Wedding Dining Styles
Served Plated to Each Guest
This is the most traditional of all wedding dining styles. You receive the standard service that you would from any hotel or caterer. The servers serve each guest their individual dinner selection. Some brides get creative with how they display each guests dinner choice. A Trends to Traditions bride this past winter used snowflake ornaments in different colors and set them out under the escort card. Her theme was “winter wonderland” and the ornaments made perfect wedding favors!
This style is one that encourages conversation and sharing among your wedding guests. You select a variety of food for each table and your guests can pass around the dishes and share. This serving is also known as “family style” at most restaurants. Table d’Hôte is the perfect style for a very large wedding. You will be able to accommodate more of your guest’s tastes preferences.
Russian Service is exactly that; a service. The waiter carries a tray around of different dinner selections and each guest gets to select which looks most appetizing to them. The server has the ability to control the portion size so each guest can have as much or as little as they prefer. This Russian Service style is better suited for a medium to small sized wedding.
This style is very similar to the Russian Service. The main difference is that there is an additional waiter who follows the headwaiter around with a sauce selection for the guests. Another French Style of dining is when the chef prepares the food tableside and serves it to each guest’s tastes. This is generally more appropriate for small weddings because of the time involved.
Small Plate “Tapas” Tasting
This is similar to a buffet style. You present your guests with a variety of different small snacks and finger foods. These are appetizer size and your guests can have a bunch of different finger foods. Tapas are traditionally associated with Spanish cusine. This is a great dining option if you don’t want to serve a full meal.
Depending on your guest count you can have as many buffet stations as you need to accommodate everyone. Typically, your guests will be “called-up” in order of table number to serve themselves. After everyone has been allowed the chance to get a plate there is usually time for anyone to go up for seconds. This option tends to be less expensive than a seated dinner and is great for large weddings.
This dining style is where you can set up a variety of stations with plates already there. This style gives your guests the chance to have their pick of the cuisine and they can have as much or as little of each dish. This style works well when there are cocktail tables stationed around so people can eat a little at a time and also keep the seating casual. You can also add a grill onto this style and give your guests the chance to order their own grilled items from a chef.
Standard Cocktail Party with Drinks & Hors D’oeuvres
By doing this style you bypass the need to collect any entrée choices. There is no formal seating and guests are free to mingle and walk around. Hors D’oeuvres are displayed on a table for guests to serve themselves from. This is a very casual dining style but can be very elegant and a nice alternative to traditional seated dinners.
This style is similar to that of having a butler in your own home. Waiters serve Hors D’oeuvres and drinks on a tray. They accept drink orders, which eliminates lines for guests to wait in. This is a very elegant option but requires more waiters and staff than other options.
Butlered & Stationary
Here, you can combine both the standard cocktail party and the butlered menu. This means having stationed Hors D’oeuvres as well as waiters walking around presenting them to guests. Much more food is eaten when it is presented in this way. This option may require more staffing if you choose to also have the waiters take drink orders.
If you are expecting guests to come and go from your reception this is a good dining option. Open house allows for your guests to specifically order from a menu at any time in the night. A lot of guests may prefer this if they are unable to make it to a predetermined dinnertime. This style is for a very casual wedding.