There’s nothing better than a wedding reception where everyone leaves feeling thoroughly wowed: fed, watered and entertained, and high on life. It sets a great tone for the newlyweds’ future. So if you’re in the process of planning yours and need some wedding food, drink and décor inspiration, get your checklist ready – we’re about to reveal this season’s hottest hospitality and dining trends.
FOOD, FABULOUS FOOD!
Hello, Harvest Tables
Say goodbye to the boring buffet and the perfectly-plated designer meal because these wedding serving options are making way for the old-school harvest table. Also fondly referred to as the “grazing table,” this trend adds a bourgeois spin on the traditional buffet. Think finger-foods like cheeses, homemade bread, pâtés, cured meats, olives and vol-au-vents.
The “graze craze” has captured the palates of A-listers like Russel Brand, Tom Hardy and Samantha Faiers, who have all entertained their guests to the tune of charcuterie, fine cheese and exotic fruit. Go vegan, go organic, but make sure all bases are covered. Do that and you’ll have the makings of an Insta-worthy spread.
Jump on the Food Truck Trend
Gone are the days when food trucks were resigned to a grubby corner in the world of street food. We’ve gone from hotdogs to gourmet burgers, and from soft-serve to vegan gelato, all served from the makeshift counters of mini-vans.
Food trucks are a serious option for couples who are looking to add a hipster spin on traditional serving options. There are, of course, a few logistical details to smooth out – like whether your venue allows external caterers, the possibility of bad weather, and the number of guests you’re expecting and don’t want to leave queuing for days at the reception.
Once you’ve navigated these logistics, what you’ll get is plenty of variety, midnight snacking options and an element of whimsy that only a food truck can bring to an event.
There’s nothing better than a wedding reception where everyone leaves feeling thoroughly wowed
Cakes Go Gothic
In 2016, wedding cakes went metallic. In 2017, cakes went naked and, in 2018, we were in awe of everything ombre. But in 2019 and 2020, we’re going black in a big way.
These dark, gothic creations defy tradition and bring a sense of brooding romance to the cake table. They are an extension of the black wedding- and bridesmaids’ dress trends, with couples removing the fluff and opting for an aesthetic that is refined and ultra-chic.
Sweet Valley High actress, Brittany Daniel brought red carpet status to this trend when she married Adam Touni and celebrated with a three-tiered black fondant cake, with gold leaf detailing. Black cakes are statement pieces and conversation-starters. Go all-black or add black embellishments to your culinary centrepiece because this is a trend that’s here to stay.
CHEERS, MUH DEARS!
Something by Queen B
When Bonang Matheba, the first black woman to become a member of the Cap Classique Producers Association and launches her own self-titled brand of MCC, the ears of wedding planners across the country prick up.
As a wedding palate-pleaser, Bonang’s House of BNG MCC Rosé MV has all the bells and whistles that a special occasion deserves, but it’s the bubbly’s flavour profile that brings the most delight. Expect a biscuity nose, followed by introductory notes of fruit, leading up to a dry finish with lingering notes of lemon zest.
Master Your Mocktails
Ever since the launch of the book by the same name, the “Sober Curious” movement has gained traction worldwide. More and more of us are wading into the waters of sobriety, and it shows. Alcohol-free alternatives to popular drinks are popping up everywhere and wedding drinks trends seem to be embracing the change.
Make sure your barmen are well-versed in the art of the mocktail. Think fresh herb garnishes, edible flowers and, for lovers of all things classic, orange rind. Your sober curious guests will thank you for it.
Gin Ne Sais Quoi
Here’s an interesting fact. According to Fortune magazine, in 2018, global consumption of gin grew faster than any other beverage alcohol category. For industry veteran, Brandy Rand, this growth can be attributed to the evolving “plant craze.” The world is going green – we’re living, thinking and drinking greener. Many believe that consuming plant-based food and drink is better for our bodies and the environment – that’s why gin, with its botanical base, fits the bill. For weddings, you’ll want to opt for a crowd-pleaser, like Hendrick’s Gin with its infusions of cucumber and rose.
Whiskey-Tasting for the Win
In 2019 and 2020, we’re moving beyond the bar. Wedding drinks are becoming a lot more experiential than before. It’s not only about what is served, but how it’s served. Special drinks stations or mobile tasting bars are making their way into weddings across the country. Add a mixologist to the equation and you’ll have a winning formula. New, shiny labels are all-the-rage, but there’s also a move towards the more classic tipples. Whiskies like Jack Daniel’s, Tullamore Dew and Ardbeg are welcomed essentials.
THE POWER OF FLOWERS
Green is Good
Green. That’s about all anyone needs to know about the latest trend in wedding botanicals. Couples simply can’t get enough of leafy greens and deconstructed, natural-looking arrangements that appear to be freshly picked from a field of wildflowers.
As The Bloom Room’s, Cindy Lee du Toit explains: “Everyone is loving lush, green florals and foliage right now. The prevailing aesthetic is natural and luxurious. Expect tables with intertwining leafy stalks and bold florals. It’s all about bringing a sense of the outdoors in, with oversized greenery and hanging arrangements that cascade down from the ceiling, as well as flamboyant floral arches and photo booths.”
Where Colour Meets Texture
This season is all about drama on the floral front. Moody, theatrical colourways are brought to life through luxuriant textures. Kimberley Lomas of Natural Nostalgia, a KwaZulu-Natal-based floral design and décor hire company, believes that adding the wow factor to a wedding is about striking this colour-texture balance.
Lomas says, “Think deep burgundy, black and grey-blue – even a touch of mustard. These are the colours we’ll be playing with going into 2020. We’ll be drawing inspiration from autumn and winter hues, and combining these shades with texture through the introduction of florals, seed pods, grasses, berries and wild foliage.”
TIPS FROM THE PLANNERS
Take it Personally
Wedding Concepts is the premier wedding planning group and the winner of 2019’s “Best Planner in Africa” award from the Destination Wedding Planners Congress, hosted in Dubai.
Christina Holt, founder and director of Wedding Concepts, has this tip for couples planning their wedding: “Make it personal! A wedding celebration is meant to touch all the senses and bespoke customisation should be at the heart of it. A personalised geometric pattern, a custom-designed plate, a handmade feature light, a wedding favour from your favourite pâtissier – inspired ideas like these are part of elevating a wedding to become a hugely personal experience. Whatever is truly meaningful to the couple should be felt by everyone surrounding them on the day.”
Zenobia Davids, founder of Blue Olive Events, has worked with the likes of South African actress and producer Donnalee Roberts and styled shoots across the country. As an admitted perfectionist, Davids has put her penchant for details to good use as an event planning expert and has the following advice for couples who are tying the knot:
“If you’re going to hire a wedding planner, do so before you book any other supplier, especially the venue. When couples book a venue, it’s all about the bottom line, whereas your wedding planner will take everything into consideration – costs, contractual obligations, what is and isn’t be allowed at the venue, and most importantly, whether the venue can cater to your overall look and feel. A good planner will be a stickler for details, so leave the logistics to them.”