I hope you’ve eaten else this post may be torture! We have Emma from Goose & Berry with us today discussing your catering options. Trends have moved towards a much more informal approach to feeding guests, from food trucks to buffets, but which is right for you and your venue? Or would you rather keep it formal?
Plated Dinner, Buffet or Food Stations?
One of the first choices you might make about your wedding menu is the style of service you want to go for; a plated dinner or a buffet meal (which usually includes several dish options) or in more recent times food stations, A plated dinner is the most traditional and formal of options, as each guest is individually served. A buffet offers choice and a little more flexibility, where guests can help themselves or choose what they would like served. Food Stations take this one step further, keeping the variety but placing different types of food on different stations.
Formal or Informal?
As wedding caterers and planners, we have certainly seen an increase in the popularity of less formal dining such as buffets, bowl food and food stations. Increasingly so are the DIY food stations, where people create their own food – think a Burrito stand, where guests can add in their own fillings and toppings. Taking influences from the wider foodie cultures, street food has had a big impact on wedding catering and this is reflected in guest choices. Family style dining is also incredibly popular, with table carvery’s and picnic style hamper starters waiting for guests.
This being said, there are still some couples that like to stick to tradition and formality, where a three (or more – I love the ones with a pre-dessert/sorbet or cheese course!) course meal is served at the table. It will never go out of style and certainly fits some more grand venues well and the style of service they may offer.
Why not try both…
There are also some that like to combine the styles. You could have a starter and main served at the table and then have a dessert station or even dessert room (epic I know and I kind of want one of these permanently in my house!) to finish the meal where guests can relax a little more and informal dining takes over. It leads nicely into the evening reception, where you want guests to feel a little more relaxed, ready to dance the night away…and then probably indulge in a little more food with late evening snacks!
Dessert stations are so popular right now and we have seen this even more so over the past year, especially if they are DIY and interactive. We are introducing our Interactive Patisserie Stations to our dessert menus, where a chef will create a dessert on a large scale, right in front of your eyes and dish up these tasty treats to you fresh from just being made. We think this is going to be huge and can’t wait to see it at our weddings.
The choice is yours
Regardless of tradition, it’s absolutely possible to still have a formal wedding with buffet or informal service these days. Mostly, the choice between the options comes down to questions of convenience and cost. Plated service requires more waiting staff, both to do the plating in the kitchen and to serve the meal to guests. Also, buffets make it easier and more cost effective to provide guests with a variety of choices, especially in this day and age of so many types of allergies and dietary restrictions.
With so many elaborate and impressive ideas for buffet service – Oyster Bars, beautiful Dessert buffets, Ice-Sculpted buffet tables and Over-sized Paella pans, a buffet doesn’t have to appear to be the cheaper option to feed your guests, it’s time to be creative and get those taste buds flowing! Talk to your caterer and discuss ideas of favourite foods and options of service. You may be surprised at what you can do and what you will choose
Emma is Co-Planner at Goose & Berry, a luxury wedding & event planners and caterers based in Buckinghamshire and London. When she isn’t planning and styling weddings and writing blogs, she can be found on the farm, trying out new recipes, creating floral displays or watching rugby and cricket.