Try Family-Style Service for Special Events!

Try Family-Style Service for Special Events!
Source: Heidi's Events and Catering

Some of my fondest memories are from the table, passing food around and sharing stories. I think this is the case for many of us. It can work for a special event as well.

It makes for an interesting way to eat and focuses the event more around the food. People can take as much or as little as they want. There is typically food for seconds for the few that want it. It’s similar to the buffet option.

Plated dinners offer all guests the same amount of food on their plate. Old Aunty wastes food as she eats like a bird, while Cousin Joe is still hungry.

The arrangement of the tables is the key. Eight people at a 60-inch round table is not ideal. There is very little room for the platters and bowls of food in addition to a centerpiece.

I recommend tables of 16 people, preferably rectangular. You can put two 8-foot tables end-to-end. For more room in the center, put four 8-foot tables side-by-side, end-to-end. You can ideally seat 20 people at this configuration.

We like to table-serve the first course individually; the salad, for example. Then after the salad is cleared we bring out the dinner plates and place them for each guest. Then, platters and bowls of food start coming out. For a long table of 16 guests we would bring two bowls of each item and hand one to the first person at each end, ask that person to help themselves, then pass it down to their right. The last person would place any leftovers in the center of the table.

Start with the sides, end with the entrees. Four things are best: a starch first, then vegetables, and finish with the meats. Condiments or extra sauces should be placed on the table.

Recently I was at an event served family-style from another caterer and the bowls of food were to large. No one could lift them to pass them. They were also simply placed on the tables and it was confusing which way to pass and who should start.

Many of us do this at home, espcially for Thanksgiving dinner. Consider trying it for a wedding, company party, or other special dinner event.

If you like the idea of catering your special event family-style, reach out to us at Heidi’s Events and Catering for more information. 

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