An idea that is quickly gaining popularity in the wedding industry is food stations at the reception or during the cocktail hour. Some people think of food stations as buffet dining. This can be true to a point but not necessarily. Food stations can be specific to a certain part of the dining experience. One popular food station is a desert bar. Wedding planners are starting to move towards smaller portions of desserts besides the wedding cake. These may include individual portion sizes of creme brûlée, individual hot fudge sundaes, strawberry cheesecake, etc. There are also miniature pastries, cake balls, or shortcakes. Another idea is a chocolate fountain or fondue.
A good time for a food station is during the cocktail hour. Set up stations which include smaller portioned finger style, or easily eaten foods. These may include cheese and fruit, stuffed mushrooms, cold shrimp cocktail, quesadilla strips, or maybe some type of pasta. Try to not have too much for the cocktail hour so your guests leave plenty of room for the dinner hour.
Keep in mind that food stations can be set up buffet style if you prefer that to a sit down dinner. There are a couple things you need to consider if this is the way you are going to serve dinner. You need to make sure that the room is arranged in such a way that the flow to each food station is uninterrupted and out of the way. There is nothing worse than having your guests in line for the food station in the middle of the seating area. Another thing to consider is timing. It will take a little longer for a buffet style dinner than a sit down dinner. Just make sure your music entertainment understands this. Also give your guest platy of room to socialize for the cocktail hour as this is the meant for mingling.
Here is a special idea for a food station and your guests. Think about setting up a candy bar for your guests to help themselves on their way out of the wedding reception. There are many different kinds of candy that can be displayed in large glass containers. Have scoops in each container and small bags for your guests to fill for the ride home. Other food stations may include coffee, doughnuts, and whatever else your heart desires.