How Should I Serve the Food at My Wedding Reception?
As we’ve mentioned before, there are many different ways you can opt to serve your guests dinner at your wedding reception. Food stations can provide a fun and interactive way to encourage your guests to mix and mingle throughout the evening.
With food stations, you can position tables on opposite points of the room with different options available at each station. These might consist of heavy hors d’oeuvres, a taco bar, oyster station or more. Stations give you and your caterer the chance to really get creative with the meal and offer interesting foods to your guests rather than the chicken and green beans they might be expecting. You can also opt for chef attended or “action” stations like a carved prime rib or a pasta station to give dinner an interactive element.
Stations help keep a nice flow going throughout the evening. Guests can move about the space, serving themselves which helps to cut down on that huge buffet line for a single buffet. Cocktail style receptions work particularly well for this type of dinner. If you don’t have a seat for every guest at the reception and want to instead provide cocktail tables and perching spots for them to mingle, then quick trips to a food station are ideal rather than trying to find something to do with a loaded down buffet plate.
We love stations (obviously), but also encourage you to consider all factors before making a decision. A few things to know before jumping right in:
Food Stations Are More Labor Intensive
Those creative food choices we mentioned before can also be some of the more costly options when serving en mass. The adorable little chicken salad cups, chicken and waffle bites or fried green tomato sandwiches on a stick take a lot more time to assemble piece by piece and therefore require additional staff to keep up with demand and serve your guests efficiently. More labor = more money so stations can sometimes be a bit more expensive than your traditional buffet dinner.
Stations Need More Rentals
Stations can also necessitate more rentals than your traditional buffet style meal. The downside to a cocktail vibe that keeps guests moving is that they’ll hit up a station, fill a plate and then ditch it when finished. When they decide to mosy on to a different station, they’ll be looking for a new, clean plate and fork. You can’t blame them – we’ve had the “never return to the food station/buffet with a dirty plate” mantra beat into our heads since we were the kids at Shoney’s that could barely see over the sneeze guard. What that means for you though, is that we’ll usually recommend somewhere in the neighborhood of one small plate per guest, per station. You’ll need forks at each station as well, if the food choice necessitates.
Do these considerations make stations cost prohibitive? Usually the difference isn’t a deal breaker. Talk to your caterer about your options and what they recommend for your budget and your vision. Trust them to help you make a choice that will allow for stellar food and a great experience for all. You can also check out or video on stations on Planning + Prosecco. Happy Planning!