A DIY food station is a way around spending an exorbitant amount of your budget on keeping your guests satisfied. Forget the traditional $100 or more per head count sit-down, full-service meal. Take this opportunity to get your guests up on their feet, engaged and mingling with one another – what better thing to talk about than food? A classy station can really polish off your event, and can also be a phenomenal focal point! We have some great tips to make your food stations affordable and authentic and have included some photos of our favourite set-ups.

A DIY food station for your breakfast event: Break your fast the sweet way.

A DIY food station has potential for any meal of the day. If you agree with us when we say that most of the time, the only way to describe a breakfast event is “blah”, then take our advice and jazz things up for your guests; have some fun with a DIY waffle station. Plug in some waffle grills and have your guests assemble waffles their own way, from scooping the waffle mix onto the grill, to topping it with home-made whipped cream or maple syrup. Be sure to get creative with your toppings – we suggest opting for a mix of sweet and savoury, and as many options as possible to please your guests who are on the pickier side. This will have your guests’ mouths’ watering at the smell of fresh waffles!

DIY food station  DIY food station

Source: craftypie.com and hopscotchweddings.com

 

A DIY food station for your lunchtime event: Grilled cheese, please.

Something we’ve seen in the past and have absolutely loved is the DIY grilled cheese station. Ideal for small groups if you don’t have enough grills to go around, lay out a spread of different breads, cheeses and other toppings (avocado, pickles, salami, mustard, ham and BACON!) for your guests to choose from, then build their sandwiches and toss them on the grill. We have yet to meet someone who doesn’t love the comfort and tastiness of a fresh grilled cheese sandwich!

DIY food station DIY food station

Source: hopscotchweddings.com and yourhomebasedmom.com

 

A DIY food station for your dinnertime event: Let’s carbo-load.

An evening event is the prime time for everyone to forget their inhibitions and go rogue when it comes to eating. The only way to do that right is with a pasta bar or a mac and cheese. This can be tricky as the timing has to be spot-on, but when done right it makes for a delectable, and affordable spread. Choose four or five pastas, keeping it interesting by mixing simple varieties, such as angel hair or bowtie, with something more substantial like tortellini. Prepare a few different sauces, place out some herb infused oils and pasta toppings including various cheeses, sundried tomatoes, olives, meats, etc. for your guests to choose from, and let them fill their plate!

DIY food station DIY food station

Source: pearleventsaustin.com and annie trevor

 

A DIY food station for your coffee break: Mix it up.

Every meeting or conference should have a scheduled break in the morning and in the afternoon. Not only does it give everyone the opportunity to use the restroom and check emails, it is also essential for keeping everyone’s energy up. By offering small food items in between breakfast and lunch and then again between lunch and dinner, your guests will avoid the mid-afternoon yawns, get a much needed energy boost, and subsequently a productivity boost. Rather than limit yourself to one offering, opt for multiple food stations offering healthy snack items like popcorn and trail mix and also not-so-healthy items like a french fry bar.

 diy food station  DIY food station

DIY food station DIY food station

Source: creativebag.com and brit.co and cherylstyle and wefollowpics.com 

 

A DIY food station for the best part of everyone’s day: Dessert!

And now for the most important meal of the day, dessert. Dessert DIY food stations offer so many fun and fabulous options. Fondue is a staple, as it allows you to make some basic ingredients go a very long way. If you think fondue is a little too cliché for your liking, we recommend a tasty twist: DIY fancy s’mores. Bring your guests back to memories of the campfire, and let them sandwich marshmallows and a dollop of chocolate between some good quality graham crackers. Use a fondue station to keep the chocolate warm to keep these delicious treats together. Another great option is a marshmallow, banana or cheesecake pop station. Place any of these items on a skewer and offer a selection of items to roll the skewer in like oreos, sprinkles, fruit purees and peanut butter.

DIY food station DIY food station

 

DIY Food Stations

Source: gluesticksblog.com and brokegirls.com and cdn.trustedpartner.com

 

A delectable and drinkable DIY food station:

Stop your guests from stifling a sigh of disappointment when they discover your low-budget event is beverage only… and non-alcoholic beverages, at that! Challenge their preconceptions with a hot chocolate bar that’s to die for. Offer good quality white, milk and dark drinking chocolate, alongside some delicious toppings to finish the job off right. On top of the go-to whipped cream, our favourite toppings are caramel, toasted coconut, marshmallows, peppermint, truffles, and even ice cream! Of if you are not willing to forgo alcoholic beverages completely, but are still wanting to plan on a dime, then select a single signature cocktail that guests can tailor to their own preferences. A caesar or bloody mary self-serve bar is a great option!

DIY food station DIY food station

Source: brokegirls.com and meals.com

 

Sage Advice:

You don’t want anyone at your event to feel left out, or worse, hungry! When planning your DIY food station, don’t forget about your guests with food restrictions. Be sure to take stock of how many guests with restrictions you can expect, and be sure they have options on offer to them too.

 

Tara Boddington

Tara Boddington

With a decade of experience planning corporate and promotional events for top brands as well as sponsorship activations at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games and 2010 FIFA World Cup, I have a passion for transformative environments and experiences. I want to live in a world where emails are short, obsessive attention to detail is seen as an asset not an annoyance, and libraries are cool places to hang out (yes I like to read actual hard copy books). I am also the Director of Sales and Marketing at Eventsage.

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