By: Bob Brichmann
Brides have lots of fun choices today to help make their wedding reception unique. Above and beyond the wonderful food and décor and the fun and lively musical entertainment guests expect, lies that extra flair to make your event that much more fun and memorable.
The dessert bar trend is gaining momentum. Gourmet and specialty desserts range from tarts to tortes…chocolate dipped strawberries to mini cheesecakes…mini cannolis to mousse cups… mini tiramisus to mini crème brulees and even chocolate chip cookies. The creativity and display of the dessert bar will dazzle your guests. The display makes for beautiful photo opportunities. It’s a perfect after dinner or late night treat for everyone. “We can combine mini cupcakes with full size cupcakes with several different flavors in a tiered display. Brides are loving our custom desserts and use of fresh fruit. Berries, banana, passion fruit, guava, lichee and fruit purées. We can get very creative,” shares Elaine Ardizzone, the right cheek from The Sweet Cheeks Baking Company.
Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream
Ok, does that sound futuristic and super scientific or what? This ice cream option is not your normal ice cream. At 320 degrees below zero, the liquid nitrogen instantly transforms a standard sugar and cream mixture into ice cream. There’s none of the 5 hours in the freezer action. Add some of your favorite add-ons like berries, nuts, syrups and so forth and you are good to go. Why is it so different? Watch the display of how it’s made. As the liquid nitrogen is added, a dry ice-like effect is generated. The visual display is totally cool (no pun intended). “Think Dippin’ Dots only it’s ice cream. Guests enjoy watching things being made. It’s more interactive and eye-catching,” explains Mike Hogan from Sensational Treats.
This idea is not new, but it’s still super popular. Many of us grew up loving candy. We all had our nostalgic favorites. Even your parents share stories of their favs. Believe it or not, you can still get many of those nostalgic candies if you search creatively. Coordinators and brides are conspiring in creating colorful candy stations. They are using unique vases, jars, urns and vessels to hold the candy. They often tie in florals to the design. The table can also be woven into the theme for the evening. Candies can be color coordinated to match the wedding colors. Custom candy bags can also be designed with the bride and groom’s initials or names on them. Candies can vary from Jolly Ranchers, Red Hots, Gummi Bears, sugar sticks, M&M’s, chocolate covered pretzels and raisins, Sugar Daddys, various nuts, Smarties, Tootsie Rolls, Lemon Drops, sour balls, Spice Drops, Dots, Goobers…the choices are endless. Candy choices often reflect the bride and groom’s personal tastes or perhaps mom and dad’s – as a tribute. You can create title cards for the stations, such as Greg’s Gummis or Brea’s Boston Baked Beans.
Specialty coffee bars are very popular. Coffee is so interwoven into our society. It’s on every street corner. It’s expected at weddings nowadays. “Many weddings are moving away from the booze fest. They want something different for their guests – an upgrade that’s non-alcoholic,” says Melissa Darisay Thorpe from Eurobar Espresso Coffee and Beverage Service. It’s just not coffee, either. They can provide hot chocolate, frappachinos and smoothie stations. There are alternatives for all age groups and tastes. “We get a lot of requests for ethnic coffees. Greek and Turkish coffees. Brazilian drinks. Persian teas. Italians love the Superior Espresso. The cleanness in taste is very important to them. We can even lace coffees with liquors,” adds Darisay Thorpe.
A huge comfort food from yesteryear is the donut. There are mobile mini donut-making providers adding to the special event world. You might want to consider a take home offering of a small bag of mini-donuts for your guests. They are cooked on the spot. The station is classy, clean, sleek and efficient. The servers are attentive and professional. They are cooked in cholesterol and trans-fat free canola oil. “People smell the donuts and it draws them in. It’s an action station providing fun food. It offers more variety for the guests,” adds Mike Hogan from Party Donuts. Add some cinnamon or powdered sugar or other extra toppings and you are set for a treat for the ride home.
It’s no longer a trend. Cupcakes have been a staple at weddings for years now. Mini cupcakes, regular sized cupcakes, cupcakes with various flavors and uniquely shaped cupcakes – all have their place in spicing up your wedding dessert offerings. “Cupcakes are big as an addition to candy stations. We love to work with coordinators and florists to tie things into the wedding theme. They’re made the morning of the wedding and are so fresh,” shares Robin Ross from Cupcakes Squared. Flavors abound for cupcakes. You may have one the bride loves, one the groom loves and then one that will have mass appeal with the guests. Arguably, the three favorite flavors are red velvet, vanilla and chocolate. Each have their merits and each can be augmented with extras – special frosting, nuts, fruits, etc.
While it’s not a typical option for a wedding, what about considering a cotton candy, popcorn or candy apple station for your wedding? It’s nostalgic. It’s something your parents will relish from their era. It’s something the kids will enjoy! “It’s very different. The colors of the cotton candy can match the wedding colors. It can be a big add-on to that candy station. It provides that nostalgic feeling,” explains Nina Rodecker from Tasty Clouds. Picture a station placed outside on the patio that offers cotton candy to go. Yes it’s carnival-like, so it’s fun. It’s different. Candy apples boxed to go with your names or monogram on them. There’s your party favor. That extra flair for your wedding will tantalize your guests or leave them with a sugar high. It’s that added touch that will keep them abuzz!