Weddings 101: What’s Your Dining Style?

Among thousands of possibilities, there are couture ball gowns, slinky backless slips, structured A-lines, and sassy sequined minidresses. As unique as are brides, so too are their weddings. We love a marital reception because it showcases each couple’s personality, introducing their brand to the world. Their vows, play list, location, and yes, even the meal they provide, tells their friends and family their story. Supposing you’ll soon be getting married, which dining style would be right for you?

For the Laid Back Couple: Buffet Options

Wedding Dining | All Occasions Catering | Milwaukee, WIOur first tip here is to select dishes entrees and sides vibrant in color, because they are more enticing to the guest, photograph well, and illicit “oohs,” “ahs,” and “mmms” along the buffet line. Because of its presentation style, you will find a buffet a breeze for selecting a broad of variety of foods, so creating an alluring spread won’t be a problem. Being inherently less formal, the happy couple can enjoy a fuss-free atmosphere, where their treasured friends and family rub elbows, and customize their plates with their own preferences, and portions. 

For a smoothly flowing buffet line, follow the 50 to one rule: for every 50 guests, include one lane of access to the food. 200 guests need four access points, provide two for 100 attendees, and so on. Keeping things moving allows for a well-paced evening, with most everyone seated and dining as speeches commence, and dancing feet are starting to twitch.

For the Traditional Couple: Plated Dinner

Wedding Dining | All Occasions Catering | Milwaukee, WIIf you’re inviting Grandma and Grandpa, this might be the way to go. Not only is a plated meal a more elevated and luxurious experience, it takes into consideration those who aren’t so mobile, rambunctious children who aren’t able to serve themselves, or those guests with an expectation of being served. Among many upsides to a traditional sit down dinner, these tend to be more chef driven, with thoughtful consideration given to the menu. The artistry behind the meal offers a curated symphony of flavors, resulting in a beautiful, more controlled presentation.

While this method requires a larger service staff, and corresponding budget, the larger team helps keep the evening running on schedule, food waste to nearly zero, and projects an image of elegance and craftsmanship to those you hold near and dear.

For the Social Couple: Family Style

Wedding Dining | All Occasions Catering | Milwaukee, WI

You’ve got college friends and work friends, close family and in-laws, people you’ve known forever, all of whom don’t know one another. This can be quite the dilemma for seating, but not so for family style dining. Easily cross pollinate your friend groups with a platter of Veal Milanese and a pair of tongs, and the simple task of serving one another. Breaking bread is the oldest method of bonding in the book, and by last-call you’ll see how seamlessly it fuses disparate people into shared kin. 

Family style dining feels nostalgic and more intimate, however beware the pitfalls of big bowls and average sized tables. Much like family meals at home, complicated tablescapes are sacrificed to make way for serving dishes, and some of your oldest and youngest guests may have trouble passing them. Tables can be crowded by dinnerware, but for a meal that splits the difference between ultra-formal and overly casual, and allows just about all of your attendees to dine simultaneously, opt for family style. 

For the Adventurous Couple: Food Stations

Wedding Dining | All Occasions Catering | Milwaukee, WI

You were born in the Bayou, he’s a Chicago city slicker, and you’re honeymooning in the Bahamas. Food stations might be your best bet, with a variety of satellite grazing tables, sliced roast service, dessert towers, and appetizer platters. Highlight significant-to-you cuisine, while not pigeon holing your guests into any one genre. Offering options is excellent encouragement for mingling, pushing guests to explore the venue you have hand-picked, so that they too can see the beauty in the décor and environment. Food stations tend to add to the ambiance, with a new thrill at each stop around the room. 

As with a buffet, keep access points plentiful to prevent logjams and move people along. Locations with abundant space are perfect, allowing you to situate tables and seating along the way, so that your finest folks can rest and enjoy. Retire and introduce new dishes throughout the evening for even more flair and excitement, if you’re the sort of who loves such fanciful things.

Tell us all about your upcoming nuptials by reaching out to your All Occasions Catering consultant today. We’d love to hear all about it.