There are a lot of things to consider when selecting your wedding meal… budget, venue, allergies, guests’ personal tastes, and of course the overall feel you are looking for.
Most caterers will be able to customize any menu that you select and will have a large range of options. Pay attention to levels of service included with each caterer. Some will provide ice water, cut the cake, bus, clean up, and arrange your rentals as part of their service; and others who don’t. This can affect the atmosphere throughout the evening.
A classic buffet has the lowest price. The classic buffet consists of your menu selections being presented on a table where guests will go through and get the items that they desire on their plate. This allows guests to add more of some items and skip other items on the buffet. With this style of meal you will typically have the entire menu built around any allergies that you are concerned about.
Heavy Hors D’oeuvres
This a popular alternative to the classic buffet. Heavy hors d’oeuvres are typically stationed but can be passed depending on the atmosphere that you are looking for. Guests will still stand in line and get their food from a table where all the items are on display. However, you have some room to alter the menu and have something for every dietary restriction that you want to keep in mind. This allows you to have a meat, vegetarian, gluten-friendly, or any other restriction option you are concerned about.
Stations are similar in design to heavy hors d’oeuvres; but will typically be a little higher in price. Stations can consist of small plates or heavy hors d’oeuvres. They can be buffet style or action stations. Guests love an action station where they can watch the food be prepared in front of them. Sometimes it is a made to order station and others the chef will be preparing an item and have other available for guests to grab.
Stations allow for multiple food themes. Typically, these are used when a couple loves multiple types of food or when they come from different heritages.
We all have an image of plated meal in our heads based on movies or personal experiences. A plated meal will have everything your guests need at the table or brought to them. This will allow your guests to not have to stand up for food. This a great option for a more formal affair.
Typically, the first course will be a soup or salad that is set or served when guests sit down. This is followed by the entrée and sides. Plated meals give everyone the same amount of each item on their plate.
Pre-determined meals are often confused with plated. The only difference between the two…. a pre-determined meal guests select their entrée with their RSVP.
This allows guests to get a single entrée that they have selected themselves. This can be tricky when figuring out your budget because a caterer can only estimate what your guests will order. The final price may be higher or lower depending of everyone’s selection.
This style is similar to plated in the fact that everything is on the table or brought to the table, so that guests do not need to stand up and get their food. Guests will have their empty plates on the table when they arrive.
The meal is then brought out on platters and bowls with enough of each item for the table. Guests will pass the platters and bowls around the table; just like at the family table! Each person will get as much or as little of the items as they prefer. This is a great alternative to the classic plated meal, but a little more expensive due to an increase in china.
Each style of service can change the atmosphere and overall feeling that your guests get. No matter which style of service you choose do not hesitate to speak with your caterer about your personal tastes!