Wedding Cakes & Food Forum

Plated dinner vs. interactive stations?

My FI and I are currently debating whether or not to do a plated dinner or interactive stations for our Spring 2015 wedding. We will be having a Saturday evening event for approx. 70 people. 

The plated menu would be a salad course and then guests would have a choice of filet mignon, salmon or scallops, and a vegetarian option with one or two sides and bread. 

The interactive stations would begin with a plated salad. We would then open the stations for guests: a pasta station with ravioli and penne with various sauces, some kind of red meat (hopefully filet) with a mashed potato bar with various kinds of potatoes and toppings, and a sushi station with a sushi chef who would custom make sushi rolls for our guests. 

Both options would have wedding cake and then a buffet of mini desserts for our guests as well. 

My FI is more traditional and likes the more formal plated option. He thinks stations are a "glorified buffet" and feels it's too casual for our wedding. I was opposed to stations at first, but after talking to our wedding planner, I like that there's something for everyone and it's more interactive (people get up to mingle). We also have a big event space (a giant lawn in front of an estate), so I think stations will help fill up the space a little bit.

So, what would you prefer as a guest - stations or plated? 

Re: Plated dinner vs. interactive stations?

  • Sorry, I have no idea why this posted 3x! Any way we can delete the other posts?
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    As a guest, I would prefer the stations.  I like options and I find that stations/buffets provide more options (and also a chance to get more of what you liked) and also the food is always hotter then a plated meal.  But then again, I am not a huge formal event type of girl which plated meals are the norm.

    I think that when stations are done right and provided high quality/high end food that they are definitely more formal then your typical buffet line.

  • ElcaBElcaB member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    The stations sound nice, but that can turn into a huge clusterfuck depending on your venue and number of guests. 

    I'd go plated. 
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  • cupcait927cupcait927 Western NY wine country member
    Eighth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    I love the idea of stations! I've been to events where they served in stations and it was wonderful. You do get the chance to mingle a little bit and you get to try a little bit of everything.
  • beachyone15beachyone15 TEXAS (the home of my exes) member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary First Answer
    We had the same dilemma and ultimately chose plated. It will be less hassle and probably more comfortable for our guests (we are inviting 150). Looking at the cost, it was actually less expensive for us to do plated, so maybe compare costs if that's a concern for you. In a way it worked out for the best b/c FI's family is hosting the rehearsal dinner at their house and are planning on having it catered with stations!


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  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    ElcaB said:
    The stations sound nice, but that can turn into a huge clusterfuck depending on your venue and number of guests. 

    I'd go plated. 
    If done right it really isn't a cluster.  We had stations for 130 guests and there were no issues and hardly any lines.  All the feedback I heard was that they loved the stations, loved the fact that they had options and could go back for seconds (or thirds in some cases).

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Ninth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Both are okay, but which one you should choose is rather subjective.

    It might be a "know your guests" kind of thing.  Also, if one option is cheaper than the other, and costs are an issue, it might make more sense to use the cheaper option.  So I can't give you advice there.  My own preference would be for plated options, so that I don't have to get up, get served, and then bring my plate back to the table.  But I have been to buffet receptions where this worked out fine.
  • csuavecsuave member
    500 Comments Third Anniversary 100 Love Its Name Dropper

    I have only been to one stations wedding and it was awesome.  Quite possibly the best quality food I have had a wedding.  The whole wedding was very upscale and the quality of food only complemented the luxury vibe. 

    In short I would prefer stations but I would also like your plated option very much. 

  • theartistformerlyknownastheartistformerlyknownas peaced out. member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers First Anniversary
    I prefer plated just because I'm lazy and don't want to have to get up and roam around for food. Plus I find it's normally cold by the time I get through everything I want and back to the table. (Because I want ALLTHETHINGS, and don't want to risk anything running out before I get there. I'm greedy like that.)

    I do love stations for hors d'oeuvres though.

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  • mysticlmysticl member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    Go with what food option you like best.  Don't do one just because you think it will make people mingle.  It won't.  The "interactive" aspect will be guests interacting with event staff, not each other.  
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  • RebeccaB88RebeccaB88 Figment of Your Imagination member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    As a guest I'd way prefer the stations. I've never had a plated meal that I've liked - they're always cold, not cooked correctly (overdone usually), and take forever to be served. Plus, the menus are just boring, because they have to choose food that can be held warm, so it's never freshly cooked when you get it. The plated menu you described is fine but a snooze. It's the same menu every plated event has. The station's menu is different enough that it might be more exciting to people. The stations sound great and I'd love to eat that meal.
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