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How to Serve Your Guests Safely at Your Reception

Couples are embracing the food focus. “We changed our venue from the Harold Pratt House to the Foundry, which only had inside seating, so the focus could be on the food and an outdoor setting,” said Dr. Anastasia Grivoyannis, 35, of Baltimore. She married Brian Pujanauski, 37, a data scientist with Mastercard, on Sept. 20. “We splurged on the catering and multicourse meal because we went from 250 people to 43,” she said, “and because a Greek wedding is about no one leaving hungry.”

And no one apparently did. The affair, catered by Thomas Preti Events to Savor, featured 17-layer crepes and caviar that were paired with Ketel One vodka shots, hamburger sliders served with shots of pale ale, and fish tacos with shots of tequila. Each was presented during cocktail hour before to the five-course meal.

“This was a big hit,” said Dr. Grivoyannis, a pediatric anesthesiologist at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. “It was empowering to make people feel safe and comfortable.”

She said guests felt more in control. “They didn’t have to get in a line or stand next to someone who wasn’t part of their group,” she added. “They were able to avoid congregating at the bar and didn’t have to wait, which was ingenious.”

And yes, the cake is still being cut, but many event planners say they aren’t serving it. Instead, self-contained boxed cakes, small pies, decorative cookies are being handed out. Or the desserts are finding you.

“One of my recent weddings had four dessert carts,” Mr. Kahn said, with mini treats presented on separate shelves, like strawberry panna cotta, tiramisù, spice cake and chocolate tarts. “We wanted the flexibility to reach guests wherever they were while creating the sensation of a buffet,” he said. “The visual of the cart rolling was theatrical and the desserts were beautiful.”

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