Let's be real here... wedding food is tricky. Do you provide a sit down meal and hors-d'oeuvres? Or do you save money and have small plate food stations about the reception space? Whatever you choose to do... just make sure that your guests are well aware of what they should expect in regards to the food selection. Here are a few different ways to provide food to your guests.
Sit Down Dinner
This is the most traditional service seen at weddings. Everyone gets their seat and patiently waits for your delicious food to be served to them. This is great for the guests because they don't have to worry about fighting for a good spot in line or worrying that there won't be enough of their favorite food to go around. Before you decide on a caterer... taste the food they are going to serve! Your dear uncle might be willing to do it at a cheaper price but food isn't always the best area to skimp on. Also, be mindful of the time between the ceremony and reception! Nothing is worse than waiting for hours to eat, especially if there are no appetizers at cocktail hour. If you have a big gap between your ceremony and reception... tell the guests to bring or pick up a snack so they aren't dying of hunger by the time everything is ready to be served.
This is definitely a more relaxed way of serving food. You can even cut some cost by having guests serve themselves rather than having someone standing behind the buffet serving. The great thing about buffets is that people can pick and choose what they want to eat and you can order a variety of options to adhere to all dietary needs of your guests. And often times, you can get much more food when ordering in bulk quantities! The great thing about a buffet a shorter wait. With a sit down dinner, guests could be spending two hours at the table waiting and eating. With a buffet, you can get the party started right away and let people nibble as they please.
These are becoming more and more popular as the years go on. Not only can you provide various types of food to please your guests' tastebuds, now you can give them something to do while they're waiting for your grand entrance! Millennials especially like to be entertained throughout the whole event. Add in a s'mores making station or add a fun spin on things by hiring food trucks to come after everyone has enjoyed the open bar.
Only serving appetizers or small plates is definitely less expensive than a full service meal. If you do decide on this option, make sure that your guests know and are not expecting to be fully fed at your reception. If there is any room in your budget... consider getting a food truck to come out towards the end of the reception so guests can soak up the fun that they had at your open bar with delicious grilled cheese or tacos!