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How to Choose the Best Reception Menu for Your Wedding and The Pros & Cons of Each!


When it comes to deciding on the food for your wedding, you must consider a number of different aspects; kitchen facilities in your venue, budget, allergies or dietary restrictions and how much time do you want to allow for dinner. Here we discuss seven different wedding menu styles and the pros and cons of each.

1. Seated

The seated or plated menu option; weddings with a more formal, elegant, and conventional feeling tend to work best with a seated dinner. The meal consists of multiple courses, you can choose to do a duet (every guest gets two entrées) or the guests have a choice between two entrées that they choose when they RSVP.


This style of menu has the benefit of no leftovers at the end of the night. However, it can be a more costly option if additional wait staff will be needed.

2. Buffet

buffet style meal is perfect for the more casual couple. The food is displayed on two sided buffet tables; this option provides everyone with a wide variety of food choices. A buffet will be your least expensive option.


The biggest benefit of a buffet is that there's something for everyone, and easier to give guest with dietary or allergies restrictions more choices. However, this will give you an option to have special meals at no additional cost.  An added benefit is the guests will have the option to come back for seconds on the items they enjoyed the most.

3. Stations

For a wedding reception that's exciting and focused on the food, choose to have stations, This option consists of various stations set up around the room such as a carving station, a mashed potato station with a variety of topping (my absolute favorite), a pasta station, culturally themed station, and maybe an ice cream station. The options are wide.......The food served at each station will typically come in smaller portions.


Stations allows interaction between guests and chefs, which can create a dynamic atmosphere ideal for foodies. However, with all of the additional choices in food and additional chefs required, this menu style may end up being priced even higher than a seated dinner.

4. Family Style

The family style is like the traditional seated style but more casual. Instead of having the wait staff come out and serve each individual, each dish will be set on the table where guests can pass them around - just like at a family dinner at home.


This menu allows your guests to interact more, like the buffet but without the unsightly lines. Keep in mind, though, how much space the food takes up on the tables. Cost will be slightly higher than a seated menu due to the increased amount of food needed with about the same number of staff.

5. Cocktail

The hors d’oeuvres or cocktail style is only a trend that's been seen in more recent years. Instead of serving a full meal, your caterer provides hot and/or cold hors d'oeuvres for guests to eat.


If you have a smaller venue, the hors d'oeuvres style may be a good fit. Your cost can range from below what it would be to have a buffet to more than a seated menu depending on your food choices. You need to get multiple quotes from your caterer before deciding on this menu.  Do remember to let your guests know, however, as some may come expecting dinner.

6. Brunch

If your ceremony is earlier in the day, a brunch menu is a great option. Various brunch foods, such as waffles or pancakes can be made a little fancier with some extra chocolate or fruit, can include salads and/or finger sandwiches.


These options are often much less expensive than dinners and leaves your evening open for time with close friends and family. Your other vendors and venue fees may be less due to the time of day of your wedding.


If your ever in doubt about what options will work best for you ask your caterer or even your wedding planner if you have one, they can steer you in the right direction.



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