There are many decisions a bride must make when planning the big day; one of the most important is the style of dining. Will the reception be seated or stationed? Here is our take on the great debate!
Generally speaking, seated dinners have been the standard in the North, while heavy hors d’oeuvres or stationed receptions are traditionally Southern. Interestingly, in the past few years we have seen an upswing in stationed weddings on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line.
We think the change is a reflection of our general eating preferences. Particularly in urban areas, small plates have been gaining popularity. Tapas-style dining, rather than eating a single large course, allows you to explore a wide range of flavors and cuisine. Stationed dinners give guests a similar opportunity to try a wide variety of food styles.
There are two important differences between seated and stationed meals that should be considered before making your decision: cost and flow.
Cost. Stationed events and seated events tend to cost about the same, but the money will be spent differently. The food at a stationed event will be more expensive as the caterer will need to provide a surplus of items. The surplus prevents a popular item from running out.
However, a seated event will typically require more staff for service. Floral and table decor costs may also be higher as each guest will require his own plated seat.
Flow. Seated dinners tend to create a more formal setting and are ideal for couples who would like to include multiple speeches throughout the evening. With a seated audience, it is easy to capture guests’ attention for blessings, welcomes, and toasts. It can also give the bride and groom more time to spend with their wedding party or those seated closest to them.
Stationed dinners give guests more flexibility to mingle with one another, and are ideal for a group that wants to spend more time dancing. Stationed events are intentionally less structured, so they tend to feel more relaxed. Stations work best with open floor plans and fewer tables to allow plenty of room for guests to move around. Stationed events also cut back on the pre-wedding challenges of assigning tables and providing printed materials to direct guests to assigned seats.