Greenville Weddings Blog

Pros and Cons of a Seated Dinner Versus Food Stations

Though seated dinners are the traditional dining arrangement for upscale weddings, food stations have emerged as a great option to consider, too.  There are many factors to consider when determining what type of food service best suits your event, and it’s important to stress that there isn’t a single “right” decision, but how you choose to serve food can have a significant impact on the overall vibe of the event.  Here are some things to consider as you think through whether a seated dinner or food stations are right for you.

Seated Dinners

The Pros

  • More traditional and highlights service.  Still the “go to” for events that are labeled black tie.
  • Once everyone is seated, it can be easier to get guests’ attention for toasts, cake cutting, etc.
  • Older guests and guests with small children often prefer this style of service, as seating is assigned and guaranteed.
  • Simpler menu selection process, as there will either be a fixed menu for everyone or very limited options to choose from the night of the event.

The Cons

  • Table service requires time to be done right.  This means guests may be seated for well over an hour, which can damper the party vibe.
  • Additional planning is required, as seated dinners work best when there are table assignments.  This means, at a minimum, you’ll need seating charts and table numbers.
  • Food options are limited. If you know you have a wide variety of dietary restrictions and preferences among your guests, this can make a plated meal difficult to execute well.
  • Done right, seated dinners require a significantly greater number of staff to execute.  This can

Seated Food Stations

The Pros

  • On-trend and automatically gives your event a more modern feel.
  • Encourages guests to mingle and interact with more than just a few people at their table.
  • Wider variety of menu items to choose from means a greater likelihood that everyone finds something they like.
  • Can allow for more casual seating arrangements.

The Cons

  • Requires significantly more room, so that stations may be properly positioned for good flow.
  • Can be more difficult to get guests’ attention for toasts, cake cuttings, etc. as there aren’t natural breaks in service.
  • You’ll need more food than if you serve a plated dinner. In other words, don’t expect food stations to equate to cost savings.
  • Some older guests may find the “small plates” from various stations to be “too much work”.

And if you’re looking for something in between a formal plated dinner and food stations, buffets are another option worth considering.  No matter how you decide you want to serve your guests a meal, it’s an important decision that will impact the flow of the entire event. 

Menu Options for Weddings in Greenville

Find out more about menu options at some of Greenville’s top wedding and rehearsal dinner venues, including UP on the Roof and Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Ruth’s Chris has two restaurants in the Greenville area: 250 Riverplace in Downtown Greenville or 851 Congaree Road at Greenville I-385.