Deciding how to serve food at your event is a task that, believe it or not, takes a little strategy and can have a bigger impact on the success of an event than you may think. How you serve food and what you serve sets the tone of your event, and will ultimately contribute to the experience your guests have. From casual hor d’oeuvres to a formal plated dinner, each style of serving food will create a particular mood. It’s especially important to review the goals of your event when determining the best way food should be served at your event.

The Plated Dinner

The plated dinner is suitable for events that are both high end and elegant but also events that have a higher energy activity post dinner such as dancing. The plated dinner is limited for mingling purposes because it requires everyone to sit down, but can serve as downtime for guests before a long night ahead such as an awards gala with speeches and dancing. Keep in mind, a plated dinner is high on the budget scale and will create a formal experience for your guests.


The buffet is a great alternative to the plated dinner if your event is more casual and laidback, especially with timing. Guests will have the freedom to choose their favorite items and eat as much as they would like at their own pace. If food is one of the main highlights at your event, consider a buffet for this reason. They are more cost effective than a plated dinner, but similarly to the plated dinner, will limit guests’ ability to mingle while eating.

Hor D’oeuvres and Food stations

Having food stations and hor d’oeuvres at your event will maximize the mingling time of guests, as they are able to walk around while eating small, light bites throughout the event. If food is not the main focus of your event and there are other activities involved, this is the way to go and will also be budget friendly. This option will maintain a social mood and is perfect for events that are shorter in length such as a cocktail reception.

Live Food Stations

Live food stations are a wonderful option for a high energy and interactive event. Guests will be impressed by food stations where they can customize their food such as a pasta bar or even more unique, a sushi rolling station. This option is going to cost more, so if your food budget is open, this is the perfect option to engage your guests while also maximizing socializing time.

We hope these tips will help you decide the best way to serve food at your next event! Contact Eventrics today for full event planning and management services for meetings, conferences, conventions, corporate, social and special events!

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