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Summer Lovin’… Prep for Those Proposals Now!

Now, when we say prep for those proposals, we’re not talking about the engagement. That’s the partner’s moment to shine. We’re talking about your wedding catering proposals!

While about 40% of proposals take place between December (Christmas) and February (Valentine’s Day), there were plenty of partners who dropped down to one knee to profess their love and start the next chapter with their beloved over the Fourth of July holiday weekend. The Fourth of July ranks as the fifth most popular proposal day of the year, and that means it’s our time to shine as caterers and wedding industry professionals!

If you haven’t prepped your unique packages, wow factor upsells, or creative dishes to delight yet, it’s time to start. To get your ideas flowing, we’re going to recap the finalists for the 2023 CATIE Awards Best Wedding category.

These caterers pulled out all the stops to create moments their clients will never forget. And you can use what they’ve created as inspiration as we approach engagement season to make the upcoming year your best sales year yet!

"French Provincial Getaway" by Catering by Design

When sprawling Colorado mountain ranges and elegant French-inspired design meet, magic happens. At least, that’s what we think after seeing the swoon-worthy shots of this incredible wedding by Catering by Design. 

Photo courtesy International Caterers Associatioin and Catering by Design

The couple wanted the cuisine to be front and center at the wedding, as they have restauranteurs in the family. So, Catered by Design took the international flair infused with the design and the couple’s Texas roots and paired them for a uniquely divine menu.

The biggest challenge, despite no power or cell service at the venue, was cultivating every dish to be gluten-free… as well as onion and garlic free. A true feat for any chef! 

Menu items featured: 

  • Savory Beet Macaron with goat cheese cream
  • Truffled wild mushroom arancini with mozzarella, micro basil, and tomato jam
  • Peach and burrata salad with heirloom tomato, mint, basil, parsley, chive, lemon herb vinaigrette, balsamic syrup, and fresh cracked pepper and salt, served with gluten-free focaccia

But perhaps the most unique station was the “Pour-Over Station” which is what attracted the couple to Catering by Design in the first place.

In this signature service/ dish, the team whips up a delightful broth that’s poured over a clay pot filled with herbs. The broth travels to the open bottom of the pot and, on its way, soaks up the rich herbal flavors and aromas before it trickles over a delightful dish.

Talk about a wow factor menu!

“Lakefront Love” by Forte Belanger

There’s something extra special about catering a wedding at a family home. For this lake-inspired affair, Forte Belanger carted their team and supplies five hours north of their Detroit hub to produce a breathtaking wedding weekend fit for royalty. 

Photo courtesy International Caterers Association and Forte Belanger

In one weekend, they produced: 

  • A five-course tasting and wine pairing dinner for the rehearsal dinner
  • A welcome party with stations, grazing tables, passed hors d’oeuvres, and a specialty bourbon cart
  • A wedding with pre-ceremony hospitality, cocktail hour, and multi-course plated meal at the reception
  • A post-wedding brunch with delectable breakfast stations

One thing we loved is the elegant pre-ceremony hospitality. This is a highly underutilized upsell! It sets the stage for an incredible celebration and surprises guests in the most delicious way. The team offered French 75 signature cocktails and paired them with:

  • Thyme shortbread biscuits
  • Angus beef savory cone with white truffle aioli and crispy baby artichokes
  • Red-wine lamb chop
  • Tuna nachos with guacamole, siracha aioli, black sesame seeds, atop a wonton chip
  • Heirloom beet bites with citrus-ginger glaze and micro cilantro
  • Gougère with gruyere, paprika, and Tabasco aioli

While mingling on the family’s lakefront lawn, guests nibbled and got excited for the impending nuptials!

“Ringing in the New Year” by Simply Fresh Events

This special New Year’s Eve wedding is the perfect depiction of how a couple’s unique personality can shine through in their wedding celebrations. 

Photo courtesy International Caterers Associaton and Simply Fresh Events 

History buffs with friends who are museum curators and preservationists, they were married in the iconic 1909 mansion, Perry Belmont House in Washington D.C. Open to the public for only four years, the collections inside include Tiffany vases, gold gilt chandeliers, historic oil paintings, and more. The architecture and detail were intricate and bold, so the couple opted for minimalist décor to let the history and grandeur of the venue truly shine.

To further personalize, the menus were entirely customized to distinctly combine the bride’s childhood home, Pittsburgh, her Polish heritage, and the groom’s pescatarian diet.

Menu items featured: 

  • Mini Maryland crab cakes with Old Bay aioli
  • Bruschetta bar featuring toasted baguette with classic tomato bruschetta, olive and pepper bruschetta, and classic babaganoush
  • Traditional Polish perogies bar
  • A Pittsburg cookies table featuring 13 types of baked delights, including peanut butter buckeyes, Christmas strawberry cookies, lady locks, chocolate-covered Oreos, and more
  • Stuffed red pepper lentils, kale, cashews, quinoa, topped with cashew 'cream sauce'
  • Miso glazed sea bass served with green bean bundles and potato au gratin

And it wouldn’t be a New Year’s Eve wedding without a ball drop, right?

The team set up a TV in the grand salon with passed champagne so guests could toast to the new year and the new couple. A truly memorable celebration on a truly memorable date!

How Will You Delight Potential Couples This Engagement Season?

Which of these delectable menu items will you be using as inspiration for your one-of-a-kind wedding menus this season? We love sharing these incredibly creative soirees to share what’s possible with a little teamwork and innovative flavors!

For more information on how to join the ICA and to be notified of future catering industry webinars and education opportunities while also gaining access to our exclusive and valuable ICA Facebook Roundtable Group to talk shop with other catering industry professionals and CATIE award winners, visit  


International Caterers Association

For motivated caterers, International Caterers Association is a resource that provides Education, encourages peer to peer Relationships and Inspires creativity while embracing all segments of the catering industry. For more information, visit