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January 18, 2022

Choosing your Service Style for your Wedding

Service Styles

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What kind of SERVICE do you want for food;  how much will it cost:


Every aspect of your wedding will be just as big as the next, but food is always one of the big big ones! There are so many things to consider when making these choices; 

    • What’s his favorite meal? What's her favorite meal? 
    • Do you have favorite meals together?
    • What would the family and friends like to eat?
    • How much does the food cost?
  • What kind of “Service” do we want to have?

So many things to consider!

Let’s jump into that last part first and talk about  “service style” on this one.

Lets just say you have chosen your food menu and it’s going to cost you $25 per person and let's say it's 100 people; that  gets you to $2500 to start.

From there you must consider staff, some service charges and plates and silverware. (cleaning etc.) 

*Each staff will cost you around $30-50 per server an hour on average (give or take of course).


There are 3 Basic styles of Service (plus a few fun unorthodox ones)

  • self serve buffet
  • served buffet 
  • plated service


Let’s start at the top one:


Self served buffet-this is my least favorite option for many reasons! First and biggest reason for “me” is:

  • What that plate looks like when a guest serves themselves versus,how it looks if it’s planned out and plated beautifully!!

Second reason is:

  • If you don’t order enough food some of it may run out due to “some people” lol

Some people will just opt outta salad and load them up with steak, with a little bit of sides or they completely overload their plate, in turn wasting a lot of food!

Did I mention those plates always turn out ugly lol Sorry, like I said, that’s a big one for me, I thrive on art as a whole, and food for me must be presented like this in my eyes, 

and if it’s a wedding; 




This could take zero staff (if you have family and friends set it up upon buying it) or you could hire a few staff to ensure it stays looking nice while everyone devours it. Keep in mind someone will most likely need to clean all the plates and things up after unless you hired a service to do so.


Next is “Served Buffet” This is a great option as most caterers will instruct their people on how to make the plate aesthetically pleasing to the eye of the guest.

Only thing to consider here price wise is the number of servers you’ll need to serve it.  

Per 100 people will equal to about 2-4 servers (which will be decided by how many items you have to choose from)

Another thing to keep in mind is that getting your guest sitting down as fluently, and quickly as possible is key to staying on your timeline. *You would be amazed by the questions and conversations that people have while drinking and deciding what they want on their plate slowing it down!

Keep in mind you have many toasts and speeches to get through, so a “line” is the last thing you wanna wait in, or for!


Ok let's skip the line! 


“Plated Service”

This will require almost “DOUBLE” the staff because you'll now need people plating the plates, and people running them in a “timely” fashion.

This is my most favored option as it allows the guest to continue to visit and ensure no one will be stuck in line with the person who has a million questions and special requests! 

This is also to ensure cousin Jackie isn’t still in line while the speeches begin she’ll be bitter the rest of the night if so, and we all know how she is when she is drunk and not happy lol Just having fun with y’all.

 I know sometimes this service isn’t always in the budget or again, maybe food isn't the total focus but what matters most is that YOU have fun, but if there was a wishlist per say; “plated service” is the way for me unless I went for the next option which isn’t chosen all too often..


No Plated Service This service would be based more around “TAPAS '' (passed appetizers). This one is ideal for the couple who really like to get down and dance and mingle all night without the seriousness of how things are supposed to go! To each their own for sure, I can see myself choosing this option lol

You can get really fun with the menus and things in this style. I had a couple ask me to smoke a sweet style rib and a savory style rib and we had the guest greeted with them along with an Old Fashion as they walked in! They had a charcuterie board with many cheeses and meats but everything else was passed, I may or may not ended of dancing with them by the end of the night haha

 For this option you would need 2-3 cocktail servers along with a chef preparing their trays as they pass them all evening! 


So whatever style you decide you’ll need to also consider “Dinnerware for these options”. 

China versus a nice disposable orrrr you could drop into the Dollar store as well and buy them lol 

*I actually bought an entire restaurant's worth of dishes at the dollar store once, and they still have them to this day lol You can also buy packs of silverware in there! JS

Not that you would want all those dishes, but it can save you money and they will hold at least half their value after you finish them. Just a thought.

China is the preferred way and can range in price depending on how nice you want it, you’ll need to consider the following:


  • Appetizer plates
  • Salad plates (unless it’s shared with dinner)
  • Dinner Plates 
  • Cake Plates
  • Silverware for all the above
  • Bar and Dinner Glasses


Cleanup is another thing to consider with china versus disposable. There are many many options in this area so ask your caterer, or pop open your google and just do some searching on rental sites and distribution sites (for your disposable plates and rentals).


Ok so a brief recap:

$ of meal per person


Number of people (including vendors)


Number of servers needed


Service charges 




Well there you have it! Choose what fits you best and as always, HAVE FUN while going through this process (as any other process) as is there any “better” way to go about things?!!


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Creative Commons License
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at Attribution must be given to the authors in the following format: Written by: Chef Hang Outs Author: Scott Engle. Read the original article here.


Chef Hang Outs

The idea of Chef Hang Outs is that each menu will be created "specifically" to each client. We speak on favorite foods, favorite drinks, maybe the first place or thing y'all ate when you first met and from there; we create with your budget and your "deepest" desires in mind in order to bring your special day to LIFE with a menu that is originally to you and yours ONLY! About Chef HangOuts was founded by a Chef Scotty Love and a videographer and was originally began as an online TV Show created to entertain folks and feed the masses during the Pandemic. (link)Before and after that; Chef Scotty Love has opened 3 Restaurants, ran many other kitchens, consulted menus and along the way has done approximately 400 weddings. Hanging out with this Chef, even if for a moment on the phone will leave you hungry, excited and ready to book a tasting!