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28 Catering Trends for a Mouthwatering 2021 [Photos]

The New Year always means new catering trends and food styles. 2021, however, will mark far more than just a new year with new fads. 

As 2020 draws to a close, and we look toward the future, we are filled with hope for a better year. We yearn to connect with loved ones, visit new places, and celebrate the important milestones in our lives.

As restaurants begin to reopen, and celebrations return in all of their glory, we at PartySlate are excited to predict what new catering trends are on the horizon. 

While the end of the pandemic is finally in sight, we expect catering and events to maintain certain safety precautions implemented over the last year. Keep on the lookout for single-servings, covered dishes, and sanitary packagings. 


As restaurants begin to reopen, and celebrations return in all of their glory, we at PartySlate are excited to predict what new catering trends are on the horizon.”

But that’s not all. We expect 2021 to be a year defined by ingenuity and innovation — after all, caterers and other event professionals spent a long year overcoming challenges and reinventing themselves.  

Anticipate creative catering displays and a meticulous attention to detail. Look for new colors and sensory engagement. Of course, keep an eye out for a resurgence of virtual food kits and catering classes. After all, the party is always better when everyone (including out-of-town guests) can attend.

Join PartySlate as we explore the hottest catering trends that we expect to see in 2021. Moreover, check out PartySlate for all of your party-planning needs. Whether you are looking to connect with venues and vendors or simply find inspiration, PartySlate is here to help you celebrate in style. 

Here’s to 2021…

Safety Precautions With Food

As the proverb goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” COVID-19 has forced all of us to rethink the way we serve food. Over the last year, caterers and other event professionals have used innovative thinking and problem-solving skills to adapt to the times. 

At PartySlate, we’ve seen adaptations on everything from individually served meals to buffet lines. While we remain hopeful that a vaccine is on the horizon and events will return in full capacity, we expect these new safety-precaution trends to continue in 2021 (and even beyond). After all, making guests feel safe and cared for never goes out of style. 

1. Buffets With Safety Precautions

Covid-Friendly Studio 54 Backyard Birthday Party in Los Angeles, California

photographer: Starla Fortunato

Los Angeles, CA

Good Gracious! Events keeps the buffet line sanitary with masked servers and separate serving dishes. Of course, sanitary can still be chic. See how glittery face masks complement the surrounding décor.

photographer: Starla Fortunato | planner & caterer: Good Gracious! Events | floral design: Butterfly Floral & Event Design | venue: private residence | lighting, audio, & visual: Pacific Event Services | live animal: Benay’s Bird & Animal Rental | live entertainment: Thematic Productions | rentals: Town & Country Rentals | photo booth: Hashtagphotobooth | cake: Charm City Cakes West | linen: BBJ Linen | beverage: Liquid Catering

Socially-Distanced Oyster Bar from My House Events | PartySlate

photo courtesy of My House Events’ Instagram

New Orleans, LA

My House Events, renowned for supporting local chefs and bringing communities together, believes in using food to make the world a better place. We think this sanitary oyster bar does just that. 

photographer: Trevor Ekanger | planner: Elle R. Jae Events | venue: Felicity Church | caterers: My House Events, Salt and Light Pasty Co., Elysian Events Catering, & Meribo

2. Tray Service You Can Trust

Pastel & Pretty Outdoor Bat Mitzvah in Scarsdale, New York | PartySlate

photographer: Michael Jurick Photography

Scarsdale, NY

Bring the food to your guests — while practicing social distancing — with tray service that features individually-packaged food. Discover how M.Studio Events keeps food on theme with a cohesive branding strategy.

photographer: Michael Jurick Photography | planner: M.Studio Events | design, décor, floral: Diana Gould Ltd | venue: private residence | caterer: Creative Edge Parties | entertainment: Total Entertainment | videographer: Kornfeld Studios | invitations: Alpine Creative Group | drone: Elite Studios NY

3. Sealed (& Stylish) Cocktails

Sealed Shot Glasses from Rustic Farm Fun Filled Wedding Experience at Meadow Ridge Farm in Coxsackie, NY | PartySlate

photographer: Twah Dougherty Photography

Coxsackie, NY

Lidded shots keep the party both sanitary and festive. They’re also a great opportunity for corporate or personal branding. Don’t forget to use a florist like The Style Marc who knows how to maintain a continuous color palette with lavish pink and Champagne-hued floral décor.

photographer: Twah Dougherty Photography | planner: The Revelry Cooperative | design, décor, floral: The Style Marc | venue: Meadow Ridge Farm | caterer: Fig & Pig Catering | entertainment: Honey and Vinyl | rentals: Patina Rentals

Lidded Fruit Cocktails by Elegant Affairs Caterers | PartySlate

photo courtesy of Elegant Affairs Caterers’ Instagram

New York, NY

Elegant Affairs Caterers elevates summer fruity cocktails with rustic-chic mason jars. We love how the sealed lids keeps CDC guidelines — while also keeping your beverage free of pesky summer insects.

photo courtesy of & caterer: Elegant Affairs Caterers

4. Covered Cuisine

Glass Cloche-Covered Cuisine at an Intimate and Classic Birthday Dinner in Miami, Florida | PartySlate

photo courtesy of: Le Basque

Miami, FL

Glass cloches aren’t just a catering trend; they’re one of PartySlate’s top party and wedding trends for 2021. Le Basque is ahead of the curve with these gorgeous glass domes that make tray-service possible (as well as photo-worthy) during a global pandemic.

photos courtesy of, event planner, design, & caterer: Le Basque | rentals: Events on the Loose

Glass Cloche Catering at Intimate Luxury Birthday Dinner in Miami Beach, Florida | PartySlate

photo courtesy of: STYLE Catering, Inc.

Miami Beach, FL

Cloches aren’t just for appetizers. We love how these glass domes add drama and beauty to the dining experience. In this case, the cuisine by STYLE Catering, Inc. is just as beautiful as the floral décor.

photos courtesy of & catering: STYLE Catering, Inc. | planning & event design: STYLE Hospitality | floral installation: Andres Aguilar Designs | runner & napkins: Nuage Designs | chargers: Contempo Linen and Event Rental | flatware: Atlas Event Rental | china: Diamonette

Pink, Purple + Butterfly Baby Naming at Turnberry Ocean Colony in Sunny Isles Beach, FL With Glass-Covered Mini Cakes | PartySlate

photographer: Domingo Cabrera

Sunny Isles Beach, FL

These gorgeous mini cakes with glass-dome coverings show us how to celebrate while social distancing. Click to see how other gorgeous dessert spreads by Sweet Guilt & Ktering Desserts at this gorgeous baby-naming celebration planned by LV Event Designs.

photographer: Domingo Cabrera | planner: LV Event Designs | florals: Blake Roses | venue & caterer: Turnberry Ocean Colony | dessert: Sweet Guilt & Ktering Desserts | dessert table: Publisigns | balloons: Party Party Creations | china rental: Different Look | dj: DJ Service International | furniture rentals: Imperial Party Rentals | linen rental: Nuage Designs | production: PSID Group | dessert table pedestals: Tali Tables


RELATED: 21 Party & Wedding Trends for 2021


Clever & Over-the-Top Food Presentation 

The events industry knows how to reinvent itself year after year — even during a global pandemic. As weddings, corporate events, and milestone celebrations narrowed in size and capacity, caterers and event planners turned their attention to the details. With that in mind, we anticipate 2021 to be the year where creativity reaches new heights — and every element of a meal is elevated to perfection. Expect to see clever catering displays and stunning food presentations. After all, nothing brings people together like a shared meal. It’s time to shine a spotlight on cuisine.

5. Salad — But Make it Chic

Winter Wonderland Bat Mitzvah With Salads in Glass Orbs | PartySlate

photographer: SLY Photography

Newton, MA

We know we’re not supposed to play with our food, but this salad by MAX Ultimate Food is almost too fun to eat. Of course, when a salad is this delicious, we have to take a bite.

photographer: SLY Photography | planner, design, & dj: Siagel Productions | florals: Petal Pushers | venue: Windsor Club | caterer: MAX Ultimate Food | rentals & linen: PEAK Event Services | ceiling décor: Prop Factory 

Brussel Sprout Salad in Champagne Glass bu Colette's Catering & Events | PartySlate

photo courtesy of Colette’s Catering & Events’ Instagram

Fullerton, CA

Who needs Champagne when you can have this deluxe brussel sprout salad by Colette’s Catering & Events? A salad this good is definitely worth toasting.

photographer: Corrie Lynn Photo | planner & design: Beigos Events | caterer: Colette’s Catering & Events | rentals: Sweet Salvage Rentals  

6. Soup Gets Sophisticated

Sophisticated Dinner Party at The Yost Theater in Santa Ana, California With Soup Served in Soup Cans | PartySlate

photographer: Villa Visuals

Santa Ana, CA

Forget the traditional bowl. These soup cans by 24 Carrots Catering & Events bring Pop Art sophistication to the first course. We also love how they create an opportunity for personal or corporate branding.

photographer: Villa Visuals | florals: Lavenders Floral | venue: The Yost Theater | caterer: 24 Carrots Catering and Events | rentals: Found Rentals | linen: La Tavola Fine Linen

7. Glass Makes Food Levitate

Rustic Floral Wedding at the Park Hyatt Aviara Carlsbad CA With Glass Tea Pots | PartySlate

photographer: Stetten Wilson

San Diego, CA

Lucite shelving paired with glass teapots meant more views of the gorgeous surroundings at Park Hyatt Aviara Resort. Click to see how candlelight illuminated this gorgeous beverage display after sunset.

photographer: Stetten Wilson | planning & design: Amorology | florals: Native Poppy | venue: Park Hyatt Aviara Resort | video: Quixotic Wedding | dj: VOX DJs | rentals: Folklore Rentals | tabletop rentals: The Hostess Haven & borrowed BLU | linen: BBJ Linen & Nuage Designs | ribbon: Tono + Co | lighting: Bright Event Rentals | cakes: Hey There, Cupcake! | backdrops: Back Up Backdrops | transportation: La Costa Limousine | film lab: Indie Film Lab | invitation: Roya Seradj | calligraphy: Four Things Paper

Magical Fairytale Wedding at Terra Gallery & Event Venue in San Francisco, CA With Lucite Shelving for Dessert Display | PartySlate

photographer: Rebecca Yale Photography

San Francisco, CA

We love how this gorgeous dessert by Betty Zlatchin Catering & Events looks like it’s floating in mid air thanks to lucite shelving. Click to see closeups of this wow-worthy dessert spread.

photographer: Rebecca Yale Photography | event design: Kate Siegel Fine Events | florals: Cherries Flowers | venue: Terra Gallery & Event Venue | catering: Betty Zlatchin Catering & Events | stationery: Underwood Letterpress & Yonder Design


RELATED: 13 Kids’ Birthday Party Trends for 2021


Personalized Fare Prepared Just for You

As caterers and event professionals continue to rethink safety-precautions, expect personalized fare to receive all the fanfare in 2021. 

Forget the personal pan pizza of your youth. Expect your personalized cuisine to receive the same care and attention as any gourmet meal. 

Instead of servings of wedding cake, imagine your own mini cake crafted just for you. Forget crowding around a charcuterie spread at a baby shower or holiday party

2021 is the year for individual charcuterie boards and more. It’s time to get personal. 

8. Individual Desserts of Our Dreams

Social-Distanced Outdoor Wedding at a Private Residence in Minneapolis, MN With Individually-Packaged Mini Wedding Cakes | PartySlate

photo courtesy of Amy Zaroff Events + Design

Minneapolis, MN

Who wouldn’t want a wedding cake all to themself? This gorgeous wedding, planned by Amy Zaroff Events + Design, has us dreaming about dessert (and future catering trends) with these individually-packaged wedding cakes.

photos courtesy of, planner, design, & florals: Amy Zaroff Events + Design | floral: Arts and Flowers | venue: Private Residence | invitations & printed accessories: Two Paper Dolls | rentals: Apres Party & Tent Rental | a/v & live stream: AVEX | entertainment: Élan Artists | specialty décor: Girl Friday & Material Girl Graphics | caterer: D’amico Catering | bar service: A Proper Pour

Diana & Matthew Wedding Ceremony & Reception in Chicago, IL With Sumptuous Desserts | PartySlate

Photography WS Photography

Chicago, IL

Viola’s Kitchen Catering & Event Planning certainly knows how to keep everyone at the party satisfied. These individual dessert pies, served in glamorous goblets, make us want to spend a quiet moment alone before rejoining the celebration.

photographer: WS Photography | planning, design, & catering: Viola’s Kitchen Catering & Event Planning | florals: Flowers by K.H.

Passed dessert bites on lucite spoons by Chef CW | PartySlate

photographer: Jason Kaczorowski Photography

Oak Brook, IL

The appetizer spoon is about to get a whole lot sweeter. We are obsessed with these passed dessert bites by Chef CW. Now you can mix and mingle post-dinner without worrying about missing the best course of the meal. 

photographer: Jason Kaczorowski Photography | caterer: Chef CW

9. Ultra-Chic Charcuterie Boards

Networking Mixer at Glasshouse Chelsea in New York With Mini Charcuterie Boards | PartySlate

photo courtesy of Elegant Affairs Caterers

New York, NY

Mini charcuterie boards by Elegant Affairs Caterers are perfect for social-distancing in style. Finally, a cheese plate all to ourselves.

photos courtesy of & caterer: Elegant Affairs Caterers | planner: Vision Event Company | venue: Glasshouse Chelsea | rentals: Party Rental Ltd.

Individual Charcuterie Boards by AP Events and Catering | PartySlate

photographer: The Shalom Imaginative

Napa, CA

AP Events and Catering Inc. turns individual charcuterie boards into a gourmet main course. We especially love how the colorful (and absolutely delicious) cuisine pops against modern dinnerware.

photographer: The Shalom Imaginative | planner: Amiee D’maris | décor, catering, & desserts: AP Events and Catering Inc. | venue: private estate | entertainment: Moses & DJ Khosmo | rentals: Encore Events Rentals | lighting: Lighting Company | linen: La Tavola Fine Linen | shuttle: Beau Wine Tours

10. Small Plates for Big Appetites

Small Plates in Mini Cast Iron Pots from Sweetwater Farms | PartySlate

photo courtesy of Sweetwater Farm’s Instagram

Houston, TX

Sweetwater Farms knows how to make small plates that are big on style. These individual cast irons turn any sit-down meal — be it a wedding, milestone celebration, or corporate event — into a sumptuous dining experience.

photos courtesy of & caterer: Sweetwater Farms

11. Champagne — The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Corporate Anniversary Party With Mini Champagne Party Favors | PartySlate

photo courtesy of Unique Catering Design

Miami, FL

Great food — like this party cuisine catered by Unique Catering Design — goes even better with Champagne. Mini Champagne bottles make for great party favors. Of course, we might be tempted to indulge in such a gift before the party’s over.

photos courtesy of & caterer: Unique Catering Design


RELATED: 30 Social Distancing Birthday Parties, Baby Showers, Weddings, & More


Rethink the Rainbow With These Unexpected Hues 

We tend to take certain things for granted: Wedding cakes are white, strawberries are red. However, 2021 is the year to let go of certain preconceived notions. 

Food, as we know it, is about to “try on” some new colors. Look for edgy and original trends in 2021 like black wedding cakes or gold-plated fruit. 

For now, it’s time to rediscover what the rainbow has to offer. 

12. Midnight Black Wedding Cakes

Black Wedding Cake at Luxurious Enchanting Wedding at The Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, CA | PartySlate

photographer: Nirav Patel Photography

San Francisco, CA

This black wedding cake by Betty Zlatchin Catering & Events makes us rethink what we know about wedding color palettes. While 2020 may have brought us social distancing and take-home catering, 2021 is the year to try new out new hues.

photographer: Nirav Patel Photography | event design : Charmed Events Group | venue: Asian Art Museum | caterer: Betty Zlatchin Catering & Events

13. Fruit Worth its Weight in Gold

Decadent Desserts With Gold Fruit | PartySlate

photo courtesy of Déjà vu Sweets

Miami, FL

We’ve heard of chocolate covered strawberries, but we’ve never seen anything like these gold-plated strawberries by Déjà vu Sweets. Dessert is about to get even more luxurious.

photos courtesy of and bakery: Déjà vu Sweets

 


RELATED: 7 Steps to Hosting a Virtual Dinner Party With All the Fun and None of the Cleanup


Backyard Dining is About to Get Delicious

Backyard weddings and other events are more popular than ever. As celebrations move outdoors, it’s time to reimagine al fresco dining. 

We expect 2021 to be the year where restaurants come to you in the form of food trucks and where camping “snacks” gets elevated to gourmet cuisine. 

Think of your backyard as the next Michelin-starred restaurant — with help from the right caterers, of course.

14. Bring the Restaurant to You With Food Trucks

Sweet and Colorful Outdoor Birthday Celebration With Food Truck | PartySlate

photo courtesy of SPACE EVENTS

Englewood, NJ

At-home birthday parties are more popular than ever. As such, caterers are finding new ways to bring the party to you. This birthday party, planned by SPACE EVENTS, turns dining into an interactive experience with a sleek food truck.

photos courtesy of, planner, designer, & caterer : SPACE EVENTS | venue: private residence

 

15. Pass the Popcorn

photo courtesy of Blue Plate Catering

Chicago, IL

Turn the backyard into a campsite with delicious treats around the campfire. These popcorn bags from Blue Plate Catering make us want to linger under the stars. Don’t forget to use the bag as an opportunity for personal branding. 

photos courtesy of, venue, & caterer: Blue Plate Catering | décor: The Flower Firm | linen: BBJ Linen | rentals: Hall’s Rental Service, Inc

16. S’mores Galore

Devil’s Backbone Event at Hudson Mercantile in New York With S'More Station | PartySlate

photographer: Jessica Derstine Photography

New York, NY

A campsite — or backyard bash — isn’t complete without a s’mores station. Discover how this s’mores station by Abigail Kirsch Catering complements the camping theme at this outdoor corporate event.

photographer: Jessica Derstine Photography | venue: Hudson Mercantile | caterer: Abigail Kirsch Catering

Scottish-Style Wedding in Washington DC With S'mores and Campfire | PartySlate

photographer: Judy Pak Photography

Washington, D.C. 

Even weddings can benefit from a campfire and s’mores station. Occasions Caterers made this tented wedding celebration a memorable affair with delicious cuisine that culminated with a shared dessert around a toasty fire.

photographer: Judy Pak Photography | planner: Anne Book | florals: Amaryllis | caterer: Occasions Caterers

17. Grazing Boxes are All the Craze

Diwali Catering Boxes by Sukahdia Caterers | PartySlate

photo courtesy of Sukhadia Caterers’ Instagram

South Plainfield, NJ

While these Diwali Treasure Boxes by Sukhadia Caterers are gorgeous keepsakes that are meant to last a lifetime, they inspire us to make snacks that are easy to bring with us wherever we go — including the backyard. We expect to see grazing boxes hit the party scene in 2021.

photo courtesy of & caterer: Sukhadia Caterers

Mason's Social Distanced Fish Camp Birthday Party in New York | PartySlate

photographer: Andreas & Nico

New York, NY

Ceci of Ceci New York is a renowned trendsetter in the events industry. So it’s no surprise that her son’s social-distanced outdoor birthday party was filled with one creative idea after another. We especially love these tackle boxes filled with delicious snacks awaiting guests at their own personal campsites. Click to see more exciting trends from this innovative celebration. 

photographer: Andreas & Nico | design, event branding & watercolor art: Ceci New York | décor: Aramat Events | venue: private residence | lighting & mc: Jacobco Creative | catering & cake: Personal Touch Catering Experience | linen & masks: Cake Power NYC | furniture: RentQuest | picnic tables: Smith Party Rentals | photo booth: Shake and Share Media | balloon art: Balloon Design Studio | outdoor movie screen: Hollywood POP Gallery | virtual video: VidHug | camp bags: Love Reusable Bags | signage cut-outs: Bombshell Graphics | wristbands: Boundary Bracelets | blankets: LB Squared | popcorn: Kettlecorn Capital District | fish donuts: Glaze Artisan


RELATED: How Sustainably-Sourced Catering Will Help Save the World — and Your Event Menu


Freedom to Move With Handheld Fare 

As much as we love sit-down dinners, we are excited to see how the classic cocktail hour is influencing meals across the country. Outdoor celebrations and social-distanced gatherings mean caterers are thinking outside the box (or in this case, the dinner table). 

Handheld fare allows guests to mingle freely while enjoying delicious cuisine. Talk about a move in the right direction.

18. Beyond the Ice Cream Cone — Savory Delights

Houston Texans Holiday Party at The Astorian in Houston, TX With Salad in Paper Cones | PartySlate

photographer: Catchlight Group

Houston, TX

Who says cones are just for ice cream? Renowned trendsetter Wolfgang Puck Catering – Houston takes salad to new dimensions with these stylish paper cones. We have to admit, they look good enough to eat.

photographer: Catchlight Group | venue: The Astorian | caterer: Wolfgang Puck Catering – Houston | rentals: Swift Events

Savory Pop Corn in Paper Cone by Work of Art Catering | PartySlate

photo courtesy of Work of Art Catering

San Francisco, CA

How do we like our popcorn with garlic-anchovy butter? On the go, of course. Work of Art Catering creates the perfect handheld treat for a celebration on the move.

photo courtesy of & caterer: Work of Art Catering

Close Up of Mac & Cheese Cones at Black and Gold Great Gatsby 16th Birthday in Miami, FL | PartySlate

photographer: Imagery by Jules Photography

Miami, FL

This Great Gatsby-themed birthday party, planned and designed by KeAira Chantell Events, brings Art Deco back to the 21st century. It also wows with delicious cuisine, including these mac & cheese cones. Finally, this beloved side dish gets dessert status.

photographer: Imagery by Jules Photography | planner & design: KeAira Chantell Events | floral design: The Simon Design | venue: Loft on Bayshore | desserts: Deja vu Sweets | cake: Sweet Treats by Nathalie | caterer: Sensory Delights Catering | branding & stationery: Papered Wonders | acrylic dessert sticks & acrylic drink stirrers: Ten23 Designs | lighting & dancefloor: MPE Event Group | draping: Just by Design | cinematography: Bricks Group Media 

19. Delicious (& Drinkable) Desserts

Dessert in a Mason Jar at a Lush Luncheon Bar Mitzvah at Redeemer West Side in New York, NY | PartySlate

photographer: Denis Leon

New York, NY

This dessert by Michael Scott Events might be easy to consume on the go, but it begs to be savored. We especially love how it evokes a cocktail with its chocolate “salted” rim and elaborate garnishes.

photographer: Denis Leon | planner: Hydrangeas & Co. | florals: Konstantinos Floral Design & Décor | venue: Redeemer West Side | caterer: Michael Scott Events | entertainment & games: Total Entertainment | rentals: Something Different Party Rental | furniture: Luxe Event Rentals

Fruity Desserts in Martini Glasses at a Gatsby Themed Bridal Shower | PartySlate

photographer: Amy Wu

Washington, D.C.

We’ll take our martini “shaken, not stirred.” Or in this case, we’ll take this gorgeous fruity dessert (complete with a chocolate-covered pretzel stir stick) by Windows Catering Company just as it is.

photographer: Amy Wu | venue: private residence | caterer: Windows Catering Company

20. A Popsicle Without the Melt

Cake Pops at a Beautiful Swan-Theme First Birthday Celebration at 1718 Studio in Birmingham, Alabama | PartySlate

photographer: Mo Davis Photography

Birmingham, AL

True, cake pops have been around for awhile. However, 2021 is the year where they’re going to be elevated to works of fine art. These gorgeous cake pops are one of many stunning elements at this swan-themed birthday party planned by Valia Rose Events. Click to see more details.

photographer: Mo Davis Photography | planner & design: Valia Rose Events | venue: 1718 Studio | rentals: Georgia Party Rentals, Event Rentals Unlimited, & Fun Source


RELATED: 12 Lunch & Brunch Party Ideas for a Stress-Free Daytime Event


Shared Meals Across the Globe With Virtual Entertainment 

Even as in-person celebrations return, we expect to see a component of virtual and hybrid events continue into 2021 and beyond. After all, virtual events allow guests to overcome the obstacles of time and distance. 

When it comes to planning a virtual or hybrid event, it’s important to think beyond the Zoom call. Keep guests satiated and engaged with food kits and remote catering classes. Sharing a meal in two different time zones is about to become easier — not to mention, fun. 

21. Remote Catering Classes Bring Us Closer Together

Virtual Cocktail Class from Labaratory by Scarlette | PartySlate

photo courtesy of Labaratory by Scarlette

Chicago, IL

Virtual cocktail making classes, like this one by Labaratory by Scarlette, create instant engagement for any virtual event — be it a corporate holiday party, wedding shower, or milestone birthday party. Laboratory by Scarlette also allows you to send cocktail kits to each guest in advance. Sitting in front of the computer has never looked so fun.

photo courtesy of & caterer: Labaratory by Scarlette

22. Bring Guests “Together” With Virtual Meal Kits

Virtual Bento Box Meal Kit from Constellation Culinary Group | PartySlate

photo courtesy of Constellation Culinary Group’s Instagram

New York, NY

This bento box by Constellation Culinary Group has us wishing for that next virtual event. Sharing a meal (especially without the clean up) makes for a more meaningful celebration. We expect virtual meal kits to keep us well fed in 2021. 

photo courtesy of & caterer: Constellation Culinary Group


RELATED: Ideas for Hosting Impactful Virtual Meetings & Fun Corporate Events


Indulgent Sensory Experiences

We have a new appreciation for taste and smell these days — and it looks like caterers do too. Look for dramatic sensory experiences (along with your dinner) in 2021. 

After all, aromas and taste go hand-in-hand. Cue the edible perfumes, warming flames, and scented coasters. After a year of paired down gatherings and late-night dinners over Zoom calls, we’re ready to indulge all of our senses.

23. A Spritz of Delicious

Cocktail with Perfume Spritzer by Constellation Catering Group | PartySlate

photographer: Fred Marcus Studio

New York, NY

While modern perfumery began in the late 19th century, its origins date back to some of the first human civilizations. After so many thousands of years, perfume continues to evolve. This glamorous cocktail by Constellation Culinary Group (with a spritz of edible perfume) has us ready for 2021.

photographer: Fred Marcus Studio | on-site management: CheckIn Tech | design, décor, & floral: TINSEL Experiential | venue: New-York Historical Society | rentals: Taylor Creative Inc. & Party Rental Ltd. | invitations & print: Alpine Creative Group | caterer: Constellation Culinary Group | entertainment: On The Move | fundraising technology: Sophist, Text-to-Pledge®

24. Ice & Smoke

Summer Dinner Party at an Elegant Private Venue in the South With Bitter Cocoa Guinness Ice Ball | PartySlate

photographer: Theresa Elizabeth Photography

Carriere, MS

We always love cocktails with a twist. This summer dinner soirée, planned by Amanda Price Events, featured an updated Old Fashioned with smoked rum, orange bitters, and Madagascar vanilla bean. Quinn Richard, owner of Cocktail+Creative, tells us how “it’s complemented with a malty, bitter cocoa Guinness ice ball and sealed in a jar to be infused with 100% Nicaraguan ligero tobacco leaves.” The result: “A bold smokey flavor giving this cocktail an alluring sophistication.”  

photographer: Theresa Elizabeth Photography | planner: Amanda Price Events | floral: Hummingbird Floral | venue: Infinity Farms | beverage: Cocktail + Creative | videographer:
Elevation Films | caterer: Black Pearl Catering Co. | rentals: Firefly Ambiance, Lovegood Wedding & Event Rentals, & ELEMENT | entertainment: Blue Earth Artists | invitations & print: InvitoBella | hair & makeup: Faces of Virtue

25. A Puff of Scented Smoke

PartySlate D.C. Launch Party With Scented Whiskey Coasters | PartySlate

photographer: Theo Milo Photography

Washington, D.C. 

This PartySlate D.C. launch party brought together some of the best vendors in Washington, D.C. and beyond. It also foreshadowed one of our favorite trends we expect to see in 2021. Courtesy of The Liquor Laundry, guests were instructed to lift their custom coasters which released a puff of scented smoke from each whiskey-based cocktail.

photographer: Theo Milo Photography | planner: Magnolia Bluebird design & events | décor: Syzygy | florals: White Magnolia Designs | venue: The LINE Hotel DC | entertainment: Élan Artists | videographer: Monachetti | lighting: Frost DC | rentals: Emerson James Rental | linen: La Tavola Fine Linen | invitations: Saima Says Design | greenery & foliage: Twigz Studios | photo booth: Snap! Entertainment | calligraphy: Meant to Be Calligraphy | scent: Blue Flower | hair: Bridal Hair by Remona & Noufal HairColor Studio | makeup: Nour Kazoun, Makeup Artist | liquor: The Liquor Laundry | alcohol: Mezcal El Silencio, Kikori, GH Mumm, Absolut Elyx, & District Distilling


RELATED: Conveyor Belts, Slip ’N Slides, and Other Creative Catering Displays


Cheers to Creative Cocktails 

You may be sensing a theme here. 2021 is the year where creativity reaches new heights — both with catering and other celebratory trends. With that in mind, we look forward to seeing the art of bartending continue to flourish. 

Expect craft cocktails to benefit from unique garnishes and mimosa stations to experiment with new flavors. There will be so many reasons to toast as in-person gatherings come back. So why not do it in style? 

26. Go for Unique Garnishes

Reddish-Orange Cocktail by Wolfgang Puck Catering With Dried Hibiscus and Cucumber Garnish | PartySlate

photo courtesy of Wolfgang Puck Catering

Los Angeles, CA

Garnishes provide beautiful embellishments to any cocktail. However, it’s time to think beyond the olive. We love how this photo-worthy cocktail, crafted by Wolfgang Puck Catering, boasts a dried hibiscus garnish. 

photo courtesy of & caterer: Wolfgang Puck Catering

27. Mimosas With Options

Mimosa Station in Peach Color Palette With Matching Balloon Décor | PartySlate

photo courtesy of Colette’s Catering & Events’ Instagram

Laguna Beach, CA

Of course, Mimosas never go out of style. However, 2021 is the year for trying new flavors. Double points for matching your mimosa station with your décor (like this one by Colette’s Catering & Events).

photographer: Julia Lukash Photography | planning & design: Beijos Events | florals: Third + Park | rentals: Sweet Savage Rentals | tabletop, candles, & bags: The Little Market | caterer: Colette’s Catering & Events | invitations & details: POPPYjack Shop | macrame details: The Neutral Knot | balloons: The Pop Shop | champagne & wine: ONEHOPE Wine

28. Think Outside the Glass

Extravagant 40th Birthday Celebration at Gotham Hall in New York, NY With Red Sprite Cans and Upside Down Mini Vodka Bottles | PartySlate

photographer: Anée Atelier

New York, NY

At PartySlate, we are always on the lookout for creativity and innovation. This unique take on the mixed drink by Ram Caterers has us ready to be our own bartenders (especially if it comes with tray service).

photographer: Anée Atelier | design, décor, & floral: Birch Event Design | venue: Gotham Hall | caterer: Ram Caterers | graphics: ABC | videographer: Le Reve Films | rentals: Luxe Event Rentals | entertainment: On The Move

Boho Mitzvah at Photogroup in Washington DC With Colorful Canned Beverages and Fruity Garnishes | PartySlate

photographer: Geoff Chesman Visuals

Washington, D.C.

Occasions Caterers always know how to bring innovation to a party. Without a doubt, these colorful cans with elaborate fruit garnishes are Instagram-worthy. We also love how kids get to partake in the festivities with alcohol-free options.

photographer: Geoff Chesman Visuals | planning & design: Evoke Design & Creative | venue: Photogroup | productions & rentals: Syzygy | caterer: Occasions Caterers | print: Emily Baird Design


See a Catering Trend You’d Like at Your Next Celebration?

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Don’t forget, PartySlate is here to connect you with the best venues and event professionals in the country. You can also use PartySlate to browse real events and find inspiring ideas for your next celebration.

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