6 Catering Styles to Choose the Right One for Your Event

If you are planning a special event, choosing the right catering style is essential to make sure your guests will leave with bellies full and smiles on their faces. From formal sit-down dinners to creative buffet stations, there are many different options to choose from when it comes to catering styles. 

To help take some of the stress out of selecting a caterer for your upcoming event, we have identified six popular catering styles that could work perfectly for any occasion. Read on to uncover what each style entails as well as what type of food presentation and service level they can offer you and your guests.

Plated Style

This classic option is perfect for a formal event. Each dish is pre-plated and served separately to guests by a waiting staff. This style offers more control over portion sizes and presentation, ensuring that your guests will be impressed. It’s an ideal choice for weddings, corporate dinners, and fundraising galas.


Similar to a dinner at home, a host serves large dishes to the table. Your guests share from a platter or serving dish and pass it around. It is a more relaxed atmosphere allowing guests to mix and socialize as they serve themselves. Family-style is ideal for a family gathering, dinner party or a small wedding.

Stations & Buffets

Stations and buffets are a more relaxed and casual option, providing your guests with an interactive experience. This catering style allows guests to pick and choose what they want to eat by serving themselves from food stations and buffets. 

This option gives your guests the freedom to decide on portion sizes and to customize dishes to their liking. A great choice for corporate events, product launches and informal weddings.

Tapas style

The tapas-style event is trendy and perfect for a networking event or reception. Bite-sized dishes are served in small plates, and guests will have an array of dishes to choose from. 

The small plates allow guests to taste a range of flavors, and it creates a casual and social atmosphere. It’s ideal for cocktail parties, promotions or product launches.

Drop-off Service

Drop-off service is ideal for those who prefer to handle things themselves. Food and beverages are delivered to the event and set up, but there is no full staff on site. This catering style is perfect for corporate events, office parties, and casual celebrations where guests don’t expect service.


Farm-to-table style is for individuals who want to use fresh and local ingredients. This catering style focuses on locally sourced ingredients and supporting regional farmers. 

The guests will enjoy fresh and earthy flavors, and everything is prepared with unique flavors to create a memorable dining experience. This option is great for weddings, birthdays, and corporate events that focus on sustainability.


Choosing the right catering style for your event doesn’t have to be stressful. With these six options, you are sure to find a style that suits your needs and your guest’s tastes. Whether you are hosting a formal event or a casual gathering, there is a catering style just for you. 

By choosing the right catering style, you’ll ensure that your event is a success, with satisfied guests and delicious food.