Think about choosing your serving style as you would saying yes to your wedding dress. Are you formal and detailed, more casual and free flowing, or somewhere in the middle? Similar in the way that your dress emulates your personality, so should your reception dinner serving style. With these things in mind, how do you want your meal to portray you and your partner’s unique style? There are more options today than ever before, which can make your decision a little bit more confusing or daunting. However, at the same time, these options allow your caterer to cater to your particular desires and budget. If you are unsure of what you want, then below are three the most popular serving options, including a few of their pros and cons for your consideration.
Your most formal and traditional style is a sit-down, three-course meal. Typically, each of your guests will be individually served a preselected meal of your choosing. This likely consists of a salad, entree with two side dishes, and a dessert. A plated dinner is the most organized and timely style, which allows you more control to arrange other wedding activities, such as toasts and first dances, between each course. This popular style can be more food cost effective, because your guest count and portions are planned ahead of time. However, seated meals can prove to be quite expensive as they are service charge prohibitive, requiring more staff to attend to your needs. If you are a more traditionalist and wish to serve a plated dinner be sure you have budgeted appropriately for this formal dining experience.
Your more casual buffet option allows guests to mingle in line, while walking along stations to plate their own meal. Usually, your guests will have several options to choose from, like one or two main dishes, a few complementing side dishes, and a dinner roll. This option can provide a variety of food choices for your guests, as well as keep your service charge low. But, buffets do have their downfall, as your guests could become irritated by having to wait their turn and feeling a bit like herded cattle. You may also have less control of timing your other activities, because not everyone is eating at the same time. However, as long as you plan according with your “day-of-planner” then you should be able to have a smooth sailing, social dinner.
If you want the traditionalism of a seated meal, but also wish for a more affordable and social experience like a buffet, then possibly family style is your way to go. A family-style dinner is where your guests are served clean plates for each course, and then provided large portions of each course on the table to pass around. This provides your guests with the formality of staying seated, yet the social interaction of sharing a meal with the other guests at their table. Guests eat reasonably at the same time, but make sure you have large enough tables to accommodate all the extra serving dishes required for this style.
As you can see your serving style can be as unique as you, so consider what you want your wedding day experience to be like for you and your closest family and friends. This will help you chose your perfect serving style and explain your reception vision with your preferred caterer.
Congratulations and Cheers!
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