The wedding reception menu represents a couple’s tastes and personality, rather than simply being a hot meal for guests to “get through before the dancing.” Today, there are many more creative culinary options to choose from. Couples can go with the more traditional plated meals route or opt for an alternative dining flow. The rules regarding wedding menu ideas and dining options have changed and are more flexible today, and we think that’s great!

As experienced Boston wedding planners intimately familiar with the options for wedding feasts, this article will provide an overview of the serving styles and why one might resonate more with your tastes than another.

Wedding Menu Ideas – The Various Options

Plated/table service

Traditional, plated service is a classic choice for couples seeking refined ambiance. Guests indulge in a curated menu, having pre-selected their choices via RSVP cards. Each dish, meticulously prepared, is elegantly presented and brought by servers directly to the tables. 

Plated table service has a time-honored charm and ensures precise portion control, translating to minimal excess/waste. However, remember that plated meals have limited flexibility for last-minute changes and the potential need for extra servers. While not exactly new or different, for couples who want a tried and true dining option, plated service is a homerun. Contrary to what you might think, the plated service is also typically less expensive than a buffet.

Family Style

For couples envisioning a warm, communal atmosphere, the family-style catering option seamlessly blends the best of buffet and plated services. Various dishes, abundant and diverse, are served on large plates, encouraging guests to share and savor together. 

This style offers flexibility without guests having to leave their seats, creating an intimate dining experience. While there is a risk of overordering and the potential for a bit of messiness, that can easily be handled by a skilled serving staff. For less formal weddings, family-style dining has become a popular option.

Food Stations

With food station-style dining, guests walk to a handful of different preparation stations where choices abound, and they can have food made to their liking. Food stations provide a myriad of cuisines that cater to different palates. Whether meat carving stations, sushi stations, or cook-to-order pasta delights, this style reduces wait times, maintains food freshness, and provides lots of variety. It’s important to note that this option requires more staff and food since stations need to be replenished often in anticipation of guests who will come back for more.


Late Night Munchies

From late-night donuts to burritos, burger sliders, or pizza, the post-reception food truck is a wonderful addition to the night, especially for friends of the wedding couple. Food trucks can be life savers for those crowds who could use snacks after drinking and dancing the night away. 

To learn more about wedding caterers and dining options around Boston, Contact us today for insights and recommendations.

Jodi Raphael img