Wedding Food Service Showdown

Wedding Food Service Showdown

How will you serve the food at your wedding- Food Station? Plated? As food will be one of the major costs of your wedding, and something that adds (or takes away from) overall guest experience, it’s important to choose wisely. 

Food Station: 

  • Food Stations are a more casual way to serve a large group of guests. 
  • Try to avoid the look of a hotel Sunday brunch. Those “groaning board” buffets with dozens of dishes may look lavish, but you’re not doing your guests any favors. It is better to select one main course and just a few side dishes to make a delicious meal. 
  • Using smaller plates encourages guests to visit each station individually and means they will enjoy the dishes in appropriate combinations, as they were planned.
  • Smaller stations also allow guests to pass more quickly through the line. 
  • If you like, you may serve multicourse dinner station-style. This is done by either featuring different courses at different food stations, or by changing the stations while guests are eating each course. Again it is important to design the station so that the foods complement each other.
  • While food stations should not feature dozens of dishes, they should be filled with plenty of food. There’s nothing more forlorn than a long table with three dishes on it. Keep your stations smaller and be sure they food is arranged and presented abundantly. 


  • Plated is considered the more elegant option but also may be costlier.
  • First, take a realistic look at your budget. You should never have to skimp on the quality of the food at your reception. 
  • Start conceptualizing the menu well before you meet with your food service provider. Consider your personal food likes and dislikes and those of your fiancé. Create a “wish list” of the foods you both love and a list of definite dislikes.
  • Does the location of your reception suggest a theme for the food? A reception at a yacht club would suggest delicious local seafood, perhaps even a clambake. A home wedding might have an American country theme to the menu.
  • Another consideration is the time of year. Winter is not the season for cold poached fish, nor is an outdoor wedding in July the occasion for prime rib.  Heartier fare, such as hot soups, stews, roast beef or lamb, and potato dishes, work better in the winter. Lighter foods, such as fish, salads, and fresh vegetables, come to the fore during summer’s heat. A deliciously light summer menu can end delightfully with a decadently rich dessert.
  • Food is like theater. As with a good play, what happens during the first five minutes sets the stage for what is to come. It is vital that the first course at your reception be spectacular in terms of its presentation and flavor. 
  • The main course is the centerpiece of the meal. Begin by designing the main course and then add complementary appetizers, other courses and desserts. 

-Colin Cowie

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