Wedding Catering 101: Plated vs. Family Style

Wedding Catering 101: Plated vs. Family Style

Bella Donna CateringThe food you serve at your wedding is usually the second most important decision you will make about your big day, after choosing your event venues. That’s because delicious food is central to creating a convivial and celebratory atmosphere for your guests, and how it’s served can really set the tone for the entire event. Our Bella Donna Catering team are experts at providing seamless food service, however you choose to serve your guests. If you’re trying to decide between plated vs. family-style service, here are a few pros and cons of each help you decide which style is a better fit for your dream wedding.

What is plated-style service?

Plated-style service is very similar to the type of table service you’re used to receiving in restaurants, with a waiter or waitress bringing each dish to you individually. Each guest is served a formal meal, often in courses, such as appetizers, entree and dessert (fancier menus might even include an amuse-bouche to cleanse the palate). Wedding caterers usually give guests a choice between two main courses, which they will be asked to select well in advance to allow ample time for planning meals to perfection. (Another option you can give your guests is a “duet” — two proteins on one plate, such as meat and fish.)

Pros of plated-style service

Plated service is the classic option for weddings. It creates a formal atmosphere, but it can actually be cost-effective because it means your caterers know ahead of time the quantities of each food to prepare. Because everything is pre-portioned, it allows your staff to expertly craft each dish to your guests’ specific requests. Your guests will also receive each dish at the same time, so you can schedule activities between courses (like toasts and dances) to keep your everyone energized and engaged.

Cons of plated-style service

Plated service requires more staff to plate meals, and bring them to and from the kitchen. The food options are also limited to your selections, and the choices you provide might not please everyone.

What is family-style service?

Family-style service looks a lot like a classic sit-down dinner. Much like your traditional Thanksgiving meal, food is served in large serving dishes placed at the center of the table for each guest to fill their plates as needed.

Pros of family-style service

Family-style service streamlines food service. Fewer staff are required, creating a casual, more laid-back atmosphere. Guests will enjoy serving themselves as much (or as little) of each food as they like. Sharing food at the table creates a sociable atmosphere and encourages conversation, much like eating at home.

Cons of family-style service

Family-style services requires larger tables, and large serving dishes, platters and utensils. Because your caterer will also want to ensure everyone gets more than enough food, your budget might increase.

We at Bella Donna Catering can work with you to decide which service style fits your needs. When you work with us, you can expect nothing short of an exceptional epicurean experience that your guests won’t soon forget.