Reception Meal Styles to Consider: Buffet, Sit Down, or Stations

In most cases, the bulk of your wedding budget will be spent on food and beverage. When providing dinner service to your guests, you as the host will have 3 reception meal styles to consider: Buffet, Sit Down, or Stations. Each choice has pros and cons… it just depends on which fits your style!

Reception Style #1: Buffet

What is a buffet? It is a meal consisting of several dishes stationed on a long table from which guests streamline through and serve themselves. To create a more formal buffet, servers will sometimes assist guests. But in the end, this style is considered to be the most casual of meal service.

Reception Meal Styles to Consider

Pros: Buffets provide your guests with more options of meat, sides and sauces. You can please the masses without having your guests choose their entrée prior to your event. Buffets also save a small amount of money for wait staff since the caterer needs fewer people tending to the buffet instead of each table.

Cons: The downfall of buffets include time. Since guests are not professional food handlers, they tend to move at a slower pace when moving through the line. Also, a buffet requires an overage of each dish to ensure no entrée or side runs out. Caterers cannot guess how much each guest will take; therefore, an overage of food increases the cost.

Reception Style #2: Sit Down

Reception Meal Styles to Consider

A sit down, plated style of dinner is considered the most traditional and formal option as guests are served an individually plated meal… in most cases, one they have pre-selected in their RSVP. The meal typically consists of three courses: an appetizer/salad, entrée and dessert. Caterers will usually give guests the option between two entrées, which are selected beforehand, or they will offer a duo plate consisting of two proteins.

Pros: All of your guests will be served at the same time! With preselecting meal options, the caterer will know exact amounts. A plated dinner also provides the opportunity to time event formalities (such as dances and toasts) between courses to keep guests entertained and engaged throughout the meal service.

Cons: A greater number of serving staff is required to cater every table individually. Also, some venues do not offer a plated sit down due to lack of kitchen space. Imagine 300 entrée plates lined up in the kitchen… that's some major square footage!

Reception Style #3: Food Stations

Reception Meal Styles to Consider

A station style reception is where the event's meal choices are distributed at various tables in your main event space. Station examples include a carving station, a raw bar, a tapas station, a pasta station, a dessert station, and the list goes on.

Pros: A fun variety of dishes can be made available including themed stations (like a pierogi or taco bar) that you might not see at a more formal setting. With "cook to order" stations, guests can request the amount of sauce or level of spice, etc.

Cons: Considered a new-age style of event dining, many of your guests treat it like a buffet… taking a full dinner plate of food at each station. Stations are made for snacking, tasting, and enjoying smaller portions of each fun theme. The amount of consumption and waste may rack of up your catering bill.

Contact us today if you have any questions about reception meal styles or questions for your wedding in general. Check out our website for more information!

MuseumLab wedding venue is a unique place in Pittsburgh that embraces a "beautiful ruin" style. It retains a lot of the original library building's past grandeur and historic roots while still providing brides with updated modern features and amenities. They feature an ornate entrance, high arches, unique spaces, and inspiring artwork throughout the venue that will truly capture the attention of every guest in attendance!

Because of MuseumLab's intricate design, couples have access to three floors during their celebration. While weddings are held throughout the venue depending on a couple's specific needs, most prefer to host their ceremony on the 1st floor Grable Gallery, cocktails on the 2nd floor Gathering Space, dinner in the 3rd floor Assembly Hall, and then return back to the Gathering Space for dancing and dessert. And with this kind of access, they can accommodate 120 guests for a traditional ceremony and sit-down dinner and up to 200 for a simple ceremony.

Once a couple books their wedding at MuseumLab, they are able to use the space for a 4-hour celebration with the option to add a 5th hour for an additional fee. Couples have access to a large number of tables and chairs and parking is available at their Children's Museum venue next door at no additional fee for guests.

Couples know that they're in good hands at MuseumLab based on their exclusive vendor list as well. They work with four exclusive caterers: Big Catering, Rania's Catering, Parkhurst, and All in Good Taste Productions. They also use All Occasions as their exclusive rental company.

With all of the different offerings that they offer, it's no wonder why brides love booking their wedding at MuseumLab. They truly make a lasting impression and it's difficult to find another space like it in Pittsburgh.

If you have any questions about the MuseumLab wedding venue, contact us at Hello Productions. We are happy to help make your wedding day special!