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What Are the Most Successful Catering Options at a Wedding?

Successful Catering Options at a Wedding

There’s no shame in wanting the best of the best for your wedding. It’s one of the most important days of your life, and you want it to be a special day in the lives of your loved ones as well. Planning the perfect wedding can be a stressful task as there are a lot of bases to cover, but fairytale endings don’t come easy!

According to The Knot’s 2016 Real Weddings Study, the average wedding costs a whopping $35,329! The survey was based on responses from nearly 13,000 brides and grooms who tied the knot in 2016.

It’s getting harder and harder to plan your perfect wedding while staying within budget. The main reason for the increasing cost of weddings? Food.  

One of the most critical decisions couples have to make is what food to serve guests. Over the years, wedding menus have significantly evolved and now you have a host of catering options to choose from. Previously, couples only had two choices when it came to catering: a plated wedding or a buffet wedding.  

Nowadays, this decision is much more complicated as there are various options like cocktail-style reception, family-style wedding dinners and even food trucks!

Let’s be real; most of us have never had to feed 150 people before. It’s normal to feel the pressure; this is unchartered territory and that’s not a fun place to be, especially on one of the biggest days of your life.

Since food and drinks essentially fuel your party, it’s important to figure out the best serving style for your special day. Don’t worry, we’ll help you figure out the pros and cons of some main catering options that will help you consider the right choice for you.  



A buffet is a meal featuring long tables where guests serve themselves from a wide array of options, with no limit as to how much they can eat.

Servers often stand behind the table and provide details of the dishes presented. It’s one of the two most traditional forms of wedding catering


Guests often prefer buffets to a plated meal simply because the former usually offer a wider variety of food. Offering free food with no limit on how much you can eat is a sure-fire way of ensuring that you’re viewed by your guests as generous.

Couples opt for buffets especially because it’s the more casual option and gives guests the opportunity to interact with one another. After all, weddings are the perfect setting to rekindle old friendships and catch up with distant family members.

Surprisingly, some buffets often end up being lighter on the pocket compared to plated dinners. This is due to less wait-staff being used as compared to plated dinners in which one server is assigned to one or two tables each.

Buffets also help you cater to different palates and offers options for guests with food allergies or other dietary restrictions.


If you’ve opted for a small venue for your wedding, then a buffet is probably not the best option for you. As guests have to either stand in line or wait for their table’s turn before they can head to the buffet table, it may take a while for people to be served.

This can cause unrest among your guests as they tend to get impatient. Long queues at buffet tables can be a major problem if the venue is small.

As having “seconds” is the norm, you have to make sure there’s enough food for everyone. This is why high-end buffets end up putting a significant dent in your budget.

The traditional plated dinner

The usual alternative to buffets is plated dinners. The guests are served three courses: appetizer, entrée, and dessert.


If you’re one of those couples that want your wedding to be a classy affair, then a plated dinner is the answer! The traditional plated is generally considered to be the most formal option of catering.

There’s no doubt it’s more convenient for guests as food is served to them at the table with no hassle of waiting in line like in a buffet. Unlike in buffets, everyone is served their meals at the same time.

One would think that as plated dinners are more formal, they may cost more than buffets, but with proper planning, this can be avoided. Unlike buffets, plated dinners allow you to be flexible. As each meal is priced differently, you can select a three-course meal that’s more in line with your budget.

There’s also less wastage of food as you know exactly how many people need to be served. Couples also opt for this service as it allows them to plan activities as the courses are served such as the newly-wed couple’s first dance and toasts.


While you may be able to select a meal that’s in line with your budget, the number of waiting staff you have to hire for a plated dinner service ensures that this option isn’t pocket friendly.  Ideally, you’d want to have one server for at least two tables to ensure quick service.

Couples often opt out of this option as it’s almost impossible to devise a menu that can cater to everyone. Naturally, you don’t want anyone at your wedding to leave hungry, so it’s important to be considerate of people with dietary restrictions and food allergies.  

Unlike buffets, plated dinners require a lot more planning as you often have to attend multiple food-tastings before you finalize your menu.  

The traditional plated dinner

Family-style dinners

This is a trend that has picked up a lot of popularity in recent times as it combines elements of both plated and buffet dinners. Similar to a plated dinner, servers bring the food to your table but instead of serving you a portion, they serve a platter for the entire table.


Couples opt for this as it makes the dining experience more personal as guests use this chance to mingle with others at their table. This is the ideal menu for couples who are looking to add a personal twist to the dinner menu as they can select dishes that they have an emotional connection to.

Similar to a buffet, guests can have as much food as they like; usually, there’s an ample amount on each platter for everyone. Unlike plated dinners and buffets, family-style dinners ensure quick service. This is perfect for couples who want to minimize meal-time and move onto other wedding activities.


Family-style dinners often end up being even more expensive than plated weddings as you have to serve platters on each table instead of portions. Servers need to be present at each table to ensure that the food is enough for each person. However, more servers mean that you’ll end up spending an exorbitant amount on waiting-staff.

As the traditional platters served on each table tend to take up a lot of space, you may have to rethink your choice of tables. Ultimately, having larger tables to accommodate platters will end up increasing your cost.

Cocktail-style reception

A lot of adventurous foodie couples tend to favor cocktail-style receptions because of their eccentric nature. Servers pass around hors d’oeveurs which are one-bite portions of hot and cold options. More and more couples are opting for this style as it’s an extremely cost-effective option compared to buffets and plated dinners.

Cocktail-style receptions also minimize the risk of food wastage. Some couples opt for this as they see it as a more eco-friendly option.


It is ideal for couples that want their wedding day to be a less-traditional, laid-back occasion where the guests are more worried about having a great time, rather than having a three-course meal.

Cocktail-style receptions encourage a more relaxed atmosphere where people can mingle with loved ones and the newly-wed couple.

It’s not easy for young couples who are finding their feet, to fund an entire wedding. A cocktail-style wedding is a budget-friendly option that can help you save up on costs that you can allocate to other aspects of the wedding you deem more important such as décor.


Many people haven’t attended a cocktail-style reception and may be expecting a full meal. Guests may also view this you penny-pinching and some might even take offense because they may have traveled a long distance to be there.

A cocktail-style dinner often has limited seating which may lead to them missing beautiful moments such as the first dance. As there will be limited food, some guests may over-drink and this may lead to unruly behavior that could ruin your special day.

Food Trucks

Do you think of yourself as a risk-taker? Well, how do you like the idea of having food trucks serve at your wedding? Most of you are probably reading this and wondering “who does that?”

 While it’s far from traditional, food trucks have gained popularity among the couple who want their weddings to be deeply personal and why not? After all, it’s your special day!


Having a food truck at your wedding is a great way to make sure nobody ever forgets it! Not many people have gone to weddings that have been catered by food trucks so chances are, they’ll remember it.

You could hire different food trucks, each of them offering your favorite cuisines and it will still fall far below what you would’ve spent on more traditional catering. This is perfect for couples who are having an outside reception and have a limited budget.

Your guests won’t even have to wait long in line as food trucks are generally very efficient in serving food quickly. Managing your wedding is stressful enough as it is but food trucks provide a welcome relief for couples who are on a tight budget.


You may leave a lot of people confused by your choice as the concept of food truck catering weddings is fairly new. Guests are used to weddings being a formal affair and may be thrown off by the idea of standing in line waiting for a food truck to serve them.

Additionally, food trucks usually offer limited options and can be problematic for people with food allergies. Some food truck owners charge excessively for covering wedding so you may want to compare the costs versus a buffet and plated dinner.

If you’re thinking of hiring a food truck for your wedding, be sure to check the weather forecast! There’s always the risk of rain ruining the party as no one will want to stand outside and get their clothes wet just for food.

Marrying the love of your life is a special day in anyone’s life and it’s completely natural to want your wedding day to be memorable for you and your loved ones.  For better or worse, people remember the food served at your wedding.

What style of catering you choose is entirely your preference and each style has its pros and cons. However, select a style that fits with the theme of your wedding. At BeDazzle My Events, we offer premium buffet style and plated catering for your wedding. Check out our catering menu!  

It’s essential to choose a well-respected company to arrange your wedding as you don’t want to take risks on your special day. BeDazzle My Events offers party rentals in Orange County at an affordable cost. We’re a party rental service in California that offers everything from dance floor rentals to tent rentals.

Our team of experts at BeDazzle My Events has a history of excellence. We’ve been providing outstanding event management services to the residents of California for the better part of 10 years.

Whether it’s catering or décor, we’ll make sure to bring your dream wedding to life. Contact us and we’ll help make your wedding memorable!  

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