5 Wedding Reception Food Styles You may Want to Choose From

The Fondly
4 min readSep 5, 2019

Choosing food for your wedding is one of the most important tasks because your guests are pretty eager to see what is there on your menu once they see you, your wedding dress, venue, decoration and other guests. Today there are so many options for couples for wedding menus that they can be easily overwhelmed unlike in the past when there used to be only the options of a sit-down dinner and buffet. Today you can choose among mini food stations, family-style dinners and cocktail-style receptions. Here is our evaluation of these options to help you make an informed decision about which food option you should choose for your wedding reception.

1. Classic Sit-Down Dinner

Photo: Jay Wennington

In this style, guests are seated and they are served a formal dinner, typically in three courses, viz. appetizer, entrée and dessert. Sometimes, before the entrée, the fourth course of an amuse-bouche or intermezzo is also added. Your wedding caterer will typically give you an option of two or three entrées, which you should select in advance; there is even another option of serving guests two proteins, like fish and meat, often known as a “duet” plate.

2. Buffet-Style: The Smorgasbord

Photo: Helena Lopes

Here the dishes are arranged on long tables with servers behind each dish. There may be even 2–3 tables depending upon the size of the wedding. It’s a great idea to serve soups or salads served before or right after the guests are seated. This will let guests have something to eat while waiting for their turn in the line. Buffets are typically closed rather quickly.

3. Food Stations

Photo: Paula Vermeulen

Open for much longer than buffets and not less fulfilling than a sit-down dinner, food stations have gained great popularity for wedding receptions. Here different tables offer different foods, typically by category, unlike a buffet which directs everyone through the same food order.

This is also a great way to incorporate a theme, such as “around the world” where foods from different countries can be served on the tables. But the traditional way is to present entrées at one spot, salads at another, sides at another and so on. There’s even more space offered in between so that guests can easily roam around and choose. Since they are open for much longer, not everyone has to rush for eating at the same time.

4. Family-Style Wedding Dinner

Photo: Lee Myungseong

This is somewhat similar to a sit-down dinner in that guests are seated and waiters serve them. But the difference is that they are assigned different tables with large portions of foods placed on each table on serving platters.

5. Cocktail-Style Reception

Photo: Kats Weil

A rather new trend, a cocktail-style reception presents hors d’oeuvres along with other small nibbles that are offered all through the evening instead of a sit-down dinner. The hors d’oeuvres are typically one- or two-bite portions and can be a blend of cold and hot options. They can be served by servers or stationary so that guests can help themselves. This is an excellent option for couples looking for a more casual ambience for their guests to meet each other and mingle. Consider serving 12 to 14 hors d’oeuvres for each guest.

At The Fondly, we try to help couples choose the best options for the various components of their wedding and plan their wedding in the best possible way. We are an all-in-one wedding planning company aiming at making your wedding experience simple and fun. Give us a chance to help you and you will be happy you did. All the best!

Photo: The Fondly’s Vendor Page

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The Fondly

The Fondly is born for love. We are making the Wedding process Easy and Fun.