A Quick Guide to Reception Meal Styles

Food is one of the most important, and often expensive, aspects of any wedding. It’s a good thing you can choose from various wedding catering styles from catering services offering complete luxury service tailored to the needs of each clients.

A right menu is an essential part of every wedding. Apart from choosing what food you will be serving at the reception, you also need to decide the style of how your caterers will serve the food. Here is a quick guide about the different wedding reception meal styles to help you determine the right meal style for your wedding.


Meal Style # 1: Plated Service

Plated service has been the traditional and formal choice for wedding receptions. It’s a sit-down meal where food is served individually per person. A plated dinner is often composed of three courses: appetizer, main course, and dessert, and everyone gets the same dish unless someone with allergies requests for an alternate dish in advance. The specifics are, of course, dependent on the choice of the couple.


  • Every guest gets their food and can start eating at the same time.
  • Lower costs compared to buffet since each meal is pre-selected already.
  • Less chances of leftovers.


  • A plated dinner will require you to hire caterers that have many servers, both for serving the guests and preparing food in the kitchen.
  • The guests do not get any options.


Meal Style # 2: Family-Style

Family-style involves serving a variety of dishes on each table and allowing the guests to get their own portions. If there are guests seated at the same table that don’t know each other, it also provides a way for them to start interacting.


  • Your guests can choose their preferred dishes (and the portion size) from the selection served.
  • Family-style is efficient since guests can eat right away after choosing their food.


  • This type of meal style requires larger space for all the dishes and platters, which could lead you to increase your budget on the rental items such as big tables and numerous serving plates.


Meal Style # 3: Buffet

Considered as the most casual meal style, a buffet allows guests to get their food from the various food stations on long tables. There are usually servers behind the food stations to assist guests.


  • You can provide your guests with a wider variety of food choices.
  • You do not need a lot of servers since guests can serve themselves.


  • Buffets tend to cost higher compared to the other meal styles since it requires large amount of food and different choices.


Meal Style # 4: Food Stations

A food station is one of the growing trends in the wedding scene. You’ll have various food stations disseminated throughout your wedding reception venue. For example, you could have a meat station, salad station, and an ice cream station, among others.


  • Since the food stations are situated in different parts of your wedding reception, guests do not need to wait in long lines.


  • Space may be an issue, and you might need a larger venue.


When it comes to weddings, the food is often what makes a lasting impression on guests. Be creative in choosing the food that you will have and how it will be served.

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