Picking The Right Reception Dining Service Style For Your Day!

Hello lovelies!

Photo Credit: Jillian Rose Photography

The New Year is in full swing and many of our clients are in the midst of nailing down the details of your wedding meal. We’re kind of foodies over here at Marisa Nicole Events and LOVE a good meal, so we’re here to help make sure that yours is super yummy and a wonderful experience for you and your guests. As you start finalizing your overall wedding vibe, guest experience, counts and financial figures, one of the items you will need to determine is the service style for your wedding feast. There are a few different options you can choose from, each having their own elements to consider depending on how formal you want your reception to be and your budget. Here are some pros and cons to all dining styles to make sure that your reception is full of delicious food and fun!

Photo Credit: Hello Studios

Buffet

If you are on a tight budget, buffet is typically the way to go for your wedding meal service style as it tends to be the most cost effective. One thing we really like about this service style is that your guests have the option to put whatever they desire on their plate. Guests with allergies or food intolerances can avoid food they do not want and overload on what they love. Another element to consider is that your guests will need to get up to get their meal and try as we may to control the flow so the line isn’t super long, there is almost no way to completely avoid people standing in line waiting. Therefore, if you are having a relaxed reception and want people moving around, a buffet might be just the ticket. However, if you’re looking to create a formal affair where your guests are spoiled and their every need is attended to, then a buffet would not serve the overall vibe of your wedding day.

Photo Credit: Cami Takes Photos

Stations

This is a spin on a buffet, but where different food items are available at various locations throughout the reception space. Depending on where you are getting married, this is often a more expensive option than a traditional buffet, as you need more food and more chefs to execute. As with a buffet, we love that guests get to choose what is on their plate. Also, it gets people up and moving, creating a casual dining environment. However, since the stations are spaced out throughout the reception, you don’t have to deal with the big buffet line that is often a wedding meal downer. Another thing we really love about stations is that it provides a bit of a wow-element as the guests interact with the chefs as they prepare their food live. I mean how fun it is to choose exactly what you want on your pasta, or to choose your own cut of meat from a carving station!

Photo Credit: Jillian Rose Photography

Plated

Having a plated meal is typically the most formal option, as guests are served their meals restaurant-style right at their seats. Additionally, since the catering team is present within the dining area throughout the meal, your guests will receive more table service to help attend to their food and beverage needs throughout the evening. Plates normally include a protein, starch and vegetable. One thing to consider is that it will require for you to request guests to indicate their meal selection ahead of time on their RSVP card, which you will then have to indicate on each guests’ name card for the catering team. Unfortunately, sometimes guests forget what they ordered and this can create confusion or shortages (even with well indicated and well displayed place cards). Another thing to consider is that since guests do not have access to the food that goes on their plate directly, they will be stuck with whatever is in the meal he or she ordered and won’t be able to go back for seconds. However, this is the go-to for most weddings, and is often considered the most classy way to go.

Photo Credit: Iris & Light Caterer: Tres LA Catering

Family-Style

This service is a formal option as well, and tends to be the most expensive service style… and of course, we love it the most (we are gals with fancy taste, what can I say…). Part of the reason why family-style has become so popular over the past five years is because it combines all the pros of the other service styles. Like buffet and stations, it allows guests to choose what is on their plate, but without having the guests get up to load up their plates. Servers will still bring all the food to each table, but because guests need to pass platters back and forth, it encourages a friendly environment between guests.

Photo Credit: Braedon Flynn Photography

Whew, now that we have walked you through each of the major wedding meal styles, we hope you feel equipped to determine what would be best for your celebration. Each service style has their own sets of pros and cons, and financials are just one of those components. Remember that each caterer will price their meals and service styles differently, so the data in this overview is just a general idea how things typically breaks down. And in the end, whatever style you choose, as long as you are happy with your choices and your caterer serves quality cuisine, your guests will be content and ready to get up and shake it on the dance floor!

Photo Credit: Iris & Light

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