When it comes to hosting a wedding, bat & bar mitzvah or party, presentation is everything. Unless you’re serving caviar, champagne and Lindt chocolate mousse; appetizers, cocktails and desserts are often easily forgotten. But you don’t need to serve the crème de la crème to make your food and drink choices memorable.
Industry expert Brianna Ellis from The Sands at Atlantic Beach notes “interactive food stations such as “Action Stations” really make your guests enjoy ordering and choosing food options with their own personal twist.”
Up the WOW factor of everyday favorites with these
10 ideas for creative, fun & beautifully styled buffets and stations!
1. Build Your Own Bruschetta Station
There are endless possibilities when it comes to adding toppings to crostinis. Tapanades, spreads, cheeses, tomatoes… let your guests create their own culinary masterpiece.
Photo: I Love SW Mag
2. Fruit & Vegetable Buffet Table
Crudités have long received a bad wrap as an unimaginative canapé. But the traditional French appetizer is not only healthy, but easy to prepare and light on the budget. Breathe new life into freshly cut vegetables by placing them in clear vases, like this display by Amy Atlas. Watermelon mint salads and other healthy fruit options add beautiful color to the presentation. Complete the look with a few tall martini glasses filled with dips.
This unique interactive station from Abigail Kirsch Catering Relationships features their delicious flaky kronuts served with help-yourself toppings:
Dunks: Spiced Chocolate, Vanilla Bean, Salted Caramel, Peanut Butter and Mocha Glazes
Drizzles: White Chocolate Pistachio, Nutella, Caramel Rum, Apricot Amaretto, Raspberry Ginger and Port Balsamic
Dusts: Coconut, Cocoa Nibs, Pretzels, Cookie Crumbs, Scotch Chips, Praline, Dried Strawberries and Sprinkles
4. Adult & Kids Snow Cone Station
Simple and fun, kid-friendly and “adult spiked” snow cones from Martha Stewart are a great way to keep guests cool during summer, outdoor weddings and events. Put out shaved ice, syrups, and your favorite cocktail mixes for a fun refreshing treat. Check out Frozen Cocktail Push-Pops & Spiked Snow Cones
Confectioneries may have made buffets trendy, but they’re not always to everyone’s taste. Ice cream, however, is guaranteed to appeal to the kid in everyone. Klein’s Real Kosher Ice Cream comes in a variety of delicious dairy and dairy-free flavors. Let guests scoop their own flavor and top with nuts, sprinkles and sauces, like this example from Eat Drink Chic. Put out soda and you have yourself a Root Beer Float Station!
Dessert may have filled bellies after dinner, but many hours rocking the dance floor can leave a crowd peckish. Popcorn is not only a pocket-friendly and easy-to-make snack, but it’s also a great remedy for guests who’ve had one glass too many. Children will also enjoy this post-party snack on the ride home. Let guests spice their own pre-packed boxes or fill empty bags with pre-flavoured kernels. Add color to make the display pop, like this example from Bridal Guide.
Everyone has their favorite cupcake topping. So give them what they want with a do-it-yourself cupcake bar.
Photo: Boutwell Studio
8. Mimosa Buffet / Champagne Infusion Bar
Unlike other more complex cocktails, there’s no wrong way to make a mimosa. Let guests create their own mimosas with a champagne infusion bar, like this one from Centsational Girl! Put out champagne, fruit juices (like orange and mango), liquors and flavored schnapps. Cut up some fruit and let the fun begin! A table with just the juices and fruit are a great kid-friendly option.
For morning and afternoon events (or evening…why not!) a Bloody Mary bar will put a big smile on your guests’ faces. Some like their Bloodys hot and spicy with 6 olives – let them have it! Put out regular and flavored vodka, Bloody Mary mix, olives, lemons, limes, raw and pickled vegetables, spices, and a variety of hot sauces for a fun & colorful drink station.Photo: The Symmetric Swan
10. Martini Bar
Shaken or stirred? Let your guests decide with a DIY martini station. Prepare the spirits by pouring vodka, vermouth and water into clear labeled decanters. Fill three square vases with sliced cucumber, lemon peels and stuffed olives. If providing chilled glasses is a problem for your caterer, place a bucket of ice alongside the glasses and instruct guests to cool their glasses before filling.
Deconstruct any of your favorite cocktails for a unique standalone bar!
Photo: Sunday Suppers
Whatever buffet fits your wedding, bar/bat mitzvah or party, remember the right styling can transform the ordinary into the sublime!