Experience is the first word in weddings this year, and it extends well beyond décor, music, and entertainment. Open concept catering was inspired by trends in home architecture and has become the hottest approach to guest dining to hit weddings in a long time.
What Is open concept catering?
According to David Merrell of AOO Events, “A popular trend in interior design is the ‘open concept’ where you can see the kitchen and living and dining room from one area. More and more we are seeing ‘action exhibition catering stations’ where food is being finalized and prepared in front of the guests, versus behind the scenes.”
Fresh cuisine prepared in small quantities right in front of guests provides the highest possible quality meal experience, and the interactive chefs often share with their “audience” how the dish relates to the wedding day. Guests are grateful both for the superior quality of dining experience and the entertainment factor of exchanging conversation with the chef.
“More and more couples are demanding to know the sources of their ingredients, and open concept catering is a great way to incorporate that story into a fine meal."
Where was the salmon acquired? Was it sustainably sourced? These are questions guests and clients alike are asking. Photo Don Mears Photography
Open concept catering also meshes well with the highly popular farm-to-table movement. Most chefs are delighted to share the local origins of products used in their dishes, and the stories behind each item. They may feature a specialty cheese from a local dairy farm, for instance, and share what they know about the farmer, his cows, and his business in general. More and more couples are demanding to know the sources of their ingredients, and open concept catering is a great way to incorporate that story into a fine meal.
Haute cuisine in a more casual environment
For some couples, open concept catering is appealing due to its flexibility. “Formal dining has turned into casual dining,” says Meryl Snow of Feastivities. “Couples are always concerned about the amount of time they have for dancing. They are forgoing a seated first course and incorporating it within the cocktail hour as a strolling Chef Cart.” Guests get the element of interaction, incredible cuisine prepared a la minute, and time well spent celebrating together, not waiting for their multi-course meals.
If you would like to try to implement open concept catering for your events, have a discussion with your catering professionals about the options available to you. Exchange ideas and stay dedicated to making truly incredible experiences for your guests to enjoy.
Kylie Carlson is the owner of the International Academy of Wedding and Event Planning. With six locations globally, the academy boasts an internationally recognized accreditation program that brings professional training to wedding planners, designers and stylists.