Feeding the Masses - Food Service Options

October 6, 2015

When planning a wedding, you have A LOT of decisions to make! From color schemes to first dance songs, every wedding detail is carefully calculated by you (or the fabulous girls at NoLo)! One of the most talked about debates in the wedding industry is what style of dining you should treat your guests to. Up until a few years ago seated or buffet style used to be the traditional options to consider. However, all of the new trends and ideas in the world of weddings mean there are more food options available to couples than ever before! I’ll break down a few of NoLo’s favorites below, including the tried and true seated and buffet styles.



First, the buffet. I know... some of you just rolled your eyes in disgust. Buffets have gotten such a bad rap through the years, but let’s consider the buffet with an open mind. The buffet is a way to offer your guests several options for dinner and is often more cost effective. Buffets are also less work, since you don’t need to keep track of and denote the meal choices for your guests on their place cards. However, buffets are seen as less formal. Buffets take up more room so some venues, depending on your guest count, won’t be able to accommodate a buffet as easily. If you are considering a buffet, make sure to ask your caterer and venue if it will fit into your floor plan. Also, make sure to ask if your caterer will provide servers behind the buffet line to serve your guests or if it is a self serve buffet line. The servers will help expedite the serving process, since buffets tend to take up a larger chunk on your timeline.



The seated dinner is the exact opposite of the buffet style. Your guests are served by the catering staff at their table. This is seen as a more formal option in food service. This option is often more expensive and a tad more work. If you are offering a split entree for your guests, (meaning you are giving guests a choice between one meal or another) you will need... I repeat NEED... to provide place cards for each guest. This way, you can denote each guest's meal choice on their card.  With a seated meal all of your guests will be eating at generally the same time, so, the seated meal tends to move quicker within the overall timeline.








If you are looking for something different at your wedding, look no further than food stations or family style! I am a big fan of both of these when couples are looking to mix it up and the venue allows for the set up! Stations provide your guests with several options and gets them up mixing and mingling with each other. It can be so much fun to theme your stations on culture, date-night locations or places you have lived! Family style encourages your guests to interact with each other while still keeping things a little more formal by serving your guests at their tables. Some things to remember when considering family style is keeping your decor on the tables smaller and more minimal, since you will need room for the platters. I would also recommend considering seating the tables for less people and/or using bigger tables.




An increasingly larger trend is the use of food trucks! Adding a MAJOR entertainment value to your reception, utilizing local food trucks is a great way to give your guests a memorable experience and showcase a lot of your taste and personality. Food trucks could be used for a specific menu item during cocktail hour or as a treat to your guests at the end of the night. A favorite way NoLo brides have used food trucks is by providing a dessert or a late night treat as guests are leaving the reception!



When it comes to planning a wedding, the food selections should definitely be an important factor. The menu and the style of service can help accentuate your theme and overall feel of your event. If you are looking to create a custom menu, or incorporate different ideas with catering, all you have to do is ask! Most of the time caterers will jump at the opportunity to do something different, new and exciting!

Which style of food service did you have at your wedding? What made you decide on that specific style?

Photo Credits: 
1, 2, 11 - Monika Broz Photography            3, 8, 9, 10 - Zeffert & Gold Catering
4, 6 - ICA Images                                     5 - Maria Linz Photography
7 - Kirsten Smith Photography                   12 - Misa Me Photography

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