It is important when planning your wedding reception to choose not only the kind of food but the service style as well. Here is a breakdown of four of the more common service styles that might help you make your decision.

First is buffet which has the benefits of having variety, allowing guests to get up and mingle, is more economical, can have a beautiful presentation and the food will be hot. However it has some disadvantages such as standing in line, and it takes longer, some more traditional people may disagree with it, and the presentation doesn’t last long.

Style # 2 is plated which has benefits such as more personalized service, less wasted food, being better for formal weddings, and timing can be managed better. Cons of this approach include less variety, longer to serve bigger groups, you must have RSVPs for the caterer, and it is the most expensive.

A third option is Family Style which informality falls between buffet and plated, is good for casual events, lets guests control their portions, and encourages interaction. However this can be uncomfortable if you don’t know your table mates, can be messy, has less variety than a buffet, and costs around the same as a plated style while requiring more staff.

The fourth option is the Food Stations style which can be adventurous as you can have more styles of food, it is casual, takes off the pressure, and can take the place of having a big meal. On the flip side if you choose bite-sized presentations the prep work can increase your budget, you will need wait staff for replenishment and guests might be looking for larger portions.

All of the options are suggestions to help you with planning, just remember the important thing is to remember your vision for your special day. Discuss what you would like to have with your caterer. Then you can come together to make your wedding reception just what you want it to be.

Key Takeaways:

  • There are many options for your wedding meal, not just a formal dinner.
  • The buffet and food station options are less formal and more relaxed and fun.
  • The plates and family-style options are more formal and are better for people food allergies or mobility issues.

“Whether you choose to serve your meal plated, family style, as a buffet, or in food stations, the really important part is to execute the vision of your special day.”

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