When it comes to wedding receptions, there are a few ways to go about serving dinner. Whether you want to get creative with your meal- or want to go the more traditional route- is up to you. Emily Yao of Paramount Events is here to help you decide what type of dinner service you should have at your reception.
A seated dinner is your usual wedding service where all the guests are formally seated and served a pre-plated meal consisting of greens, a protein and sometimes a dessert. Something to consider: How many options do you want to serve? The most common thing we see are two proteins: a chicken and a beef, or a beef and a fish. A vegetarian is also usually included as an option. You’re definitely not limited to these options as some couples want to serve lamb, pork, or a shellfish. I even had a bride last year serve variations of Paella!
Dinner Stations or Buffets
Dinner stations allow for your guests to be seated formally or informally, and tend to the station at their leisure. This is nice when you want to give your guests many different options for food. Something to consider: Do you want fun themed stations, or do you like a classic style buffet where the elements of a plated entrée are deconstructed and put onto a station? A themed station could be a Mexican station consisting of tacos and empanadas or a Chicago style station with Chicago Hot Dogs and Italian Beef. A classic style buffet usually consists of two proteins (chicken and a beef, etc), a starch (potatoes, barley, rice, etc), vegetables, a salad, and bread. Remember: you can always ask for variations of stations. Also, keep in mind that this option is usually more expensive since caterer has to bring in 20-30% more food to ensure they don’t run out!
Lastly, a cocktail style reception is a casual style of service usually consisting of passed hors d’oeuvres and smaller bite stations. Most of the time, cocktail style receptions don’t have full seating for everyone and work more on a flow basis. Servers will pass appetizers all night while attending to stations that have mini pizzas, mini burgers, and mini fries. Almost anything can be made mini, so don’t be afraid to ask! Are passed hors d’oeuvres your favorite part of a wedding? If yes, then this might be the style of reception for you.
What’s the best choice?
It’s really up to you and your fiancé. If you want more of a party/celebration feel – a cocktail style reception might be best or if you like the traditional plated salad followed by speeches followed by a dinner and more speeches, then a seated dinner might be best for you. Keep in mind, this is your wedding – so plan it how you want. For any wedding, social or catering questions – please reach out to Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy Planning!