Buffet, Plated or Family Style Catering: Which is Best for Your Wedding?

The food you serve at your wedding should be reflective of you and your partner as a couple, which is why it’s essential to consider all the types of catering styles to choose from. Whether you’re weighing the pros and cons of buffet vs plated wedding catering, looking for family-style catering or even something totally different, knowing your options is key to making a decision. Read on to learn the differences among the most popular types of catering services!

Buffet-Style Catering

Buffet catering features long tables featuring all the parts of your meal, typically with soups and appetizers towards the beginning and the heartier entrées towards the middle and end.

Some benefits of wedding buffet catering include:

  • Easy to have a range of options for all dietary needs (or picky eaters!)
  • Less time spent waiting for food to be served and cleared
  • Each person can eat what they are hungry for, leading to less leftover food waste
  • Vibrant food and layout can make for incredible photos
  • Can be made more affordable, depending on entrées

Buffet catering gives you flexibility and efficiency, which makes it a desirable catering option. It’s important to note costs can vary depending on what you’re looking for, so don’t assume this is the most inexpensive option! While it’s true that staffing costs are less absent servers, generally caterers will make extra food to ensure all guests get their fill – there are always those who go back for seconds or popular dishes that disappear faster than others!

Plated Catering

For a more formal gathering or a longer multicourse meal, plated catering might be the best fit for your wedding. This type of catering menu will include a salad, appetizer, entrée, and small dessert to end the meal.

Some benefits of plated catering include:

  • Allows guest to choose their entrée in advance, as well as make dietary requests
  • Portion control makes cost clearer upfront
  • Efficient way to serve your meal and keep the reception on schedule
  • Waitstaff available to run and clear food

Plated sit-down meals are incorrectly assumed to be more expensive than catering alternatives due to the fact that service costs tend to be higher. That said, the quantity and variety of the meal is much more controlled, which means you won’t be dealing with any unexpected costs related to servings.

Family-Style Catering

Family-style catering is essentially a combination of buffet-style and plated catering. Guests remain seated while a server brings over large bowls and platters of food to be passed around the table. The meal is generally a first course with one or two options and a second course consisting of a protein and several sides.

Some benefits of family-style catering include:

  • Less formal setting but keeps everyone in their seats
  • Allows guests to chat and engage with each other, which is great if there are mixed tables
  • Gives you a variety of dishes to incorporate
  • Efficient way to serve and enjoy a meal

Family-style catering is a wonderful way to comfortably feed your guests while allowing them to bond as they pass food around the table. This style of catering tends to be the priciest because it includes both servers and self-serve meals. Another factor to consider is that serving bowls and platters can take up quite a bit of space on tables, so it’s best for a couple that doesn’t want elaborate centerpieces.

Contact Stone Cove Catering

Looking at which elements are most important to you and your partner will help shape what your wedding catering style will look like! From buffet vs plated wedding catering to family-style catering and beyond, be sure you understand the ins and outs of each option. And just remember that, regardless of which catering service you choose, your guests are sure to have an incredible time celebrating and enjoying the reception!

To learn more about our available wedding catering services from Stone Cove Catering, please contact us today!