Pros & Cons of Different Meal Styles

Based on our experiences with couples recently, it seems that plated wedding dinners have gone by the wayside. Stations are all the craze! We are even working on a station-specific menu to accommodate this market. So let’s discuss the pros and cons of each type of wedding dinner service:

Elaborate Cocktail Hoursliders
What is your favorite part of a wedding? Most people say the cocktail hour with delicious hors d’oeuvres. So, why not elaborate on that and make your entire reception an expansion of the cocktail hour. If your wedding is during dinner time, definitely go heavier on the food choices to ensure your guests have enough to eat. Think passed pulled pork sliders, paired with a miniature craft beer, a make-your-own taco bar with all the fixin’s, and a bruschetta station with fresh tomato and parmesan cheese.

– Everyone loves cocktail foods!
– It will keep your guests up and mingling
– Variety!

– Lacks tradition
– Guests may struggle with holding a drink and getting food

Stations are all the craze these days, whether it is chef-attended or your guests serve themselves.

– Variety!
– Gets your guests up and mingling
– Great alternative to a standard buffet

– Non-traditional
– Staff costs can go up if the stations need a chef
– You won’t know what will be eaten most, so the caterer needs to prepare enough of everything, which may increase your cost

lambPlated Dinner
This is the most traditional form of a wedding dinner. The couple pre-selects 2-3 entrees with the caterer and sends the choices to their guests in the invitation. When the guests send back their RSVPs, they send their meal choice with it.

– Controlled portions – guests get one entree and that’s it
– Controlled costs for the client
– Presentation could be nicer than other styles

– Limits guests to what they can eat (pre-determined meal choice prior to wedding)
– Guests will be seated for a long time while the course are being served
– Requires more staff to serve everyone in a timely manner

MA-wedding-familyFamily Style
This is when each table gets served its own large platters of food to share. They help themselves to the food that they like, just like eating at home with your family!


– Fun and interactive for your guests
– Guests can enjoy as much of the food as they would like
– Timing is more efficient since all tables can be served and begin eating at once

– Rentals for service platters can become costly (instead of 1 or 2 platters to be placed on a buffet table, now EACH guest table needs platters and serving utensils)
– Takes up a lot of space on guest tables
– Food costs may increase due to the caterer having to make more food to ensure that they do not run out

What is your dinner style choice for your wedding? Tell us in the comments below!