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What is Family Style Dinner Service?

Interested in having a Family Style Dinner for your wedding but not sure what it entails? Here is the rundown on Family Style service and our suggestions!


What is Family Style Dinner Service? At its core, Family Style is a plated dinner option. Your guests get to stay in their seats and have food brought to them table side. With a classic plated dinner, your guests would have a pre-made plate of food set in front of them that reflects what they ordered when they RSVP’d. Family Style is a bit different in that each entree, side dish, salad, etc. is brought to the table in one big bowl or on a platter. Your guests can then pass around the dishes and serve themselves whatever they like. Just like family dinners at home!

Citrus Spring Mix

Photo: @cameronandtia

Family style gets everyone to be social as they’ll need to share and pass the dishes around the table. It is the best of both worlds between a buffet and plated service; you do not have to keep track of what everyone is eating and guests get to put whatever they like on their plate. Being our fastest style of service is also a plus for couples with strict timelines!


Now let’s talk specifics. Structurally, what does a family-style meal look like? We suggest you start with:

1 Salad - Plated before OR served Family Style with the main meal.

1 Starch - e.g. Smashed Potatoes, Wild Rice Pilaf, Creamy Onion Farro, etc. 1 Veggie - e.g. White Wine Butter Roasted Veggies, Green Bean Almondine, etc.

2 Proteins - e.g. Chicken Breast, Salmon Filet, Sliced Sirloin, Apple Sage Rolled Pork Loin, etc.

1 Sauce Per Protein - e.g. Gorgonzola Cream drizzled Chicken Breast, Red Wine Demi drizzled Sirloin, etc. 

We serve the vegetarian entrée by request. Sometimes clients will add on pasta or gnocchi as a 3rd side instead of having a separate Vegetarian option. This allows vegetarians to have a hearty plate and all guests can try a bit as well.

Mediterranean Pork Loin


A question that often comes up is how do we determine how many pieces of each protein to serve at a table? Usually, clients will choose to serve 2 different proteins (in this case let's say chicken and beef). Instead of providing 1 piece of chicken and 1 piece of beef for each guest, knowing much of that would go to waste, we do half beef and half chicken (plus 1-2 extra portions) per table. Many couples choose proteins that are or can be sliced for easy sharing. For example, asking us to slice the Chicken Breast or choosing an option like Sliced Sirloin. This way all your guests can try a bit of everything offered. If a table requests more of one of the dishes, we like to make sure every table gets their share and then we are happy to bring out additional servings! 


If you would like to hear more about the pros and cons of a Family Style dinner service for your wedding, request a quote or send an email to, and one of our experienced wedding coordinators will tell you all about it!


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