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Meal Service - What's Your Style?

Michael Evans, owner of Helga's Caterers in McLean, has to be one of the best authorities in NoVA when it comes to wedding receptions. Read on to learn the pros and cons of serving styles to determine which one works best for your wedding theme - and budget .

Weddings come in all different sizes and styles, each uniquely beautiful and representing a happy couple. Based on a couple’s theme and plans for the day, it makes sense then that the style of the reception at a black-tie wedding varies from that of a backyard barbecue.

While there are different styles of catering that can be utilized during your reception, keep in mind that only you and your significant other can decide which option – or options – best fit your needs for your overall wedding vision.

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Sit-down dinners typically consist of a multi-course meal in which each course is plated and served individually to guests. This elegant option allows your guests to feel pampered and is traditionally used for more formal affairs. This style of service has a greater expense due to the increased staffing requirements needed in order to adequately serve your guests.  Formal sit-down dinners can be quite regal, especially when butlered French service is used where each guest is served at the table, offering an extra layer of elegance for your guests.

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Family-style dinners are a cozy, intimate way to serve your guests. With platters and bowls placed on each table, your family and friends have the ability to select their portions through self-service. In order to successfully carry out a family-style meal, you must have enough staff to service each table and enough space at the tables to comfortably fit your guests, as well as the food and equipment.  This style emanates the casual comfort of family gatherings at home – without all of the work and worry!           

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Food stations are a fun, interactive alternative to buffets, allowing for increased flexibility and options. Stations provide your guests with opportunity to customize their meals and they promote mingling in a more casual atmosphere. Because items are often made to order, it’s important to have more staff and more time for dinner. Food stations are a great way to provide an additional dimension to your reception.

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Buffets are always an excellent option, particularly for couples who want to serve a wide variety of food choices to their guests. They provide greater flexibility, allowing guests to pick the items that most satisfy their palates, as well as controlling how much or little of each item is served. This style tends to be the least expensive and may be a good option for those on a budget. With endless display possibilities, buffets are a great way to provide a dramatic focal point for your reception.

By working with your caterer or food & beverage manager, you’ll find the right style that fits your style!

Great advice, Michael! Are you looking for a caterer for your wedding reception, rehearsal dinner or guest brunch? To schedule your consultation with Michael call 703.556.0780 or email mevans@helgascatering.