As with many food and fashion trends, what was once “old” is now new! Family Style Catering is a perfect example.  There was a time when family style would not have been acceptable for a sophisticated wedding or social event and now family style is one of the most popular services.   As with all elements of an event, make sure you are aware of the pros and cons of the meal service style you select.  So many wonderful options are available but be certain it fits with the event theme and the flow of the evening.  Appetizer, Entrée, and Sides can all be served family style, but when considering dessert, it is typically not served family style. If the event is a wedding, a wedding cake is served or a dessert station is offered.  If the event is a social event, dessert is often served as an individual serving or at a dessert station.  A good caterer will communicate the pros and cons and offer the ultimate service for a memorable event.


The Advantages of Family Style Catering

  • Creates a convivial, relaxed atmosphere at the dining tables and encourages conversation.
  • Guests do not have to stand in line with a plate laden with food as in a buffet line
  • Guests can initially take a small portion and not have to get up from the table for a second portion if they desire more.
  • Adds creativity to the table with beautiful platters, serving pieces.
  • Food has more of a “farm to table” feel as it comes directly from the kitchen.
  • Certain themed food items lend themselves toward family style catering such as Italian and Moroccan.
  • The cost of family style service is less than other types of service such as plated meal service.

Tips for Family Style Catering

  • Make sure you have ample table room for platters and serving dishes. Keep in mind when planning table décor.
  • Utilize large platters, but not so large that they are difficult for the guests to pass from one another.
  • Make sure serving utensils are appropriate for the item served.
  • Use platters that reflect the event and/or food theme and style of the tables: i.e. Italian, Contemporary, Spanish, etc
  • Make sure servers clear and replenish empty platters in a timely manner.
  • Make sure service staff is attentive to beverage service during meal.


Appetizer (either family style or station) – Antipasto Platter

Imported assorted cured olives – caponata with mini bruschetta – fresh mozzarella with vine ripened tomatoes – fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil – caponata with mini bruschetta – grilled portobello mushrooms with cracked pepper and garlic aioli -marinated artichoke hearts with capers and sun-dried tomatoes – roasted tri-colored peppers with sweet basil and roasted garlic – shrimp and calamari salad with arugula, lemon, fresh tomato and pine nuts – sliced soppressata, capicola and salami -tomato and asparagus bruschetta with mozzarella, onion and olive oil

First Course – Roasted Vegetables

Forest mushrooms – petite Carrots – cauliflower – eggplant – zucchini – xhallots, all oven roasted with roasted garlic & chive

Second Course – Pasta

Fresh spaghetti with a sauce of San Marzano tomatoes, sweet basil & fresh grated parmesan

Capellini tossed in a light cream sauce with crisp pancetta, chive & parmesan

(Gluten free pasta available upon request)

Third Course – Veal & Chicken

Veal cutlet dusted with sage and garlic & parmesan bread crumbs in lemon, caper

& butter sauce

Seared breast of chicken filled with cured tomatoes, prosciutto, mozzarella, roasted red pepper & asparagus, marsala au jus


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.