How to Choose the Best Catering Style for Your Wedding

Summer may be the season of choice for many couples, and the reason might have to do with the flexibility to choose the best catering style. You can go the classic route with all its bells and whistles, or you can go with something a little more casual and modern; the choice is yours.

To make things easier, we’ve put together a list of our favourite catering styles – which you may fall in love with, too!

Your guests will never forget seeing you walk down the aisle towards the love of your life, watching you share your first kiss as husband and wife, listening to the beautiful live music you chose, admiring the stunning décor, and, obviously, the delicious food.

The wedding theme and the two of you as a whole can all be tied together by the catering style you pick. To compliment your rustic colour palette, consider a quaint, vintage-inspired food truck, or if you like a rather sophisticated, elegant look – a formal plated multi-course menu.

Although many Australian couples still like the traditional alternate-drop catering style, other styles are gaining increased popularity. These include roving finger food, food trucks, buffets, feasting platters, and grazing tables, which allow your guests to pick what they want.

The best catering style for your Sydney wedding depends on several factors, including your budget, venue space, personal taste, and any dietary restrictions your guests might have.

We’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite catering styles in case your share our taste.

Considerations for choosing the best catering style for your wedding in Sydney

When planning your wedding, the type of food served at the reception is an important decision to make. The catering style you pick will affect not just the food your guests eat but also the mood and atmosphere of your big day. Here are some things to think about before making a final decision on the catering style for your wedding:

  1. Guest count: Think about how many people will be attending your wedding when deciding on a catering style. There are a wide variety of catering options, some of which are more suited to huge wedding receptions than others. While plated dinners are more practical for smaller gatherings, buffets and food stations are better suited for bigger ones.
  2. Budget: Different catering styles may have varying costs associated with them, and it’s essential to align your catering choice with your budget. It’s possible, for instance, that a formal plated dinner or multi-course tasting menu would cost more than a buffet or family-style catering.
  3. Venue: The location and set-up of your wedding venue may also impact your catering style choices. Some venues might have specific limitations and/or suggestions that might disrupt your wedding plans if you don’t know about them. Some culinary options, such as live cooking stations and grills, may not be possible in outdoor venues due to fire codes, so it’s important to work closely with your venue coordinator and caterer to ensure the catering style of choice aligns with the venue’s requirements and logistics.
  4. Dietary restrictions: It’s estimated that up to 25% of people in Australia have some form of food intolerance or dietary restrictions, which means the chances of you having to cater to one is very high. In order for your guests to be comfortable ordering from the menu, be sure to provide vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free alternatives.
  5. Wedding theme and style: Your wedding’s theme and style may also have an impact on the catering style you opt for. A BBQ or food truck, for instance, can be ideal for a casual outdoor wedding. However, if you’re planning a formal black-tie wedding, a plated dinner or a multi-course tasting menu may make more sense.

Choosing the best catering style for your Sydney wedding

Plated/sit-down dinner

For a traditional wedding experience that flexes with the times, you can’t go wrong with exquisitely prepared multi-course meals. A sit-down plated reception dinner typically consists of a two or three-course plated meal with a couple of main course options served by the waitstaff at the table. 

A table service sit-down dinner is best suited for a formal wedding and evening reception, where guests may be seated for several hours to enjoy a good meal and a heart-warming speech. So, if you’re looking for a more joyous or “party” wedding, this might not be the right fit for you; guests must remain seated for an extended period of time in order for the waiters to serve and clean the dishes between the meals.

This may also not be the right fit for a wedding with lots of children or one where guests would rather be dancing around and speaking beyond their own tables.

A plated/sit-down meal is more expensive owing to the number of waitstaff required to attend to guests – especially if they’re pouring wine. That said, you can save a lot on the amount of food necessary to be served, as opposed to, say, a buffet. This way, you may be able to afford far better quality and no food wastage. The same goes for wine. Guests tend to drink less when served at the table.

 Buffet

Buffets may be the best choice for couples looking for an affordable catering style that offers more variety than formal sit-down meals. They allow for greater flexibility in that your guests will be gifted the freedom of choice to indulge in their favourite dishes and portion sizes – all while being served by expert caterers.

When deciding what buffet menu to provide, you can let your imagination run as wild as you wish. From savoury to sweet, the possibilities are endless. That said, this beloved wedding catering style could be tricky to pull off. It’s important to have the right professionals in charge to ensure a smooth flow. After all, who would want long lines, and even chaos, on their special day?

Going buffet style requires smart space management. You want ample room for guests to move around as they go back and forth from their tables.

Most of all, the look and feel are everything, including the buffet tables themselves. They should complement the overall look and vision of your wedding, so be sure to choose wisely based on the amount of food and size of tables you’ll need.

Elegant and seamless – that’s the way to go! 

Boardwalk Catering is a popular choice for many couples in Sydney. The reasons are many. But if we have to narrow it down, 3 main reasons come to mind: (1) quality of service, (2) the varied yet delectable food menus we offer, and (3) expertise backed by rewards and certificates.

We’ll be working closely with you to craft the perfect menu that speaks to you and your guests using only the finest quality ingredients. Our mission is to create a memorable dining experience.

Food trucks

Looking to breathe new life and character into your wedding day? Food trucks are for you. Couples have grown fond of these charming restaurants on wheels because they bring venue versatility, limitless culinary options, cost-efficiency, fast clean-up, and endless Instagrammable photoshoots!

Food trucks are simply perfect for outdoor weddings. They add an exquisite touch to your overall theme and décor, not to mention the unique flair they bring to your special day. The best part? The made-to-order nature of food trucks means your meals are prepared and served fresh, right before your very own eyes.

Thanks to the flexibility that this catering style brings to the table, you can be sure that your 100-150 guests will be leaving with happy taste buds and satisfied bellies.

Food stations

Is variety important to you? Why not set up some delicious food stations to please both the tastebuds and the eyes? Food stations are one of the best wedding catering styles that gives your guests the opportunity to wander from station to station, indulging in a variety of tasty treats handpicked from creative vendors.

Food stations are ideal for catering to a wide range of preferences, dietary restrictions, and allergies. While serving times may be extended on occasion depending on their number, guests can choose their meals as they wish (while enjoying the interactive food station set-ups).

Canapes

Canapes are a brilliant choice for a casual, cocktail-style wedding event. They’re easy to serve, don’t require much space or technical set-ups, and offer time flexibility. More often than not, couples choose between five and ten canape options – which would allow guests to indulge in bite-sized tastes of various cuisine and luxuries.

While this catering style can be more affordable due to its smaller size and labour costs, keep in mind that premium cuts of meat or exotic, high-quality ingredients may make them more expensive than expected.

Unless your guests are expecting large, hearty meals, canapes are especially suitable for an evening under the stars or a light lunch affair at your wedding. However, you could still get creative with international cuisines and visual aesthetics.

Final thoughts

To decide on what catering style to go with, you ought to consider factors like your guest count, venue space, dietary restrictions, and the overall theme and décor of your wedding.

By thoroughly evaluating these factors, you can choose the perfect style that aligns with your unique vision and priorities. At Boardwalk, we want to make sure you have all the valuable insights you need to understand the different catering styles available for weddings in Sydney; and remember, working closely with your caterer of choice is essential to plan and execute the catering service in as seamless a manner as possible.