Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Family–Style Food Service For Your Reception?

OK everybody's heard of eating Family-Style at restaurants, right, where each entrée or side is served on a big plate and the whole table shares?  Well I was at Maggiano's last week and experienced Family-Style service... with a wedding twist!

Picture your wedding reception: gorgeous linens, amazing centerpieces, great music, all your friends and family sitting down to dinner.  Well, you typically only have 2 choices for dinner service: buffet style or waiter-passed.  But wait a minute.  You're unique, you're a trend-setter. Why not extend your sense of style even to the way your food is served?

So how about this: Instead of the norm, each course of your meal comes out on beautiful platters, and a platter is placed beside one guest at every table.  Your guests then pass the platters around Family-Style with each guest serving themselves and then passing the platter on to the next guest.  It's actually a perfect ice breaker to help get your crazy Aunt Lulu chatting away with his shy Uncle Bob.  (OK, so they're talking about broccoli or salad dressing, but hey, they're talking!)   Before you know it, the whole table will be interacting and introducing themselves to people they otherwise would have barely asked to pass the salt.

This really does seem to be the up-and-coming trend for wedding receptions because yesterday I was speaking with Heather Morrow, Event Coordinator for Columbia Culinary Team, and they are now offering Family-Style service, too!  Heather says brides love it because it's just like eating at home.  And that's the whole point – it's really about being able to relax and have a nice meal.  Morrow points out that more formal service can sometimes distract from the enjoyment of the event or slow down the activities.  A Family-Style dinner increases the speed of the food service, and it also allows the servers to respond to individual guests better than at traditional plated meals.

Anyway, I'm very excited that caterers, restaurants and banquet facilities are starting to offer Family-Style service for weddings, and I believe it is going to very quickly become THE choice for my brides!

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