"Get Guests Mingling With Food Stations"

By Pacific Party Canopies, offering you more than 20 years' experience covering the Pacific Northwest's rental needs

Food stations, a modular variation on the buffet, are a hip way to encourage mingling. They're especially well suited to large weddings and corporate events, where you'd like guests to meet and get to know each other, because they offer more opportunities for interaction than a buffet or plated dinner. They also help prevent long buffet lines, an important issue to address at large parties.

You can offer guests an entire meal through food stations, with different entrees available at each table, or serve hors d'oeuvres and cocktails. Alternatively, consider following a plated dinner with dessert stations (cupcakes, pies, candy, crepes, mmm...) and a coffee bar.

Food stations are the perfect opportunity for featuring foods and drinks that are important to the event's host company or guests of honor. For a multinational or multicultural wedding, they provide a special way to recognize the heritage of both families.

If you need ideas for what to serve, take a look at the list "Food Stations: 18 Exciting Ideas to Make Your Mouth Water" from IntimateWeddings.com. Scroll down to the very bottom for my personal favorite: the espresso bar. There is a great local provider for this type of station, V.I.P. Espresso Catering out of Burlington, WA.

Whatever foods you serve, get creative with the presentation. Use tables in a variety of shapes and sizes, such as cocktail tables, serpentine tables, round tables and rectangular tables. Top them with standard white linens or colorful tablecloths to complement the food. We also offer several products for beverage service stations, including coolers, beverage bars and our new Fill 'N' Chill tables that hold ice and bottled drinks (photo at right).

For further reading and event planning ideas, follow Pacific Party Canopies' blog. Also, explore our Resources section for galleries, venue links and more.