What's the Difference Between a Buffet Table and Food Stations?

Food & Drink
Buffet Versus Food Station Reception Tips

Photo: Erin McGinn

Among the many decisions you'll make when planning your wedding is the choice of food service style. There's formal plate service. There's buffet. There's food stations. And within each type of service are a grouping of micro-options on how exactly you'd like it to be presented (for example, if you choose plated, there's Russian and French service to choose from). If you like a more casual (and frankly, less expensive) vibe and opt for buffet, there's two different options at hand: Single table buffet and food stations. Here, what makes them different.

A single table buffet is exactly as it sounds: One long table with a variety of dishes for your guests to eat. In most cases, there will still be servers standing behind each dish to serve. If you want to dress up your buffet table, you can also add a centerpiece in the middle to tie it in to the rest of the room. Traditionally, even though guests have to get up to get their food, their places will be set with silverware, cutlery, and glasses.

See more: 8 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Wedding Catering

Food stations, on the hand, mean that your dishes will be grouped by type and spread out around the room. The benefit of choosing food stations over a single-table buffet is that it allows for less congestion and mobility. Sometimes with food stations, you'll even have a chef standing behind their grouping (let's say it's a carving station or crêpe station) preparing the food for the guests. The fun thing about food stations too, is that you can completely customize it to your taste and offer your guests more variety than a traditional plated dinner service.

Give a Subscription to Brides Magazine as a Gift

Get personalized planning advice, exclusive offers and must-read wedding news.

Thank You
for Signing Up!

Check your e-mail inbox for the latest updates from brides.com