their wedding dates, and with the wedding boom, we saw couples going all out. We're here to share that 2023 is predicted to be just the same.
While choosing the right wedding venue is crucial, as is the décor and the music, the food and drink choices served at any wedding certainly make a statement and are something guests often remember after the event. So, what’s on trend for 2023? We asked industry experts including caterers, wedding planners, and cake bakers for their predictions, as well as what couples are already asking for.
Below, find inspiration for the top trends to incorporate into your own wedding food and drink planning in 2023.
Meet the Expert
- Meg Walker is the CEO & Executive Chef of Made by Meg Catering.
- Carlyanne Pruger is the co-owner and creative director of White Table Catering.
- Heather Leavitt is the owner of Sweet Heather Anne.
- Aleah and Nick Valley are the owners of Valley & Company Events.
- Nicole Redd-McIntosh is the owner of Nicole Bakes Cakes.
Food From the Region
This year, couples are looking for more that’s local. But that doesn’t just mean sourcing ingredients from local farms. “They want food that is native to the area or region,” says Meg Walker, CEO and Executive Chef of Made by Meg Catering. “Weddings are unique in that they are parties that can require travel, which means you have guests who are from other parts of the world. Couples want to show off what makes their wedding city, region, or state special from a culinary standpoint.” This may mean featuring a specific ingredient only found in that certain region, or embracing the type of cuisine as a whole.
Pop the bubbly! Champagne towers started trending in 2022, and they’re not going out of style. “More and more couples are loving this as an entrance or instead of cake cutting, a champagne tower later in the evening,” says Carlyanne Pruger, co-owner and creative director of White Table Catering. “It looks beautiful, makes for great photos, and what says celebration more than popping bottles of your favorite bubbly and pouring it together like you just don’t care!”
Entirely Vegan Menus
It’s been common to include a vegan option on wedding menus for years now. But this year, we’ll see more couples dedicating their entire menu to vegan fare. “Whether it’s an elevated family style service, stations, hors d'oeuvres, or a plated menu, many couples are leaning towards plant-based options as their primary choice,” says Pruger. “More and more of our couples are asking for a solely vegan menu as the selections for dishes are so creative and delicious, and in many cases, all of their guests’ dietary restrictions are taken into account within a vegan selection.”
Painting With Buttercream
Ready for a wedding cake that commands attention? The buttercream-painted cakes trend isn’t going anywhere. “Painting with buttercream is remarkably similar to painting with oil paints,” says Heather Leavitt, owner of Sweet Heather Anne. “The style feels both fresh and timeless at the same time.” From simple designs to intricate masterpieces, we’ll see more stunning cakes with artistic touches.
Fine Dining Experiences
For many couples, they want an exceptional dining experience unlike any they’ve ever had. And they’re treating guests to it as well! “While this vibe doesn't work for every wedding (or location), the impeccable experience of sitting down to a full-fledged multi-course menu just feels extra special, especially after the last years of craving parties and people,” says Aleah and Nick Valley, owners of Valley & Company Events.
Pruger echoes this trend, as many of the catering company’s couples are already asking for elaborate meals. “Plated desserts are also continuing to be popular for those that want to complete a more elevated full-coursed dining experience,” she says. “Beautiful and experiential show-stopper plated desserts that surprise guests with pops of color, textures, and flavors are what we see people wanting for an exciting grand finale of their dining experience.”
Nostalgia meets elegance in 2023. “Couples will fuse nostalgia with elegance and create menus nodding to comfort foods and kitschy favorites. Whether it's reinvented Monte Cristo sandwiches, a groom's Grandpa's famed smoked salmon mousse, or favorite after-school snacks like cinnamon toast, chefs will love the notion of breathing new creativity into these favorite menu items,” says Aleah and Nick Valley. “We've always said that event menus should truly mean something to a couple and their guests and this year we'll see so much playfulness in menus.”
Options, options, and more options—especially when it comes to sweets! “Dessert tables, along with a cutting cake or wedding cake, will be on trend in 2023,” says Nicole Redd-McIntosh, owner of Nicole Bakes Cakes. “Couples love giving their guests options and providing them some of their favorite sweet treats!”
Pruger is experiencing similar requests. “’Just a taste’ is what we often hear when it comes to dessert. Small mini desserts are still the most popular option requested and can be stationed beautifully as a part of the room’s décor and reception space,” she says.
Edgy & Artful Menus
This year is for creativity and adventurous ideas when it comes to wedding food. “Goodbye stuffed mushrooms and rubber chicken! Instead of seared salmon with a lemon caper sauce, couples are choosing our pumpkin seed, Tuscan kale pesto roasted salmon,” says Walker. “We're loving seeing a more adventurous side to hosting the whole family. It's a distinct move from choosing the menu for a broad audience to choosing a more modern menu.”
On the same token, the presentation may be a bit edgier as well. “Presentation of food and beverage is always a priority for our events, and we love when our culinary partners up the ante and present beautiful food in artful ways,” says Aleah and Nick Valley. “Whether it's emulating the ‘wow’ factor of a blown glass museum in passed gelee appetizers or being playful and presenting petite bites in doll house picnic baskets, food truly is art, and guests in 2023 will love to experience food in creative ways.”
Creative Cocktail Experiences
Don’t forget about the drinks! Signature cocktails are always here to stay, but couples are taking the cocktail experience even further. “Cocktail (and mocktail) lounges that are brimming with sensory experiences are always a hit with guests. We encourage at least two satellite bars that are full service and a specialty lounge that serves up something extra special, like garden cocktails or smoked beverages,” says Aleah and Nick Valley. “Pair unique canapes in this space as well as a different musician or playlist to create a total vibe. The bar, glassware, and décor can also be styled to this particular vignette.”
Vintage Inspired Cakes
What’s old eventually becomes new—and back on-trend. Redd-McIntosh notes that she’s been getting a lot of requests for cakes with Lambeth-style piping, which consists of multiple rows of intricately piped details. “It's a nod to vintage-style cakes,” she says.