The world of wedding planning can be a difficult one to navigate. One question that may have you feeling lost is what style of dinner service you want to have! Back in the day it was as simple as buffet or plated, but more recently brides are looking into more untraditional dinner styles! With that said, here is a dinner service style breakdown for the newly engaged!

Buffet Style Dinner Service

Everybody loves a good buffet! One long table filled with tons of yummy hot and cold food options. Buffets can easily be used for almost any type of event.  Buffet style service offers more food options for picky eaters. You also have the benefit of being able to skip the assigned seating and escort cards if you choose to. They are also known to be one of the most cost-effective styles of service!

Single Plated Entrée Style Dinner Service

The single plated dinner option is a classic. Your guests can choose between meal options when they RSVP for your event. This allows everyone to have exactly what they want while still offering plated service. Single entrees do take a bit more planning. You need to collect all the meal options, organize them and get them submitted to your caterer. You also typically need to have some type of indicator on each guest’s escort card to let the wait staff know who gets what!

Dual Plated Entrée Style Dinner Service

Dual plated entrees give each guest two types of protein. So rather than selecting beef or chicken on their RSVP card, they will just get both! Those guests who have dietary needs such as vegan, gluten free, etc. can still typically select and alternate option if needed. Dual plated entrees are typically more expensive than single entrees because your guests are receiving twice the food. However, the coordination of these style services is typically much easier because you don’t have the need to track down each meal choice.

Cocktail Style Dinner Service

Cocktail style dinner service is for the modern bride! While cocktail style dinners may seem similar to buffet style, they are actually quite different.  The difference is that instead of just one station with food, there is typically around 3! Each station usually has a different style of food. Guests can roam around to all the stations to get a little bit of everything. Cocktail style events are fun! They get your guests up and moving around! They also usually have more elaborate displays and more creative meal options to offer the visual “wow” factor to your guests! While they are one of the more expensive options, your guests will usually receive the most food with this option. You will want to keep in mind the spacing of your venue. Cocktail Style service does require much more space than a plated entrée.

Family Style Dinner Service

Family Style is looking more and more like one of the most popular styles of service for 2019. This service will have you feel like you’re a kid again, having Sunday dinner with your family. The food is brought out in serving bowls and platters which are placed on each table, then your guests are free to make their plate and pass the entrees around to everyone at the table. This is a great way to get guests talking to everyone at their table and making new friends! Guests also get the luxury of getting exactly what they want to eat, they can have seconds, etc. It’s like having all the benefits of buffet or cocktail style, but your guests don’t have to get up!


Once you decide what style of service you prefer, it’s time to personalize it! With over 30 years of experience in the industry, Zeffert & Gold know exactly how to create your perfect menu. Contact one of our Event Designers today to get started on a custom proposal!