It’s no secret that brides and grooms have had to make some major changes to their wedding planning in the past six or so months. However, there may be certain aspects that you don’t necessarily think of right away. Such as, what are some catering changes during COVID-19? Are there any?

Catering Changes During COVID-19

For the most part, weddings have made many catering adjustments due to the coronavirus. Let’s go through some of them!

Adjusting to state and local guidelines

Many caterers are having to adjust how they run their catering practices as state and local guidelines change. As we all know, state and local guidelines have changed numerous times throughout this pandemic. They will likely continue to change as the states start to open back up or close again. With this, catering and venues have to make adjustments.

In some states, you can have gatherings of 100 or more people. In others, it is limited to 10 people or less. Of course, caterers have to adhere to these guidelines and make sure that your guests are being as safe as possible!

Plated meals are becoming more popular

As COVID restrictions were set in place, plated meals have been on the rise. Buffets have become less popular, although there are still safe ways to make them happen!

Right now, plated meals are generally the safest catering option for weddings. Why? Because the food is served to the guests directly from the kitchen.

Family style catering tends to be the next safest option after plated. Family style is an excellent option if you have tables where the people sitting together are all in the same family or live together. If you have multiple families at one table, then you might want to stay away from this, because everyone will be sharing utensils.

As for buffets — they are still doable, but with a lot of restrictions. Some caterers will not do them at all right now, so double check with them before you make any plans.

How can you make a buffet safe during COVID? For starters, the catering company will likely require more staffing to monitor guests. They will be making sure that everyone is wearing a mask in line, limiting the line, and keeping it socially distanced.

You also need more staff to serve the food. A self-serve buffet just isn’t an option right now unless you’re having a very intimate wedding where all guests are comfortable with that.

Finally, with a buffet, guests will be called up by table. This has been common at weddings in the past too, but it will be more enforced during today’s weddings.

Individual catering options

Another catering option to consider is individual meals. These could be pre-packaged meals for each person. Chick-Fil-A catering, anyone? Or, this could transfer over to your cocktail hour! Think individual charcuterie boards for each guest. So fun!

Bar service

Guidelines for how the bar is run at your wedding will vary by location. In many cases, you can expect there to be a plexiglass screen in front of the bartender. You can also expect guests to be wearing masks while they are at the bar.

In some states (like Massachusetts, as of the time we’re writing this), bars are prohibited. In this case, caterers are having to adjust. This could include taking people’s drink orders at their seat and serving drinks butler style during cocktail hour.

Safety measures

One of the most important aspects to consider with catering changes during COVID-19 are the safety measures that caterers are now taking.

For the most part, caterers increased their safety measures for weddings. These include:

  • Face masks and gloves
  • Temperature checks
  • Creating menus that are safe
  • Proper hand washing and sanitizing
  • Screening forms for employees
  • & more

When asking your caterer about their safety measures, be sure to ask about what they’re doing both on-site and in their own facility (if they are an off-site caterer)!

Reimagining appetizers

Finally, you might be wondering what catering changes during COVID-19 are being made when it comes to appetizers and cocktail hour.

The biggest change is that more cocktail hours are taking place as guests are seated. While everyone is at their table, staff will come around to serve appetizers and drinks.

Or, as we mentioned before, you can also serve individual appetizers! This could even be a plate full of all the different appetizer options. This way, people don’t have to worry about using dipping sauces or grabbing anything off of a communal plate.

Making Sure It Happens

Now that you’re done reading all of this, I’m sure you’re thinking “all of this sounds great… but how do I put these plans into motion?” Well, for starters, be sure to interview your caterer about all of these things before you hire them. Or, if you already hired them pre-COVID, set up a meeting with them to make sure they are committed to keeping your wedding safe for you and your guests.

Of course, we always suggest going through a wedding planner to make sure all of these plans are in place. As your wedding planner, we can make sure that your caterer and all of your wedding vendors are following state/local guidelines, as well as implementing any safety guidelines that you personally want set in place for your wedding.

If doing this alone sounds overwhelming to you, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We promise that we can help you out!

Featured Image Photo by Medina Catering on Unsplash