You’ll give lots of thought to your wedding menu. All couples do. They pour over all the possibilities for the cocktail party. They worry about having entrée options for those with special dietary needs. Some send options along with the wedding invitation (on the reply card) so guests can check off a choice.
It’s also important to think about how the food will be served. If you have, say, 200 guests, you want to ensure the food that guest 199 receives is as hot and appetizing as guest number one’s. There are six basic service options and each has advantages and disadvantages.
1: Table service
Food is plated in the kitchen and delivered to the table by servers. It’s nice to be served, but make sure that there are enough kitchen staff and servers so that all tables can be served piping hot food within a 10-minute time frame.
2: Western European
A large silver platter is brought to each table and the server serves each guest. This is often called French service. It’s elegant but can be slow.
3: Eastern European
A large silver platter is brought to the table and presented to each guest who then serves himself. This is sometimes called Russian service. It also can be slow, but allows the guests decide what they want to eat and how much.
4: Family style
Platters are put on the table for each course, the guests help themselves and then pass the platters to each other. This is friendly and pleasant but best for informal weddings.
The buffet presents a wider range of foods and each person helps themself to exactly what they want. The downside is that there can be a large lineup that slows things down so that some tables will have finished eating while others are still getting their food. Lining up for food is also not as elegant.
This is sometimes called a grazing buffet. Guests visit several stations set up around the room and serve themselves. It is fun, informal and popular but not used at formal weddings.