How Should I Serve Dinner at My Wedding?
We get this question a lot. What will look the nicest? What will be the most efficient way to get guests fed quickly? What is the most cost effective? What will be the most conducive to good conversation? There are a lot of different options for how you serve your guests and there is no right or wrong. We recommend that you go with your gut as far as personal preference and also consider the vibe you are hoping to achieve as each option sets a slightly different tone for your event.
What Exactly Does “Family Style” Mean?
Think about sitting around the dinner table with your own family. You chat, you talk about your day, you share stories as you pass dishes of food around the table. You help yourself to whatever you’d like and pass to the next person down. That is exactly what family style dining entails. Your guests will be brought full platters of proteins and sides which they can then pass down the table after serving themselves. If you want your reception to have a homey, comfortable vibe full of good conversation and a feeling of kinship, a family style dinner can be a great choice. You also won’t have to worry about the lines you might get at a buffet. Your guests will be able to stay comfy in their seats while the food is brought to them.
Is Family Style Dining More Expensive?
You will need more service staff for family style than you will need for buffet service to make sure there is enough staff to get those platters to the tables quickly. However, you won’t need quite as much staff as you would if you were doing a plated meal, so this falls somewhere in the middle price-wise. You’ll also want to check with your caterer to see if they are comfortable serving family style and if they have an inventory of platters/utensils that can be used. Otherwise, you may have to add the platters and service-ware for each table to your rental order, which can add up. You should consider the size of your centerpiece when serving this type of meal as the platters will take up a lot of real estate on your table.
Although family style dinner might not be the absolute most cost effective option, it’s not the most expensive either. It’s a great mid range option that can give your reception a fun, homey feel and encourage guests that might not know one another to make friends. Talk to your caterer about their experience and comfort level with family dining and what they recommend for your style and budget.
As always, happy planning!