(Closed) Does family style work?

posted 10 years ago in Food
Post # 3
1116 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

We did this and it worked great!  We had 7 courses all served family style.  I think it’s nice because people can eat more of the dishes that they like and less of what they don’t.  The main issue is to work out the timing of how long you want the meal service to take overall, and make sure the plates aren’t coming out our being cleared to quickly or slowly.  Good luck!

Post # 4
28 posts

My best friend got married a couple years ago and they had a family-style rehearsal dinner, and it worked out great.  Everyone got to try a little (or a lot!) of everything, and it enabled the bride and groom to cost-effectively offer more choices to their guests.  It also creates a different atmosphere b/c everyone is sharing….we were at a nicer restaurant, but it felt very cozy, even with a big group.  I don’t remember any cons,  except for maybe not wanting to be the person to take the last bit from the serving plate =)

Post # 5
282 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2008

I think this is a great idea – it encourages everyone at the table to interact, at least to ask the person across from them to pass the potatoes!

Post # 6
596 posts
Busy bee

a lot of chinese style wedding banquets will serve food family style.  it works out pretty well for the most part, as you get to eat a little bit of every kind of food and you can easily avoid the foods you don’t eat without being wasteful.

just a few points to consider:

– are you having kids at your wedding?  if so, try to distribute them across the tables so that you don’t have a table with like, 3-5 kids.  otherwise, you may end up with a lot of leftovers for those tables with more kids. 

– not all dishes are going to be equally popular.  you may end up with a shortage of chicken and a ton of vegetables leftover.  there’s probably not much you can do about that unless you are good about picking equally delicious dishes that are appealing to all…but just something to keep in mind.

– one drawback of family style is that some people don’t always use the serving utensils (and opt for using their own personal utensils), and sometimes they double dip.  i find it horrifically unsanitary but maybe i am just being anal.  i don’t necessarily encounter this a lot but i have seen this before and i am always annoyed when it happens.

that’s all i can think of for now…hope that helps!

Post # 7
36 posts
  • Wedding: October 2018

I love the idea of family style, and I originally asked for it at our reception.  However, I was also in love with rectangular tables, and they weren’t large enough!  Whatever tables you decide on using have to be large enough to hold all the extra serving platters.

Post # 8
80 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

I went to a wedding where they did this, and I thought there were definitely both pros and cons. Pros: there were a lot of options and we got to have as much or as little of everything as we wanted. Cons: the tables were super-crowded with platters, and they had very small centerpieces. So if you wanted large centerpieces, you’d have to give some thought to whether the food will all fit on the table. Also, it gave the reception a much more casual feel… which is fine, as long as that’s what you’re going for! 

Post # 9
174 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

I went to a very formal wedding with family style dining, and I don’t necessarily think it made it seem casual. I actually thought it was great because it got our whole table talking and interacting, and we could control our portions.

The only complaint I had was that it took for.ev.er. for dinner to be served. It was 9:30 or 10:00 p.m. before they got to any of the dancing or anything, and by the time everyone could dance it was quite late. If you go for this, talk to your caterer about your timeline ahead of time to make sure this doesn’t happen to you.

Good luck! 🙂

Post # 10
1116 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

ChrissyM makes a good point that I forgot – you generally need centerpieces with small bases to make it work with multiple platters on the table.  We had cake stands that left a small "footprint" on the table, but had a larger diameter higher up, and it worked fine.

Post # 11
9 posts
  • Wedding: May 2011

This is exactly what we are planning to do and I’m so excited to hear it has worked out well for others!  I am really hoping it will get people talking and interacting more.  It is the way we always like to eat with friends and family so we wanted to do it that way at our wedding too.

We figured that the food on the platters will be so pretty that it will serve as a centerpiece in and of itself and we can save some $$ on simpler, smaller centerpieces. 

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