Post # 1
Help us settle a debate. Our venue offers two types of seated dinner:
Family style, where the two entries (chicken and filet mignon) are served on separate platters in smaller portions. Guests help themselves to one option from both choices. Pros: Encourages interaction, casual, option to try both choices, eliminates the need to track guest options with RSVPs and place cards. Cons: Messy, people have to lift dishes, people may take more than one piece and someone may not get any food.
Plated dinner, where guests select an option before arrival and a recieve larger portion of a single piece. Pros: One of us thinks it’s more elegant (better presentation), neater, and a better option for a destination wedding. Cons: It will require us to track who wants what meal. It might be more difficult to coordinate service (e.g., food arrival times, temperature, etc.)
Our ceremony and reception will be outdoors in Sonoma. The vibe will be informal. The tables will be rectangular. What would you do in our place?
Post # 3
I would do plated.
The last time I was at a family style served reception, 3/10 at our table hardly had anything to eat – all that was left after everyone else got to it was a spoon of mashed potatoes…. we left the reception early and went to mcdonalds.
Post # 4
@JazzJune: definitely plated. i would not risk the chance of one of my guests not getting enough food. there’s always a couple of greedy guests at each table.
Post # 5
I always prefer plated meals as a guest. I will say that family style is better than a traditional buffet. However, the family style receptions we’ve been to have almost always been extra messy. For one, these was a ton of extra marinade on the meat serving plates, leading to spills (both on guests and on the table linens).
Also, if temperature is your concern, we’ve been to two different receptions where the family style platters were served barely lukewarm. Probably more of an issue with the caterer, but it seems to be an issue.
Post # 6
Wow – I’m totally getting outvoted! That’s okay – thanks for your feedback. 🙂 My Fiance will be very happy. lol
Post # 7
Plated. I went to a wedding that was family style and ended up with pasta in my lap when the person next to me didn’t pass the dish properly.
Post # 8
I think that if the caterer is good at their job I prefer the vibe of family style. Just confirm that the waitstaff will bring more food if someone doesn’t get enough.
Post # 9
I think family style fits your venue and feel but I voted plated because like PP said, some people are greedy and selfish in that situation and some guests may end up with not enough food or not their first choice. However, your caterer may be able to have a little extra prepared so that if someone ran out, they could just ask for more xyz. Not sure if that’s something they would agree to.
Post # 10
We’re doing family style. Our caterer charges a bit more for family style because we need extra servers and more food. It’s an Indian reception so the only other real alternative for us is buffet which we didn’t want to do. Our caterer has assured us that the dishes will be replenished as they are finished though, so I’m not worried about food running out. We’re also serving on lazy susans so that no one has to pass a dish. I’m hoping it all works out!
Post # 11
@Osgirl: Ooo – that sounds delicious!
Post # 12
I’ve gone to weddings that did both and i really preferred the family style. It made everyone at the table talk to each other and we had plenty of food. Not sure if they purposely requested extra food or something though.
Post # 13
I’ve never had a family style dinner, but if you have strangers sharing food, it sounds like an aweful idea. It’s just like a mini buffet where the last people to get to it are not gonna have any food.
Post # 14
Another vote for plated. I’ve had family style at weddings and I don’t love it. Inevitably the dish I like doesn’t get passed my way, or it runs out before I get it. I much prefer to just have my own plate to myself.
Also: we had a plated dinner, and it wasn’t really a pain to track people’s meals. We just asked everyone to fill out their choice on the RSVP card, and then we gave the info to the caterer.
Post # 15
I would not want family style with people I dont know. I think I either wouldn’t eat or would eat very little once I saw people digging through the platters.
Post # 16
Personally, I hate family style meals, so I vote plated!