Seated Dinners, Buffets, and Food Stations: Choosing The Right Reception Meal for Your Wedding
Planning your dream wedding can often feel like one big decision after the next. Food can account for up to half of your total big-day budget, and there are many big decisions involved just in planning your reception’s dinner. After you choose your caterer, the first big decision is how you would like the food presented throughout your special night. In this article, we will look at three of the most popular options for brides when they are choosing the right reception meal for your wedding with Townsend Catering.
First on the list is the seated dinner. Plated, sit-down dinners are a more traditional and elegant way to have the first meal of your new marriage. Your family and friends will be individually served a plated meal of two, three, or sometimes four courses. These courses typically consist of a salad or appetizer, and one or two entrées. Sometimes a dessert or wedding cake course is added to the end. However, in some cases too many courses can have your guests antsy and ready to socialize with their new friends and family.
Seated dinners typically include tableside wine service and bread service, which can add just a touch more elegance than the other options in this article. However, seated dinners allow fewer options for your guests. It is recommended that you work with your caterer and planner to provide a meat, seafood, and vegetarian option for each guest, and to collect their decisions before your final count is set.
For our next option, we have buffet-style dinners. Buffets are a nice compromise between the elegance of seated dinners, and the excitement of food stations. The vibe tends to be more laid back, while still maintaining the intimate nature of a seated dinner. Guests typically stroll through one or two buffets together. These buffets will have several entrées, sides, and breads along the way for your guests to choose from. This offers you a chance to avoid the headache of having guests RSVP with their dietary constraints, and counting who wants beef, chicken, fish, etc.
Because your guests will move through the lines together and there are typically less options than food stations, it is often possible to have wine service as your guests will be seated fairly promptly. We recommend having gluten-free and vegetarian options along the way, especially if you have a rather large guest list.
To wrap up, we have the most exciting option on our list: food stations. Often called “action” or “strolling” stations, food stations are a rapidly evolving trend in the wedding world. Catering chefs around the world are constantly coming up with new and exciting ways to provide any and every cuisine through food stations. Stir-fry wok stations, raw bars, build-your-own mac n’ cheese – the list goes on. Brides and caterers can really exercise their creative freedom to provide something memorable and unique to their guests. The possibilities are truly endless.
This style of reception dinner usually offers 3-6 different “themed” food stations for your friends and family, but sometimes more depending on your budget. Your guests will enjoy exploring the different stations throughout your dining area, and there is bound to be something for every palate. Many of these stations will have an interactive element to them, like a taco bar where guests can choose their own ingredients, or a raw bar, where guests can build oyster shooters out of Tabasco, Crystal’s, Bloody Mary mix, vodka, or lager. With so many options and so much excitement, we recommend this option for our brides who prefer a very laid back and fun environment. From cocktail hour to the wee hours of the night, your guests will be moving around and socializing until your grand exit!
Whether you want something easygoing, elegant and formal, or buzzing with excitement, your caterer will be able to provide it. Every option provides something unique and fun for your guests. We urge brides to talk with their families, caterers and planners before making the first big decision of their reception dinner. Inform them of what sort of vibe you’d like to have on your special day, how many guests you plan to have, and what varieties of food you’d like to see presented. And never be afraid to ask as many questions as you need while choosing the right reception meal for your wedding.
This article was written and shared by guest blogger Chase Satterfield with Townsend Catering.