Finger Food or Formal Dining Catering – Which Is Best For Your Event?

Photo by Ral Sormaz Photography

Cocktail style (finger food) and share style catering is more popular than ever. Other than being more photo-worthy and Instagramable, these styles are less formal, more interactive and create an environment conducive to getting to know other people. It comes as no surprise that more and more people are opting for cocktail style and share style catering at their events.

But what is cocktail style catering? Cocktail style catering is perfect for stand-up events with limited seating. Finger food and substantial items are normally served at cocktail events. Finger food are small morsels of deliciousness which can be eaten without the use of a knife or fork. Substantial items are mini meals that guests can eat while standing and mingling e.g. mini burgers or calamari & fries served in a small box. See our previous blog for our top 5 canapés and substantial items for more examples.

On the other hand, sharing style catering is perfect for a seated affair and features an array of platters placed along the table for guests to serve and share amongst themselves. It creates an interactive, social and communal atmosphere, and is more casual than a traditional formal setting. Sharing style is a fantastic way to create an ambiance of informality, whilst still providing your guests with the air of class that comes with a sit-down lunch or dinner.

Different Styles of Catering:

Whilst cocktail and sharing style are certainly popular, there are many other styles of catering available.

Formal Sit-Down Style

This includes two or three courses of individually plated meals that consist of entreés, mains and desserts.

Sharing Style

Large food platters are positioned along the centre of each table for your guests to share amongst themselves while seated at the table.

BBQ Style

A selection of barbecued meats, salads, condiments, breads & sweets are arranged on a large table. Guests help themselves and sit down at tables to enjoy their meals.

High Tea Style

This style of serving finger food features tiered stands that include delightful mini desserts, scones, savoury tarts and sandwiches.

Grazing Style

This style comprises of a grand centrepiece table with a mouth-watering array of cold meats, cheeses, marinated veggies, assorted breads, dips and more. Your guests help themselves and eat standing, which is great for socialising!

Cocktail Style/Finger Food

Finger food and mini meal items are served by roving staff to your guests. This makes it very easy for each guest to have access to food in an effortless, hospitable manner.

Delivered/Self-Service Catering

This type of catering is perfect for those that love home entertaining, without the stress of preparing food. We prepare and deliver boxed catering options that you can quickly and easily serve to your guests. This is a truly hassle-free and stress-free way of catering. Our boxed catering can be served immediately to every guest without you ever having to lift a finger.

What Style Is Best For Your Event?

Birthday Parties

When it comes to something as personal as your birthday party, knowing what style is best for you will make celebrating a brand new year more special. Deciding on a style or theme is something we can help you do. Whether you want your birthday party to be formal or informal, whether you are celebrating a milestone with all your friends and family, or something more intimate  – we can cater for all.

For a casual birthday party we can simply deliver our ready to serve catering boxes to you. We have a large range of catering options available via our online store, Bakehouse.

For 18th or 21st birthdays, finger food catering, high tea or grazing tables work perfectly.

For milestones birthdays like a 40th or 50th you might want to take it up a notch, a three-course dinner or a two-course sharing style lunch would be a great way to celebrate in style.

Hens Parties

Our delivered catering options work really well for hens parties. However, if you are looking for something special a fully catered sharing style lunch, high tea or grazing table is always a gorgeous way to celebrate.

Baby Showers

You can create your own high tea or grazing style baby shower with our DIY catering options via our online store, Bakehouse.

Corporate Christmas Parties

Treat your staff with something special at the end of the year by hosting a Christmas party. A three-course dinner, two-course lunch, barbecue or cocktail event are the most popular styles to celebrate the year with staff and clients.

Meetings & Conferences

Depending on the format of your meeting or conference, we can either deliver our boxed catering to your office for a simple meeting or we can provide our full range of services to your conference including catering, refreshments and wait staff.


Three-course dinner, sharing style or cocktail style are the most common catering styles for weddings. Our wedding catering will wow your guests on your special day.

Wedding Anniversary Events

Sharing style or three-course dinner are a wonderful way to celebrate milestone wedding anniversaries. While cocktail style, grazing style or delivered catering are ideal for less formal anniversaries.

Engagement Parties

Cocktail style or grazing style work best for engagement parties.


At Lady & the Fox, we offer a range of catering services.  We can deliver catering to your home or office, which is available via our online store Bakehouse, provide full service catering with wait staff and beverages, and everything in between.

If you are in the middle of planning an event and need some help, please contact our friendly team. We would be delighted to assist you with your upcoming event – contact us here.