Deciding on Family Style

One of the first vendors we booked after securing our wedding venue, was our caterer. We knew that food would be a huge chunk out of the budget so we wanted to accomplish this early and have the chance to talk to and price multiple vendors. After speaking and receiving quotes from nine different caterers in the area we finally decided on our caterer. As you can imagine, lots of different suggestions were made and a large variety of menus were presented. My fiance and I have only been to weddings that had either a buffet or a plated dinner so we figured those would be our two options. Well much to our surprise, caterers started suggesting family style as a great balance between a buffet and plated dinner. Since many of them have been hired for weddings at our venue, they said it was one of their preferred ways to serve at our venue forĀ logisticalĀ purposes. We were intrigued. After much consideration and speaking with people who have attended family style weddings, we decided to take a chance. We still haven't been to a wedding with service this way but we are excited to see it unfold on our big day.

Source: Pacific Harvest Catering

I found very few resources online on the benefits of family style versus plated or buffet so I thought I'd share a few pro and cons that were shared with me from the nine caterers we spoke to.


Family style dinners typically fall cost wise between plated and buffet

People eat at relatively the same time

It creates an atmosphere of sharing and friendliness

People can still choose what they'd like and how much of each


Pricier than the buffet option

Not always the chef's favorite way to plate

For guests with unique food restrictions, they still may need their own plate

Source: Pacific Harvest Catering

Source: Pacific Harvest Catering