(Closed) food stations – share your experience!

posted 5 years ago in Food
  • poll: What do you think of having food stations instead of a buffet or plated dinner?

    food station weddings are awesome! (please share details below)

    food stations are okay (please share thoughts below)

    food stations are not a good idea (I'll tell you why, below)

    food stations are the absolute worst ("so I was at this food station wedding....")

    other - please explain below!

  • Post # 2
    450 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: City, State

    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! 

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 8 months ago by  sarahbc13.
    Post # 3
    9519 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper

    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
    376 posts
    Helper bee

    View original reply
    cantwaittobeemarried:  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. ๐Ÿ™‚

    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
    153 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: March 2015

    I completely agree with 

    View original reply

    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
    3438 posts
    Sugar bee
    • 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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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
    9795 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: September 2013

    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
    2502 posts
    Sugar bee

    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
    13974 posts
    Honey Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 1999

    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
    2027 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: October 2016

    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
    387 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: September 2012

    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
    816 posts
    Busy bee

    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 ๐Ÿ˜–

    Post # 13
    413 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: October 2018

    View original reply
    WillowBee33:  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 ๐Ÿ˜€ I liek it more than plated, tbh. 

    Post # 14
    2849 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: April 2016

    I’ve never been to a wedding with food stations but I think it sounds awesome!!

    Post # 15
    750 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: November 2015

    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.

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