How Mashed Potato Bars Became An Outrageous Chapter In Wedding History

It's no secret that weddings have become more extravagant over the years, with WeddingWire reporting that wedding costs nearly doubled from 2007 to 2017. As inflation and demand rise, the price of getting hitched has increased. That's not to mention the cost of trendy add-ons that have become so common for modern-day weddings. Mashed potato bars are one such trend, allowing wedding guests to dig into a favorite side dish during the festivities.

Mashed potato bars are typically a part of happy hour, and they include a variety of toppings. Guests can add fixings like shredded cheese, cheese sauce, vegetables, and sour cream. Often, the mashed potatoes even come in a cocktail glass to ramp up the aesthetic and make the whole thing Instagram-worthy.

Of course, mashed potato bars existed before they popped up on TikTok and Instagram feeds. They go further back than one might expect, even if they had the same purpose — to give guests something grand to remember.

The history of mashed potato bars

Thanks to social media, mashed potato bars have gotten a lot of traction recently. However, John D'Arcangelo, managing director of Abigail Kirsch catering company, tells Eater that their origins go as far back as the '90s.

"The mashed potato martini bar was a staple food experience for a long time because it brings together elements of surprise, glamour, and guest interaction," D'Arcangelo explains.

He also suggests that such specials had more of an impact when they first emerged, mainly because they weren't all over Instagram and TikTok. With less visibility, they packed a greater punch.

"Since this was during the time before we all were documenting everything on our phones and posting on social media," he explains, "these types of trends made a big enough splash ... We would hear clients say [food offerings] like these were talked about for weeks."

That's the impression couples seem to be going for, and they've gone beyond mashed potato bars to leave their mark. Other food stations have also risen in popularity, giving couples many options for glamming up their cocktail hours and receptions.

The other wedding stations gaining popularity

Mashed potato bars are just one example of popular wedding add-ons, but they aren't the only ones to catch on in the past few years. With cocktail hours and receptions becoming more ostentatious, couples are splurging on a variety of unique food stations.

For example, doughnut walls are another increasingly popular option, sometimes replacing wedding cakes and occasionally accompanying the main dessert. Macaroni and cheese bars, sushi stations, and pizza hubs aren't uncommon during cocktail hours. And, of course, chocolate fountains and sundae stations make for an unforgettable (and filling) dessert experience.

Naturally, these additions come with a price tag, but many couples are willing to splurge when it comes to feeding their guests. Whether these stations are as memorable as they once were depends on who you ask. However, it's hard to imagine wedding attendees not enjoying a mashed potato bar or doughnut wall.