Post # 1
We are debating between having stations, plated, or buffet. I know this subject has been debated before, but I don’t see much on station weddings. I really don’t know how that would be received?
I have never liked buffets because at large weddings (with so many to serve) they often mean cold food, and they just feel so informal and odd, when in a gown and heels. But, of course, now that I am in a brides shoes, I certainly see the merrit.
We are foodies so I love the idea of multiple choices for each guest (don’t you just hate it when you have to pick chicken or beef on a reply card, two months ahead of time,with absolutely no idea what “chicken” means. covered in mushrooms? stuffed with cheese? dry and flavorless? probably). We are also starting to move away from the formal affair I once invisioned, and are now going for something fun and vibrant, and not too stuffy. So a buffet might be okay?
But then there is this whole “food station” idea with a variety of food (fish taco station, fried alligator, salad station, pasta station, etc.).. I was wondering what insight people could offer on this?
How does this event FEEL? Casual? Chaotic? Did you enjoy it? It it annoying going from station to station to gather a meal, in a dress? Please let me know any thoughts you have on this. Good, bad, ugly 🙂 Oh, and if you have seen any fantastic station ideas, please share!!
Post # 2
I think food stations can be really fun! I went to a pretty fancy wedding in NYC where the dinner was plated but the cocktail hour had stations (with honestly enough food that it could have been a dinner on it’s own!). I thought it was awesome!
I think there were three stations, cheese/charcuterie, pasta/bread, and Asian food which I thought was so cool and different. Then there were also some fancier passed hors d’oeuvres floating around on top of that. As a guest I thought it was great! For our wedding my mom really wanted to do stations, but we ended up choosing plated only because if we did stations there would be no seated tables, only cocktail tables as there isn’t enough room for both.
ETA: Here’s the instagram link for that venue https://www.instagram.com/p/BBGCU1-oofd/?taken-by=guastavinosnyc it looks like they have a few cool pics of some station set ups!
Post # 3
FWIW- an previous job fed us everyday. Once a week it was pasta night where people chose the pasta, sauce, toppings… very yummy! But also a very long line to accomodate everyone, especially compared to the buffet we usually were offered. Just keep that in mind.
Post # 4
i’m in the south, where food stations are pretty standard (and we had them for our wedding, so i’m definitely a little biased here haha), but i LOVE them – for all of the positives that you’ve already noted.
your guests get more options, often the stations have an attendant so everything is fresh and can be cooked to certain specifications (i.e, no brocolli in the pasta, please!) and since there are multiple stations, it cuts down on the lines (instead of one long buffet line).
our wedding planner said that stations are for people who want a less formal, more “elegant party” vibe because it encourages mingling by people getting up to try the different plates. the plates are smaller than a sit-down meal, so you don’t have to worry about lugging around a full dinner. 🙂
we had three stations at our wedding and people really seemed to love it. ours were: 1: Shrimp and grits 2: Braised short ribs with garlic mashed potatoes as a side 3: Pecan encrusted chicken with parmesan risotto as a side (like i said, we are from the south, lol).
we also had passed AND displayed apps during cocktail hour because i was worried about what the caterer meant by “small plates” but it was PLENTY of food and we would have been fine cutting back on cocktail hour
i say go for it!! I’ve never had a bad experience with them.
Post # 5
I completely agree with bananastand
We had stations at our wedding and we loved it! We had some traditional items – a filet station and pasta station – and 2 “fun” ones – slider station and taco station.
My number one thing was that stations allowed people to get their food faster than the long lines with buffets. The second was the ability to get exactly what you want – there were multiple options at each station so everyone could make their dish as complex or simple as they wanted.
Our wedding was not formal but not super casual as well. We wanted a fun, celebratory/party atmosphere and the stations definitely helped give that feel.
Post # 6
- Wedding: September 2017 - Poppy Ridge Golf Course
Im a bit lazy and not the most pleasant when hungry so if Im in dressy clothes, which Im not thrilled about wearing for hours, and have to go from station to station for my food while hungry that would probably not be ideal for me. But the concept in general is probably great for most people. 🙂 I prefer to be served at dinner. Our dinner is plated with various appetizers being served throughout the evening but theres a full description of the exact apps and entrees for each guest on our website not just chicken, beef, vegetarian etc., so they can choose which they prefer. But I understand how frustrating it can be if all you know is there’s chicken or beef in the dish but not how its cooked or what comes with it. Certain stuff I dont care for like any breaded chicken or beef stroganoff so Id like to know what Im getting into with plated dinners.
Post # 7
In general I like them, especially if you have apps and stations which don’t require a chef (such as cheese, veggies, tacos, etc) so people can get something if they’re starving. Sometimes stations with a chef (where the chef is preparing things individually for everyone) can take even longer than a buffet so something to keep in mind. You need variety so not everything has a chef with people waiting. I was Maid/Matron of Honor for one that had stations and I do like the variety and getting to choose what I want in my food. One of them was a stir fry station and it was delicious but they had fresh jalapenos so a large portion of the room was filled with coughing due to the jalapeno in the air.
Post # 8
my sister did stations, it was great! it helps with crowd control – you dont have to wait in a long line to get to the buffet since people spread out to the different stations. i think the only challenge is letting people know what food is available/what is where. i would highly suggest doing menus at each place setting if you’re doing stations – that way people know that even though they only see salmon in front ot the, there is prime rib somewhere to be found.
Post # 9
I think it’s fine, but to me, it feels the same as a buffet. I’m still waiting in a line for food, I’m still juggling a plate in a nice dress and heels, I’m still probably going to encounter cold food (once I go to a second station and have to wait in another line). I don’t see stations as a better alternative to a buffet, to be honest.
I also thought stations were done more at cocktail receptions without a meal, but I could be wrong.
Post # 10
My wedding hasn’t happened yet, but we are planning to do food stations – 3 stations (salad, pasta, and protein) that each have 2 options. We’re planning for about 100 total guests, who will be seated at tables of 8. The plan is to call up 3 tables at a time, 1 to each station, which will hopefully help things to move along without a lot of waiting. There will be an attendent at each station. FYI, the cocktail hour prior to dinner will also have passed appetizers, so hopefully no one is starving if they aren’t called up to one of the stations first.
Post # 11
We did stations and I loved it! We had a couple of displays and then passed apps for the cocktail hour. For dinner we did a carving station w a giant hunk of some kind of beef w veggie sides (it wasn’t prime rib but something like that) and a pasta station – that had two or three sauces, a bunch of veggies, and seafood. And then we had a “kids’ station” (though I saw plenty of adults there!) w finger foods: a couple kinds of pizza, pierogies, and mozzarella sticks.
Our vibe was definitely on the casual and fun side and the stations fit in well w that. We spent the vast majority of our money towards food, drink, and entertainment.
Post # 12
Fried alligator?! Stations sound like fun – but probably best to stick to items that everyone will eat and enjoy. Unless fried alligator is a popular item where you come from. I didn’t even know people ate alligators 😖
Post # 13
It’s popular, VERY popular, where I am from – Florida. Most (non chain) seafood restaurants will have it on their menu, I can name over 5 in my area which isn’t even large, haha.
Btw, it’s delicious!! You should try it sometime.
OP, stations sound awesome 😀 I liek it more than plated, tbh.
Post # 14
I’ve never been to a wedding with food stations but I think it sounds awesome!!
Post # 15
My best friend’s wedding had stations for the reception. I loved the variety of food and also not having to stand in a buffet length line for one or two items. The only thing I’d tell you to be mindful of is placement of the stations. Her reception area was small (at least the part where food and indoor tables were), and so the lines got jumbled together. Plus, there were times when it was too crowded to get to one station because of the line at another. I was lucky and could sneak “backstage” to have the caterers make me a plate because I was in the bridal party, but for a guest I can imagine it was frustrating. I’m sure there were people who ended up hungry not because there wasn’t enough food being served, but just because of logistics.