Macy Crowe
The Bulletin

Bend’s wedding scene is a bustling one. The well-regarded food scene, a variety of DJs and bands, and the natural backdrop of the Cascade Mountains, make it an enticing wedding venue.

While some couples stick to the classic wedding ceremony and reception, others are foregoing tradition for something particular to their relationship.

The beloved tradition — fancy gowns and tuxedos, tiered cake, first dance, catered dinner — is fun and memorable and continued by more than 50 percent of couples tying the knot. But couples are increasingly tending toward putting their own twist on nuptials or applying one or more of the latest wedding trends. At times, that’s in small ways, like switching out florals for succulents and greenery, or in bigger ones, like having a local food truck make all the food for guests.

We spoke with several experts on the Central Oregon wedding scene to hear some of the trends wedding guests might look forward to this summer.

Carts or catering

Where other parts of the wedding can be sacrificed, most couples agree that some form of food is a must. Marriage is a celebration of two families coming together, and it seems appropriate that the families share a meal together to celebrate the union.

Some food truck owners are catering weddings, such as Cody’s Catering and Cookshack and A Broken Angel.

Cody Serbus, owner and chef of Cody’s, primarily caters outdoor weddings where he can set up a Santa Maria open-flame barbecue, cook on-site and then serve the food in a plated style or a buffet line or a hybrid of the two. “We didn’t have to think too hard about who our caterer was going to be, because we immediately thought of Cody and his barbecue,” said Becca Kaprocki. Kaprocki discovered Serbus’ food after going to his food truck for lunch. She hired him to cater her wedding in June.

“The truck is definitely an option, but it has to fit the wedding,” Serbus said.

What Serbus charges for catering varies largely depending on the menu, but the average cost for Cody’s Catering and Cookshack for wedding catering is between $15 and $18 per person.

A Broken Angel, a food cart and catering business that specializes in vegan dishes, has also been hot on the wedding scene. A Broken Angel’s catering business can serve an entirely gourmet vegan meal for weddings of up to 150 people. Couples are advised to reserve catering dates with A Broken Angel far in advance, especially for summer weddings, to ensure the company isn’t already booked.

While many of A Broken Angel’s customers eat only plant-based foods, this summer the food cart and caterer will also be creating meals for couples who align more with the likes of meat eaters but prefer cuisine that A Broken Angel has to offer. “It’s just kind of a testament to how if it’s good food, it’s good food,” said Barbara Troyer, owner of A Broken Angel. “You don’t have to put a label on it.”

A food truck might seem like a fun idea for a wedding, but it has to be in the right environment — one that is relaxed and in which couples don’t mind if their guests are eating throughout the celebration.

Some Central Oregon couples have hired food trucks, such as El Sancho Tacos, to serve their guests fresh-made food served straight from the cart. Some brides and grooms are even creating their own little food truck pods with multiple trucks offering food.

Mules on wheels

Food: Check! Next up, drinks. This category also has a mobile option.

The Swig Rig is a bar-in-a-van business that has been seen at Central Oregon weddings.

“People are leaning towards a festival-style wedding, where they have multiple food carts and us there so people can pick and choose what they want to eat and drink,” said Kate Molletta, owner and operator of The Swig Rig.

The Swig Rig parks a restored 1962 canned ham travel trailer outside the wedding and serves cocktails, beers and wines. This year, the mobile bar is driving to 27 weddings throughout Central Oregon.

A food truck pod coupled with a mobile bar creates a more laid-back and easygoing atmosphere at weddings, Molletta explained.

People have the chance to walk around and mingle more because they’re not set in a specific seat. “It eliminates a very structured wedding timeline and allows everything to happen at once, which I think is really fun,” she said. “It allows the guests to eat when they want, drink when they want and dance when they want.”

Prices vary based on what drinks couples want to serve, how many people they are serving and whether the couple wants to hire a bartender for the event; however, a $450 minimum applies to all events and a $1,000 minimum applies to Saturday events from June to August.

Themed stations

Shelly Mirabile, the wedding sales manager at Tetherow, has noted themed food stations as a new trend in weddings held at the resort.

“We do all of our own in-house catering,” said Mirabile.“They can choose a themed station, a buffet or plated.”

Recent themed stations have included sushi, flatbread and barbecued chicken. Couples with a larger budget have opted for an oyster bar or a ceviche station.

“Weddings are standard; people know what to expect, so to make their wedding seem different or unique they’re doing these kinds of things,” Mirabile said.

She also noted that couples have served late-night snacks to their guests toward the end of the wedding, such as mac ’n’ cheese cups, mashed potato cups or sweet and savory popcorn. “Something for people to munch on toward the evening,” she said.

Personal preference

Some couples have been requesting customized menus from their caterers so they can personalize their dinner.

The menus are so customized for A Broken Angel’s clients that there isn’t even a set menu to start with. Chef Richard Hull selects the items for wedding ceremonies based on what the couple has in mind, the type of dinner they would like (buffet, plated or a hybrid), and what’s in season. “We really specialize in a unique, tailored experience,” Troyer said. Being a vegan dining option, the meal would usually be different from the start for many of their guests.

One bride and groom spent their first date at the Wiener’s Circle, a well-known hot dog stand in Chicago, and they asked Serbus to recreate the food options that they had there with hot dogs, sausages and pulled pork. “For me, that’s really fun because I get to help create what they wanted and do some research on the Wiener’s Circle and see the different condiments they use there,” Serbus said.

The Swig Rig has customizable drink menu options. “I think especially in Bend with the craft beer scene, people want to wow their out-of-town guests,” Molletta said. Their clients can also pick two to three specialty cocktail options to be served. They can choose some of their suggestions from the menu or create their own option. One of their most popular cocktails is a garden mule, made using muddled cucumber, blueberry and mint with vodka, ginger beer and a fresh-squeezed lime. “All of our weddings are completely customizable, so whatever anyone wants we can make that happen,” Molletta said.

No cake?

“People are getting away from the traditional and really focusing on themselves,” said Nickol Hayden-Cady, owner of Foxtail Bakeshop, a pastry shop located on Bend’s west side.

Hayden-Cady has 110 weddings on the books for this summer, 75 of which will have dessert tables — a combination of several bite-sized desserts and, most likely, a small cutting cake that serves the wedding party.

The miniature desserts might include cheesecakes, bouchons and panna cottas. Dessert tables vary in price, but the average cost of a table for 120 people is $1,200.

Hayden-Cady creates specialty pie tables with a variety of deep-dish pies. The pastry chef incorporates signature flavors like lavender, marionberry, basil, tarragon, rosemary, passion fruit or dulce de leche to give the cakes a unique taste. She recommends couples reserve their wedding cakes or desserts at least nine months in advance.

“People want to offer their guests just another option instead of cake because everyone offers cake at weddings, and they want to be unique and different,” she said.

Hayden-Cady has had requests to serve a couple’s favorite desserts.

“I just had a wedding that did all doughnuts, and then I did another one and they just had frangipane tarts, and I had one that did Pop-Tarts, so every couple got giant Pop-Tarts,” she said.

Hayden-Cady explains that from her experience, the couples that get married in Central Oregon are looking for something separate from the traditional or more elegant experience.

She added, “I feel like the couples that get married here are a little more fun and a little more laid-back.”

— Reporter: 541-383-0351, mcrowe@bendbulletin.com

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