What is a family-style meal, exactly? Think passing the mashed potatoes and stuffing at Thanksgiving dinner with extended family. Now picture this atmosphere at your wedding reception. Your food will be delivered to each table by your catering staff and guests will serve themselves, passing dishes around the table until everyone is served.

Most couples choose between more traditional plated dinners and buffets to serve their wedding guests. However, family-style meals have their merits as well, especially for smaller weddings.

Foster Conversation

One of the biggest reasons couples are interested in serving a family-style dinner is the sense of togetherness it creates. You’re forced to start conversations with the people around you when you ask for the chicken or pasta that’s across the table. For small gatherings where most people are at least acquainted, the resulting meal can feel very much like a holiday dinner at your grandparents’ home.

A Happy Medium

Plated meals are formal and come with a higher price tag. Buffets match a casual atmosphere and are more cost effective. Family-style meals are a happy medium. Guests stay seated but serve themselves from big dishes. You can also serve each course differently. A plated salad and passed main course? Why not. Family-style salads and main course with a buffet dessert table? Whatever works!

Stress Free Centerpieces

Okay, maybe not completely stress free. Choosing to serve your guests family style means that you’ll need room on tables to place food dishes. Think of your delicious food as a centerpiece of sorts. Therefore, your actual centerpieces won’t need to be as tall, wide or elaborate as with other serving styles, saving you both time and money.

Accessible Seconds

One of many guests’ favorite things about a buffet is the ability to wander back for seconds. With a family-style dinner, everyone can take seconds without having to get up! This is great for both lazy teens with bottomless appetites and elderly grandparents who would rather not navigate the venue any more than necessary but want just a smidge more of the green beans.

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