When it comes to deciding how to serve food at your wedding, the traditional decision has typically been between plated or buffet. There are several pros and cons to each of those styles, but it seems that couples are now getting bored of the same old options. With the new, exciting trends emerging for weddings this year, it is no surprise that they include alternative food serving styles. While plated and buffet options are still popular, it looks like 2018 will be a year of family style meals and food bars!

Depending on your venue, you may be limited to your options for serving a meal. Certain venues will have their own menus and serving options to select from, and rarely alter these options, or if so, only for a large fee. However, if you are using a venue that requires, or allows you to provide your own catering, these new serving styles may be just what you are looking for!

Food bars, or food stations, are the new exciting way to serve creative and fun meals. Appetizers, and even desserts are now being served in this style at weddings. Meat and cheese bars, taco bars, raw or sushi bars, baked potato bars, and pizza bars are some of the more popular options. No matter what food you choose to serve, there are several rental items you should make sure to have for your food bars.

  • Tables (large or small banquets, half rounds, serpentines, fill-and-chill, and wine barrel bars are all great options for bars or food stations)
  • Linens to cover the tables
  • Serving dishes (2 or 3 tier stands, serving bowls or platters, and cupcake or cake stands work well to display food)
  • Serving utensils (slotted or un-slotted spoons, serving forks, tongs, spatulas, and cake/pie servers are the best bet for dishing out food)
  • Chafers (any hot food will need to be kept warm, don’t forget sternos and sterno holders!)
  • Plates, bowls and utensils
  • Drink dispensers and glassware (hot chocolate bars, coffee bars, mimosa bars, and iced tea and lemonade bars are very popular options to have available)
  • Extra accessories, or serving options (frozen drink machines, sno-cone machines, cotton candy machines, and chocolate fountains are great additions to any event!)


Serving food family style is the other new trend for wedding meals. It is considered “family style” when food is served on each table in large, sharable portions, for everyone at the table to dish out to themselves. This style is perfect for rustic themed weddings, as it really gives a down-home, dinner table feel. This also works great if you are catering your own event, as family favorites, such as casseroles, are easy to serve in this fashion.

Rental items you may need for a family style meal are similar to items needed for food bars. The biggest difference is set up, as items will all be placed on the table with guests, rather than on separate serving tables. There are a few items that should definitely be on your rental checklist when serving family style.

  • Tables and chairs (for guests seating-don’t forget linens!)
  • Serving spoons and tongs
  • Serving trays, bowls, and baskets (wicker baskets are great for serving bread)
  • Pitchers (for water, or other drinks that will be available)
  • Plates, cups and flatware
  • Salt and pepper shakers, and sugar pourers (keep in mind these do not come full when rented, so you will need to provide you own salt, pepper and sugar to fill these)


Planning the meal for your big day should be a fun and exciting time. Whether you decide to go with a food bar or stations, family style, or the traditional plated or buffet options, the last thing you want is to forget some serving item or not have salt and pepper! Take time to talk to your caterer, or your friendly neighborhood special event coordinator, to ensure all the details are covered. Also, be sure to check out www.frontrangeeventrental.com for all your rental needs for your big day!

Thanks for reading, and happy wedding planning!