Wedding dinners used to be a very formal affair, with guests seated at their designated spots and served a meal. While some couples asked about allergies and food intolerances, not all guests were accommodated.
Buffets then became popular, offering guests more options and the ability to avoid disliked foods. Nowadays, interactive food stations are on the rise and appearing more often on wedding planning checklists.
So what exactly is an interactive food station? These are essentially buffets divided into smaller sections scattered throughout the dining area. Some stations may have a caterer to assist with selections, while others allow guests to serve themselves. However, interactive food stations may not appeal to everyone, and if this is something that interests you, consider the following suggestions.
It's essential to factor in the cost of staffing for each station if you need a caterer at every location, such as for an oyster bar where staff may need to shuck oysters for several hours. Be sure to make accommodations for guests with mobility issues who may find food stations difficult to access. Additionally, some guests, such as grandparents, may prefer a more formal approach. It's also worth considering that the idea of choosing food for stations can be overwhelming for bridal couples.
On the plus side, interactive food stations offer a less formal atmosphere, fewer long lines at the buffet, more opportunities for guests to mingle, a chance for guests to select precisely what they want, a greater variety of food options, and unique presentations. Additionally, food stations can be used for just dessert, and if the whole meal is offered at stations, you may be able to forego the seating charts.
The possibilities for interactive food stations are limitless, and guests can enjoy a diverse range of options such as an oyster bar, ethnic entrees, a salad bar, barbecue, a crepe station, an ice cream bar, or a s'mores firepit.
Although in-person classes are currently unavailable at the Institute of Wedding and Event Design (IWED), America's top event design courses are still accessible online. The Digital Campus offers professionally produced, step-by-step videos that allow you to learn how to design beautiful events from the comfort of your own home. Your IWED Student Kit can be uploaded, and our dedicated online instructor will review your progress.
If you're interested in interactive food stations, share your favorite stations in the comments section. We would love to hear from you.