The Dinner Debate: Which Style Dinner Should You Serve at Your Wedding?

The Dinner Debate: Which Style Dinner Should You Serve at Your Wedding?

Whether you’ve decided on your wedding menu or not, how will you serve it?



  • Pros: The biggest pro with a buffet is the variety, as your guests will get a chance to taste everything you’re providing– no deciding between steak or salmon when you can have both! Buffets require less servers than plated or family style dinners, so service costs are usually lower. Buffets allow guests to mingle and interact with one another.
  • Cons: Buffets naturally feel less formal than plated dinners (but they can certainly be made sophisticated). Not everyone is served at the exact same time. Buffets are not the best option for elderly guests, pregnant guests, and guests with limited mobility. People tend to eat more when they serve themselves.

Bottom Line: If you want to impress your guests with options, a buffet makes the most sense.


  • Pros: Plated dinners are the most formal, as guests remain seated and are attended to by one or two servers per table. Everyone at your table typically gets their food at the same time. Plated dinners eliminate waste, as the order is planned ahead of time. With this type of meal, speeches can easily be planned in between courses.
  • Cons: You will have to keep track of who ordered what and communicate that to your caterer ahead of time. Guests typically do not get second helpings. Escort and place cards may be necessary so servers can keep track of who ordered what.

Bottom Line: If you’re a traditionalist, or you’re having a black tie affair, choose a plated dinner.

Family Style

  • Pros: When food is served family style, guests can help themselves to their own portions, which is a definite plus. This option strikes a middle ground between casual and elegant and can be symbolic of two families becoming one. Family style meals feel friendly and inviting, as they encourage guest interaction.
  • Cons: In order to serve family style, you’ll need serving platters and spoons for each table, which could drive up your rental costs. If platters reach hungry or inconsiderate guests first, they take time to be replenished. Large serving trays can make your table feel cluttered.

Bottom Line: If you’re having a small, intimate wedding, family style could be the right choice.


  • Pros: Food stations are novel, and can add to the “wow factor.” Who wouldn’t be impressed with a raw bar, mashed potato bar, or macaroni and cheese station? Like buffets, food stations allow for greater variety than traditional plated meals.
  • Cons: If you have a reception with food stations, your guests will have to walk around your venue to fill their plates. This means that your guests will be up and down. You must also have a venue space large enough to accommodate this type of set up.

Bottom Line: If you like the idea of a buffet, and you’re somewhat untraditional, try incorporating stations.

Shore Catering caters every style wedding, big or small. Read our reviews on Wedding Wire.

No Comments

Post A Comment