1028 Catering

Formerly Paradise Lake Events

Reception Menus

Dining Styles

Which one is right for you?

The Dining Style you choose can help complete your wedding day vision. After the Cocktail Hour has ended, how do I want to approach the meal? There are three basic reception styles to be considered: Seated-Served, Buffet and “Stations” Menus.

This choice may be an easy one- you may have always imagined a seated-served dinner, for example, and that’s the end of the matter- or you choice might be influenced by the lay-out of that “perfect” function facility. You’ve fallen in love with the place and you’ll do whatever is necessary to hold your event there! Let’s talk about the advantages and disadvantages of all three dining styles.

There is no “best” reception style, it’s a matter of personal taste. It is also a popular misconception that one approach is less (or more) expensive than another. There’s  a notion that if you “go with a buffet” you can save money. In fact, a simple seated-served menu may be less expensive than a buffet, especially when you begin to add multiple entress to the buffet. When it comes time to make menu decisions you just don’t find too many folks opting for a single-entrée buffet. A stations menu, often considered the priciest, could very well total less than a four-course seated served dinner with a filet mignon entrée. It is quite simply a matter of selection.


Choose the style that best suits your personal style and we will be happy to work within your budget to help you have a great reception! Directly below you will find a description of each style followed by menu and pricing options.

Our first suggested dining style is Seated-Served. A seated-serve menu is a traditional plated meal offered course by course at a dining table. Three courses are typical at wedding receptions, a soup or salad, the main course and dessert (wedding cake, petit fours). Each table will be fully set with china, silverware, all necessary glassware and napkins. Floral arrangements or some other kind of decorative table centerpiece is appropriate.

Our second dining style is more about choice. Buffets sill represent a popular option for serving the meal – particularly if you want your guests to have a variety of food options. At a buffet the meal is spread out along a single service line. Buffets will feature a salad, a main course, a vegetable, a starch and rolls and butter. Most brides opt to include 2-3 entrees and perhaps, pasta as well. You can add to a buffet to whatever extent your budget will permit.

Buffets can be impressively beautiful. Buffets need not be flat and unimaginative, veritable “food troughs”, they can have movement. They can have “highs and lows”. You can continue linen and floral table schemes onto the buffet and further enhance the look with complementary linen accents. There can be candlelight! Suffice it to say that the buffet style of dining can be very, very special.

There are two ways to set guest tables should you choose the buffet option. You may decide to set the table formally – much as you would for a seated-served reception (though it is recommended to remove the first course silver). A less formal approach would be to put linen and silverware “roll-ups” at the buffet and limit the table setting to a floral centerpiece and votive candles. Place cards then can be dispensed with and guest seating becomes “casual”.

The last dining style can be one of the most interesting. A food stations menu can bring tremendous energy and excitement to a wedding reception. They are anything but “traditional” and, of course, not for everyone.

In this style of reception the meal is broken up into “stations”. A “carving station” may include tenderloin of beef and a breast of turkey. This station would have various accompaniments such as sauces, perhaps crusty rolls. A salad station might offer an assortment of salads and perhaps a cold vegetable. Seafood stations are extremely popular. Finally, stations may also be theme-based incorporating the décor and regional cuisines of such traditions as Cajun, Caribbean, Southern or Southwestern.

Stations menus are best appreciated if you throw the “book” out the window when planning your reception. This reception style is meant to promote mixing. The mood should be casually elegant. You may want to consider casual or cocktail seating, for example. You may want to consider casual or cocktail seating, for example. Most stations will be set with smaller plates, salad forks, and cocktail napkins. Guests are invited to try different stations at their leisure. Servers will move among the guests providing information about the various stations, removing dirty plates and suggesting that fresh ones can be found at the next station.

It is important to give yourself over to the spirit of this style of dining. An engaged couple may have been to a great stations party and want very much to replicate the excitement – then run into a brick wall when their family strongly “suggests” a more traditional approach (“Your Uncle Harold will have a stroke is he can’t figure out what’s going on!”) A “compromise” is reached and the tables are set for dinner, the stations are arranged a little closer together and large plates are placed at every station. And on the evening of the event the walls are lined with people going from station to station trying to fill their plates. It bears repeating: it is important to give yourself over to the spirit of this style of dining.

You can always choose to go rogue with two Hot Hors D'oeuvres and two Cold Hors D'oeuvres a Cold Station, one Carving Station of your choice.