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Elegant Dining: Exploring Different Dining Styles for Your Wedding

Your wedding day is a special occasion, and every aspect should reflect your unique style and preferences. One of the key elements of a memorable wedding is the food! The choice of dinner style can set the tone for the entire evening, whether you're aiming for a formal affair, a relaxed gathering, or something in between. We've seen all different types of dining styles here at Sun Valley. In this blog post, we'll explore different dinner style options to help you choose the perfect setting for your special day.


Formal plated dinner at Cleveland wedding venue
Hunter Harrison Photographic

1. Formal Plated Dinner: A formal plated dinner is a classic choice for couples who want to create an elegant and refined atmosphere. Guests are seated at assigned tables, and a multi-course meal is served by professional waitstaff. Your guests will choose their entree option at the time of RSVPing unless you choose to go with a dual entree option. This style allows for intricate table settings, elaborate centerpieces, and a carefully curated menu. It encourages intimate conversations and creates a luxurious ambiance. You may even have the choice to have your cake plated and served to guests at their table.

late night snack at chagrin falls wedding
EmiLee Hartman Photography

2. Buffet Dinner: A buffet dinner is a popular choice for weddings with larger guest lists or smaller budgets. It offers a wide variety of dishes, accommodating different dietary preferences, and allowing guests to serve themselves. Buffets can be elegant and well-organized, with a professional catering team ensuring that the food presentation is impeccable. This style promotes a relaxed and social atmosphere, as guests can mingle while choosing their meal. You'll want your buffet set close to where your guests are seated to make an easy dinning experience for them.

Cocktail hour food at Cleveland, Ohio wedding venue
Jennifer Elizabeth Photography

3. Family-Style Dinner: A family-style dinner combines the best of both worlds, blending the formality of a sit-down dinner with the communal feel of a buffet. Platters of food are placed at each table, and guests pass them around, encouraging interaction and a sense of togetherness. This option allows for a shared dining experience, making it a great choice for couples who want their guests to feel like one big family. When choosing a family-style dinner, it's important to keep your table decor minimal. With lot's of platters and food being set in the middle of the table, you don't want your table decor to get in the way. A simple greenery garland or small bug vases make for a great centerpiece for a family-style wedding reception!

food display at Ohio wedding venue
Kropp Photography

4. Food Stations: Food stations offer a creative and interactive dining experience. Set up different stations throughout the reception area, each serving a specific type of cuisine, such as a pasta station, a carving station, or a dessert station. This style encourages exploration and socializing, as guests move from station to station, customizing their plates. This is a great option for a multicultural wedding. This way, you can offer a wider choice than if you choose a sit-down meal, and guests can indulge themselves with as many (or as few) dishes as they prefer.

Cocktail hour at Ohio  wedding venue
Jennifer Elizabeth Photography

5. Cocktail-Style Reception: A cocktail-style reception is perfect for couples who want a more casual and mingling-focused atmosphere. Instead of a traditional dinner, guests enjoy a variety of appetizers, small bites, and drinks throughout the evening. This style is ideal for shorter, more informal weddings or those with a limited budget. Cocktail-styled recpetions allow you and your spouse to easily circulate throughout the room and chat with everyone. It also allows for a more social atmosphere where guests can mingle rather than limiting them to interacting primarily with those seated at their table. If you decide to go with this option, make sure to choose a caterer who is familiar with this style of reception. You will need a lot of appetizers to keep your guests happy and full!

Your wedding dinner style is a reflection of your personality and the atmosphere you want to create on your special day. Whether you opt for a formal sit-down dinner, a relaxed buffet, a family-style meal, or something entirely unique, your choice will set the stage for the entire night. Consider your venue, budget, and personal preferences when deciding on the perfect dinner style, and ensure that it aligns with the overall vision you have for your wedding day. You don't always have to go with the traditional chicken and steak option!

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