wedding planning tips :: 2020 food and drink trends and advice from Lisa Dupar Catering

When it comes to developing the food and beverage (and dessert!) concepts with our wedding couples and party clients, we go wild for big ideas that are creative and clever, and also trusted ones that help to tell the story of the people or the mission of the event and ones that we know will stand the test of time (and service). We asked our incredibly talented friend Lisa Dupar, renowned Chef and Founder of Dupar & Co., (which houses Lisa Dupar Catering and Pomegranate Bistro) a handful of all-important and fun questions to help you plan your food and beverage menu. Take a listen – anything Lisa says is golden and on the cutting edge!

Q: What kind of signature cocktails do you suggest couples serve their guests (ie, batch drinks, herb-infused, etc.) and how can they determine what a popular drink to serve would be? 

A: I always suggest “a cocktail with a story” for the couples’ signature drink. Whether it’s a favorite type of spirit, such as Rum, (because the groom is Haitian) and they created a Barbancourt Rhum drink as a nod to his heritage, or one that represents a symbolic event in their relationship, such as a Pisco Sour, because they met while hiking in Peru.

Batch cocktails served from big pitchers or punch bowl- style are easy to serve and fun, visually. Planning for zero-proof cocktails in batches allows for the mocktail to look as festive as the spiked one. It also allows the guest a choice of spirit to be added by the bartender.

Lastly, consider the season, as weddings are year-round, now.

Spring: think rhubarb, elderflower, strawberries

Summer: Berries, peaches, slushy or crushed ice cocktails

Fall: Pressed Cider, Pears, Smoky Bourbon drinks

Winter: Spiked Nog, Buttered Rum, Hot toddy bar, Drinking Chocolate

Photo: O’Malley Photographers

Q: How many hors d’ oeuvres or stations should a couple offer guests during happy hour?

A: Depending on the flow and timing of the entire reception, I would say a selection of three passed hors d’oeuvres is enough variety to make meat-eating and plant-loving guests feel the love.

Stations, similarly, would be determined by the entirety of the meal plan and the number of guests accessing the station.

The chef would need to create an item that is fun and easy to serve, quickly, so guests aren’t held up during a short happy hour.

Q: What’s your favorite style of food service for a mid-sized outdoor wedding?

A: It all depends on the couple and their vision for their special day. I find either family-style or a variety of chef-manned stations give the guests choices for what, and how much, they would enjoy eating. 

Co-Planning/Catering: Lisa Dupar Catering || Co-Planning + Florals: Valley & Company Events || Rentals: CORT || Photo: Matthew Land Studios

 Q: Any fun food or drink trends you’re excited to see in 2020?

A: Biggest drink trend is to give as much thought and creativity to zero-proof cocktails as to spiked ones. Elevated mocktails.

Food trends seem to be following a cultural nod to the couples’ heritage or passions with food. Being asked to create an authentic South-of-France menu for the wedding, just because the couple loves French cooking, is a typical current request.

 Photo: Matthew Land Studios

So what food and drink trends will you be incorporating into your soiree? Many thanks to Lisa for the fun and educational answers!