Hors d'oeuvres Station

Dream Tips: Wedding Stations vs. Buffets

Congratulations, you’ve made it this far in the planning process! Now it’s time to plan your catering. If you’ve decided to do your reception buffet-style in lieu of a plated meal, are you thinking about food stations or a traditional buffet? Both are tried and true, but which one is right for you?

Some of the main factors to consider are your head count, venue size, any dietary restrictions, and, of course, the overall style of your reception. We’ve outlined the key benefits of each option below!

STATIONS

Stations are typically set up around the dining area, create a more social dynamic, and tend to be a bit more interactive.

Roasted Pork Loin Slider Station

Social Dynamic

Having appetizer or entree stations spaced out around the venue allows guests to linger and roam to different areas as they please, creating a more relaxed vibe. Different stations with different food options also make for good talking points and will get your guests socializing and interacting!

Diversity 

With stations, you can have different themes or cuisines at each one and customize your selections. You can have an Asian fusion station, Southern hors d’oeuvres, and an oyster bar! The combinations are endless, and different options are sure to satisfy your guests and their different dietary needs.

Photo-worthy Setups

What’s cuter than bite-sized chicken and waffles or mini salads? Stations allow room for more creativity when customizing your menu so you can factor in their displays for picture-worthy bites!

Trio of Mini Salads Station
Raw Fish and Oyster Station

BUFFETS

Buffets are usually set up on long tables with several main courses and sides for your guests to choose from.

Assorted Buffet Trays of Southern Comfort Food

Efficiency

While stations might be ideal for larger parties because there is less congestion waiting in a line, buffets might be more up your alley if you have a smaller head count. Less guests equals less foot traffic! Having a smaller guest list also means less dietary requirements, so a traditional buffet may be all you need.

Simplicity 

A traditional buffet may be a better option if you don’t have as much space for multiple stations or if you are looking to have a seated dinner with a more casual atmosphere.

Planning 

While you can choose any of your favorite entrees and side dishes for your buffet, traditionally people go for a single theme or cuisine. This means one less thing to plan and less decision fatigue!

Buffet Tray of Green Bean Salad with Grape Tomatoes and Bell Peppers
Buffet Tray of Mac and Cheese

At the end of the day, choosing to have stations or a traditional buffet— or even a mix of both!— all depends on your personal preference and how you envision the overall atmosphere of your wedding reception or event. Your guests are sure to love whatever you decide!