Trying to decide between plated vs. buffet? Check out these wedding food ideas and figure out what's right for your reception.
After choosing a venue, the next big decision brides need to make is what food to serve the guests. Moons ago, couples pretty much had two choice when it came to wedding food ideas: a sit-down dinner or a buffet. But nowadays, the decision is much bigger than figuring out a plated vs. buffet wedding — there's also family-style dinners, mini food stations and cocktail-style receptions. To help you figure out the best serving style for your celebration, we've outlined each of these food options, along with the pros and cons for each.
1. A Plated, Sit-Down Dinner
This traditional option is where guests are seated and served a formal dinner. Typically, guests are served three courses: appetizer, entrée, and dessert. Family Affair will usually give guests a choice of two entrées, which they select beforehand; another option is to serve each guest two proteins, such as meat and fish, on one plate (sometimes called a "duet" plate).
2. Buffet-Style Wedding
A buffet features long tables with all of the dinner offerings presented in one line. Family Affair can provide servers for your buffet line or you may choose a self serve option. We recommend that you allow Family Affair to serve your buffet line as this allows the servers to describe each dish (especially for allergy purposes) and to put appropriate portions on each guest's plate. If the wedding is large, it's not uncommon to have two separate buffet tables with the same food to keep things moving. The buffet will remain open for all of the guests to make one trip through, and for extra hungry guests to visit it again, but then it will be shut down rather quickly.
It's an excellent idea to have the salads (or soup) served at the table before, or immediately after, the guests are seated so that people have something to nibble on as they wait for their turn in the buffet line.
3. Serve-Yourself Food Stations
No less satisfying than a seated/plated meal, and open for much longer than a buffet, food stations have become very popular for wedding receptions. The concept breaks up your food displays — unlike a buffet which directs everybody through the food in the same order — with different tables offering different things, usually by category. Stations are a great way to incorporate a theme into your food (for example, "around the world" stations where different countries' foods are represented on each table).
More traditionally, you'll find entrées in one spot, sides in another, salads in another, etc. They're spread out a bit more to let guests roam around and pick and choose. Not everyone has to stop dancing and eat at the same time. Stations are usually kept open two to three times as long as a regular buffet.
4. Family-Style Wedding Dinner
Similar to a sit-down dinner, a family-style reception has guests assigned to specific dinner tables and waiters to bring the food to the table. Large portions of the dinner offerings are placed on each table on serving platters for guests to fill their own plates (it's just like sitting down for dinner at home with your family!).
5. Cocktail-Style ReceptionA more recent trend, a cocktail-style reception features hors d'oeuvres and other small bites offered all evening long in lieu of a sit-down meal. The hors d'oeuvres are usually one- or two-bite portions and can be a combination of hot and cold options. Family Affair will provide passed hors d'oeuvres for an additional cost or you may select stationary for guests to get themselves. This reception style is a good choice for couples wanting a more casual atmosphere and for their guests to really mingle and meet each other. Plan on serving 12 to 14 hors d'oeuvres per guest. Our servers will circulate for two hours.
Welcome to Family Affair’s official blog, where you'll find a chronicle of our events, cuisine, and artisan designs. Experience something beyond the mainstream with Family Affair’s Catering. What makes us stand a head above ordinary caterers? Simply: spectacular food, dazzling presentation, and consistent creativity. Our chefs use only the finest ingredients and the freshest produce available to create unique menus for each event. With a flair for the theatrical, you will find traditional favorites like hamburgers and grilled cheese metamorphosed into bite-sized treats served up in inventive new ways. Whether your event is Buffet style or a plated extravaganza, our Chef de Cuisine and her team are masters of every detail and sticklers for taste.