For both the wedding party and guests, wedding receptions are one of the year’s highlights. In fact, hosting a wedding reception is one of the most extravagant and demanding parties that someone can possibly throw. A wedding reception is attended by an excited group of people who’ve just witnessed a happy occasion at the ceremony. This demands a satisfying meal, no matter how formal or informal the reception itself may be.
As many know from experience, nearly half of the average wedding budget goes toward catering and food. Types of catering for wedding receptions vary based on different styles and atmospheres, and this is obviously something you want to get right.
1. The plated dinner
The most traditional and formal option—the plated dinner—is arguably the most popular. In this type of catering, guests stay seated at their tables and choose from two or three different options on the menu. Servers are available to wait on the tables and serve the meals. This type of catering involves detailed menu planning, but provides reception with a sense of formality and flow that the other catering options lack. Plated dinners an also make costs more predictable.
2. The buffet
The buffet is another type of catering often seen at wedding receptions. Since the caterer won’t know the exact amount of food that the guests will eat, the price for food will be higher — but you also won’t have to pay for waiters. If you want a more casual and laid back style for your reception, there is a lot to be said for buffet-style catering. Guests can feel free to eat whatever and however much they would like.
3. The bite-sized option
A trendier option for wedding catering involves serving small bites. Mini-bites of each different food lets guests sample a wide variety of options. Since this catering type doesn’t require seating, guests are free to roam around, much like a cocktail reception, which is a good option if you don’t want to serve anything but hors d’oeuvres. Cocktail receptions also encourage guests to mingle with one another.
4. Family style
A final option for catering is the family-style meal. In this setting, guests stay at their tables as they do in the plated style, but rather than the food being served by the staff, the guests serve themselves from the dishes on their tables. This style may be more expensive since more serving dishes may need to be rented, and just like the buffet, ample amounts of food need to be available. But it gives an open and family atmosphere to the reception.
Whatever style you choose…
The single most important factor in the success of your wedding reception is the skill and experience of the caterer you hire. Knowing what style of catering is best for your event is something you can work through logically, drawing on the experience and insight of a seasoned catering professional. There’s no reason to make this decision alone — find a reputable caterer and use their expertise to help you make the right call.