Sushi is always a big hit with bridal parties, says Tara Zechini, director of marketing and events for Eschelon Hospitality. Eschelon has seen a rise in catering business from its sushi restaurants: Mura at North Hills and Sono in downtown Raleigh.

Zechini added that interactive food stations add another form of entertainment at the reception.

“We can have sushi chefs on-site at receptions creating custom rolls for guests,” she said. “We even create a signature roll for the couple with their favorite ingredients named for them. The couples really seem to like the idea of having a professional from a local restaurant preparing the food and interacting with the guests.”

Eschelon Hospitality
3900 Merton Drive, Suite 270, Raleigh
(919) 424-7759

Comfort Food
Donna Ford, owner and executive chef at Sweet Memories Bakery and Crave Catering, took a twist on nostalgic comfort foods like lasagna shaped for love and miniature pancakes — a childhood favorite — with maple syrup, garnished with strawberries and whipped butter.

“Imagine one of your favorite nostalgic foods in a creative shape such as the bride and groom’s initials, favorite sport, or seasonal flower,” she said. “A theme in your menu will have your guests not only salivating over the taste but recognizing your thoughtful attention to tying a theme into your wedding cuisine.”

Small plates/tapas style portions are a hot trend, allowing guests to experience additional courses.

“Take casual fare and comfort foods we all grew up on and add an upscale flare to wow your guests,” she said. “Combining the great taste of comfort food with a unique design will surely have your guests in awe over the presentation!”

Sweet Memories Bakery and Crave Catering

800 West Williams St., Suite 112, Apex
(919) 363-1889

Club Plates
Good things come in small packages, which is the case for a catering trend that’s been a signature niche for Mitchell’s Catering & Events for the past two years, according to managing partner David Casteel. Club plates and stations of four to five items like this seafood station of miniature petite lobster pot pie with Muscat sauce, vodka custard with crème fraîche and caviar, fresh salmon sashimi over sesame seaweed with miso, spoonfuls of scallop ceviche and jumbo cocktail shrimp with Bloody Mary shooters.

Casteel says it makes for great eye candy and portion control with guests eating smaller amounts. The club plates are also very popular as a dessert station using seasonal fruit like strawberries in the spring, peaches and blueberries in the summer and pumpkins in the fall.

Club plates are generally less expensive to rent, saving the couple on their catering bill yet giving their guests a great variety of flavors to savor on their special day.

Mitchell’s Catering & Events
1732 Capital Bvd., Raleigh,
100 Capitola Drive, Suite 305, Durham
(919) 847-0135

Multicultural Blend
America is a melting pot of cultures, and couples from two different backgrounds are finding a way to celebrate their differences through the choice of their cuisine, according to Kelley Miller, events manager with The Matthews House Catering in downtown Cary.

Ahi tuna on fried wonton with a wasabi sauce is a favorite with couples, as is the cilantro chicken with avocado for signature dishes to serve guests.

Miller said Chef Richard Lucido prides himself on being able to adapt to any menu request. He has been known to modify family recipes for brides who want to incorporate food traditions they grew up with into their reception menu.

The Matthews House Catering
317 West Chatham St., Cary
(919) 467-1944

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