stations vs plated?

posted 3 years ago in Food
  • poll: Stations or Plated?
    Live action stations.. way to go! : (15 votes)
    29 %
    Plated sit down meal is the only way : (23 votes)
    44 %
    either is fine : (14 votes)
    27 %
  • Post # 3
    9949 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: June 2013

    I think the idea is awesome…but in reality, with 220 guests, a plated dinner will please more people!!!  Could you do a combo, where you have stations for appetizers/hors d’oeuvres?

    Post # 4
    3813 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: August 2013 - Brookfield Zoo

    I think it’s a matter of preference; stations are becoming more and more popular, and provide more options for your guests.  I think they are perfectly acceptable.  But if you personally prefer a plated dinner, feel free to go with that!

    Post # 6
    9949 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: June 2013

    @Sugarbee711:  It’s the standing up and having to wait that I’m thinking about.  220 people divided between 3 stations means 70 people per station…that’s a huge line.  If you have more stations, it would probably end up costing more than the plated dinner will.

    If you really love the idea of stations (which, let’s be honest, are AWESOME), I think it would make sense to have appetizer stations and then a plated meal.  That way, people can have the experience of stations and choosing, and then the relief of sitting down and being served.  Make sense?


    Also…at my wedding, we had about 75 people including 10 kids.  Just getting appetizers was difficult through the crowd!!

    Post # 7
    2675 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: May 2014 - Madison, WI

    I think it’s a neat idea, but with 220 guests even if people equally all went to different stations that’s still ~73-74 people per station which is a lot. Just thinking it could be a long wait. If one station is more popular – say carving station over pasta then people who want that might have to wait longer. I would also worry about running out of whatever is most popular. It still might be doable, but I’d ask these kind of questions as follow up to the caterer if you don’t already know the answer. 

    There is a little more ease to a plated meal with that many guests as well as the ability to plan ahead for number of each meal. 

    Post # 8
    1168 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: June 2014

    @Sugarbee711:  IMO it sounds lke a long pain in the neck line. As a guest I would prefer a sit down- especially if I could be on line behind 219 people.

    “Live action” stations are usually seen at a cocktail hour (in my area at least)- carving station, pasta station, crepe station etc. 

    Post # 9
    177 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: November 2015

    @Sugarbee711:  As a guest, I would be totally fine with either one, but I agree with a PP in that 3 stations for 220 guests might be an issue. Unfortunately, I don’t have any better outside of the box ideas, but keep us posted on what you decide!

    Post # 10
    871 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: March 2014

    @Sugarbee711:  We are doing stations during cocktail hour (along w/ the traditional passed options) and seated dinner during the reception but not because we are creative people but because that is what our venue does hahahah As a guest I like the idea of stations but would consider 4 for that many guests to keep traffic light. Also some stations you have to wait on your food to be made so it can extend dinner so if you have a shorter reception I would consider that. Either one is classy really it just depends on what is being offered!! We are also having a lot of older guests because my FI has tons of great aunts and uncles so they would probably hate stations because they have mobility issues but if you don’t have a lot of those guests I wouldn’t worry about that. 

    ETA: I also like stations because you can get a lot of different food instead of one option preselected months in advance! I think having a combo of 2 faster stations (Like pasta stations where its a matter of scooping things on to a plate and mashed potato bar) with 2 more innovative options (Like asian noodle station and meat carving station of some type) that may take a little longer but give guests more food 

    Post # 11
    1653 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: May 2013

    @Sugarbee711:  do you know how your venue will handle the flow of people for stations? Reason I ask is because I had them at my wedding of 100 people. my venue coordinator went table by table and asked them to go to the stations, so it really helped with flow




    persionally,  stations for me were awesome-much more variety, too. And really, who can say no to a mashed potato bar?? 🙂


    Post # 12
    11772 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: May 2013

    I was at a 225 person wedding with one buffet line (but guests moving down both sides), and it took OVER AN HOUR to finally get my food!

    So I’m worried about possible congestion with three stations.

    I’d love to see stations with the apps and a plated dinner!

    Post # 13
    668 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: November 2014

    You have too many guests for live-action stations. It would probably end up in horrifically looooonnnng and slow lines. I like the idea of cocktail hour stations. My favorite is always thcar carving station! Anyhow, I was at a wedding with 225-250 guests with 4 stations plus a dessert bar and the lines were too long and too slow. Food was cold by the time we sat down

    Post # 14
    45 posts
    • Wedding: August 2015

    @peachacid:  You raised a good point! I love the idea of stations. Live action…even better. We are planning a cocktail reception only 110 people approximately. We are toying with the idea of stations and passed heavy h’ordeuvres because of the possibility of people having to wait around. Let us know what you decide!

    Post # 15
    537 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: June 2014

    I am personally a huge fan of stations, and this is what I’ll be doing for my wedding. I absolutely did not want plated, and I’m even paying more for stations (because they’re stations, not buffet). However, we’re having approx. 125 guests and we’re making it work by having 3 separate stations, but doing two of each station. So there will actually be a total of 6 stations. So even if everyone decides to flood the stations at once, that’s only 20 people per station, which isn’t bad at all.

    I think if you’re feeding people well at cocktail hour, meaning no one is going to be starving by the time dinner is served so they all dash up to the stations all at once, it should be pretty ok. I would also talk to your caterer about doing multiple of the same stations. With our set up, they’re going to be “mirrored” stations, so if you walk to the food and turn left, there’s the exact same set up as if you turned right. So not everyone is crowded closely togther, either. I mean, 220 is definitely a lot, and I don’t really think stations work great for weddings over 200 people. But maybe you can speak with your caterer about breaking the stations up a bit to create more so not everyone is in the same place at once.

    I have been to weddings with stations, which is why I was so adament about having them for my wedding. I far prefer stations to plated, and I don’t think it brings the “classiness” down at all. Maybe it’s less traditional, but I wouldn’t ever say it’s less classy. Yeah, people may have to get up, but I’d prefer getting up so food is prepared fresh right in front of my and I get to choose how much of what I want, rather than being given a plated meal that I only chose the main portion and it has been sitting under a heater for 30 minutes while they prepared the other 219 meals. That and I prefer the livliness of getting up and moving around. Feels less stuffy to me.

    Post # 16
    6448 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: June 2013

    I think stations are awesome, however, I have to echo what PPs said about three stations probably not being enough for 220 people.

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