Wedding Dinner Styles Defined

By Carly Totten, Loverly

Aside from attending an event, the next best thing is to reminisce about it. Your wedding will likely be a huge topic of conversation among you and your new groom (of course!), but also among your guests and their friends. The style of your dress; the first kiss shared; and the hysterical sight of your uncles having a dance off in the center of the floor will all be huge topics of conversation. But there is one wedding day facet that will receive just a bit more airtime: the food served.

When guests attend a wedding, they are looking to have the best time ever. And, of course, you want to provide them with exactly that. However, they are also on a serious quest for a great meal. And it all boils down to this reason: eating is a necessity.

Deciding what to serve is definitely very important, but deciding how to serve your wedding menu is the first step to take on the way to a great meal. Plated, buffet, home style, or passed mini bites - the choice is yours to make. In order to help you make your serving style decision, we've broken down all four of the most popular styles into a quick list of pros and cons.

Photo by: Brandi Welles Photographer on Inspired By This via

Photo by: Brandi Welles Photographer on Inspired By This via

Plated Pros:
1. The most formal style, a plated dinner is perfect for an elegant black tie fete.
2. Your guests will inform you of their meal choice prior to your wedding, which is great for organization and planning ahead.
3. Sometimes guests feel more relaxed when their meal is served to them rather than having to navigate a buffet.

Plated Cons:
1. Because guests are served each course separately, plated meals take more time. Make sure to plan ahead!
2. Depending on your location and venue, remember that a wait staff must be hired which may up your cost.
3. A plated menu is much more limiting for you and your guests, so it's very important to serve foods that the majority will enjoy.

Photo by: Veronika Zanetti on Veronika Zanetti via

Photo by: Veronika Zanetti on Veronika Zanetti via

Buffet Pros:
1. Buffets create a very relaxed atmosphere, which is great for a rustic style fete or one held in a backyard.
2. Because a wait staff is not needed, your overall menu costs will be less.
3. This style allows you to include a number of foods, which your pickier guests will appreciate. Portions are also left up to your friends and family.

Buffet Cons:
1. Sometimes guests do not like being "called up" to peruse the buffet.
2. The informal style may not match your overall wedding aesthetic.

Photo by: Suzy Clement on Suzy Clement via Loverly

Photo by:
Suzy Clement on Suzy Clement via

Home Style Pros:
1. The latest budding star, home style meals are quite similar to buffets with their relaxed feel.
2. Because your menu options are served to an entire table, your guests can still control what and how much they eat.
3. The plates need to be passed, which will encourage your guests to interact and enjoy each other's company.

Home Style Cons:
1. The seating arrangements will become very important when planning to serve your wedding meal in this style. Make sure you feel as though those seated together will like each other!
2. Again, if you are going for a more formal vibe, a home style meal may not be the way to go.

Photo by: MCG Photography on Inspired By This via

Photo by: MCG Photography on Inspired By This via

Mini Bites Pros:
1. Originally created by Peter Callahan, mini food is the trendiest style of the bunch.
2. If you and your fiancé really want to focus in on all of your favorite foods, passed mini bites allow for a lot of sampling.
3. Because guests do not need to be seated to enjoy this appetizer style, they will feel encourage to mingle with each other throughout the night.

Mini Bites Cons:
1. Because this style is created with "bite sized" in mind, your caterer may up your fees because of the time it may take her to create all of the food needed.
2. Similar to a plated meal, this style will involve a wait staff. Be mindful of your budget!
3. Guests are not necessarily sitting down with a portioned platter, so some may complain after of being hungry.

Tell us: how are you planning to serve your wedding menu? Which style do you feel works best?

More from
Are you serving a signature cocktail?
Find more menu inspiration!
What's your wedding style?