What is a wedding, or any celebration without food? It would be like gin without tonic, Tom without Jerry, or Love Island without minor celebrities. It just doesn’t make sense, right? Food is an instrumental part of your wedding and how you serve it can set the tone of your wedding reception. The way you serve your wedding meal also reflects you as a couple, so it is important to do things exactly as you would want, whichever style that may be. Let’s look at some of the most popular menu options for a wedding reception here on Koh Tao.
TRADITIONAL SIT-DOWN MEAL
This type of meal tends to be a little bit formal and closest to a restaurant setting and used if there are quite a few guests. Usually, there is a minimum of three courses, entrée, or starter, main meal, and dessert. Caterers will normally provide a couple of different options per course (e.g., vegetable, chicken, or fish), and guests would submit their choices with their RSVP. So, what are the pros and cons of this traditional style?
You know who is eating what. You send out the menu with the invitation and you let your guests know that you need their responses back no later than a certain date. You then hand those responses to your planner or caterer and your work is done. It keeps everything on schedule. If you have your wedding planned right down to the last second, this is probably the best style to go for. Plus, toasts and entertainment can be slotted right in between courses, making everything run like clockwork!
This option is generally the costliest. Depending on the number of guests, you could end up with a larger bill than for a buffet, for example, so think carefully about the menu you are offering. A formal sit-down meal tends not to be the best option if you want all your guests to mingle and get to know each other. Really, the only people who should be moving between tables during the meal are the staff and you, the couple, should you choose to greet your guests at this time.
This one, we are sure brings back a memory or two of weddings you’ve attended in the past. Yes, the wedding buffet is still a popular choice today, although with more exotic food than your mini sausage rolls and egg and cress sandwiches. A buffet style wedding meal makes for a nice, relaxed atmosphere and is a great way for getting people up and moving about.
A buffet means you can really do what you want with food. By this, we mean it can be an entirely cold buffet, with sandwiches, salads, meats, and cheeses, or you can have a hot buffet, with live cooking stations, rice, pad thai, and curries. You can even have a mixture of both. Plenty of choice = happier guests. If someone does not want the beautifully prepared green salad from the buffet, they don’t have to have it. Your guests can just help themselves to what they like and leave what they don’t.
Having your guests being able to help themselves to the foods they want can also have its downside. We are talking portion control. As the couple, you will have no control over how much of things people take, which could be more than their fair share. If you have a tight reception space, there would be a lot of going backwards and forwards to get food which may interrupt the ‘flow’ of the dining experience.
This is a cross between a sit down mean and a buffet. It is an entirely informal way of eating as you have all the different varieties of food on the table before you, you just serve yourself; family style. Think of a big family meal at home, where you pass each other dishes – this is the same, just on a larger scale!
If you want to break the ice and have your guests chat and get to know each other, family style is the way to go! Eating together and passing food around opens conversations up and gets people really communicating. Pass the peas please! There are no queues or waiting for courses. Everything is brought to the table together and people serve themselves. Much more efficient!
You need big tables to accommodate peoples’ plates, glasses, and cutlery, plus serving platters and bowls – this is not an option for small table settings and decor will need to be kept to a minimum. As with a buffet, portion control can be an issue. A person may take more than their fair share, leaving someone without.
Over the last few years, food stations at wedding receptions have become a real hit! You can get stations for almost anything these days; paella, seafood, curry, carvery, the list really does go on. Similar to a buffet meal, this style involves several stations set up around the reception space and people go to each station to get served, then return to their seats.
Photo: Aaron and Jillian Photography
Definitely a fun way of having a wedding reception meal! It creates interest, so is a natural conversation starter among your guests. There is great opportunity for interaction between the guests and chefs or servers, meaning they can choose to have their food prepared the way they want it. Food stations are an awesome way to show of your personality as a couple. If your favourite food is Pad Thai, have that as a live cooking station! If you prefer meats, you can have a BBQ station instead. Love the Thai style sweet pancakes? Hire a local pancake man to flip sweet treats for your guests!
Depending on how many stations you have, you need to consider the size of your reception space. Don’t forget, you need to allow for tables, chairs, and people to be able to move around freely. Keep your budget in mind as with more food varieties, comes more cost.
A cocktail, or hors d’oeuvres style menu is great for those wanting a relaxed and casual wedding reception. Again, slightly like a buffet type meal, except the food is more canape style and is passed around the space by staff so people can just take off the platter when it comes to them. Think of the movies where people go to super fancy events and there are wait staff holding trays and platters of tiny food.
Photo: Kerrie Kelly Design Lab
This style certainly makes for a more casual and social atmosphere. People are not queuing or restricted to tables, they can move around freely and talk to each other while food hovers by. Many different foods can be served this way, which gives your guests plenty of variety.
With this style of eating, things tend to be freer so people are likely to want to drink more. Older guests may find it difficult to stand around for long periods of time so this needs to be taken into consideration. Make sure there is plenty of seating available.
So, which of these delicious options takes your fancy? Are you a sit-down meal kind of couple, or do you prefer to be a bit more casual and share all together family style? Are you into canapes or do you like the idea of having different world cuisines all in one room?