One of the first things you will deal with when planning your reception is the age-old dilemma of a buffet style vs. plated wedding dinner. Which is less likely to break the bank? Which one will make your guests jump with delight and make their glands salivate? Check out our blog for the pros and cons of both options!
With a buffet style dinner, all courses are served on different tables, and guests are invited table by table to come up and serve themselves. There is usually no table plan at a buffet dinner. Pros: Buffet style usually offers a wide variety of food for your guests so that there's something for everyone (remember to include a vegetarian main course.)
This option will save you a bit of money on the amount of service staff needed. A buffet also provides opportunities for your guests to mingle and warm up to each other before hitting the dance floor for some uptown funk action! Cons: People usually think that buffets are cheaper than seated dinners with set menus, but that's not always true.
Usually, the caterer will make a lot more food than will be eaten so that it doesn't run out. Because of this, buffet style dinners can create a lot of wasted food. This arrangement can also get a little crazy and people can end up waiting a while to eat if certain guests are slower at getting their food.
Tips: You can really up the elegance of this option by decorating each buffet table with intricate little details. Present each dish in unique, and beautiful serve-ware and serving utensils. Combine cold and hot dishes with finger food options. You can also include a fresh-cooked option, i.e. having a chef prepare sushi or wok dishes right at the table!
The plated dinner is generally the most traditional of the different dining options for a reception. The Bride and Groom constructs a table plan which gives each guest a place at a particular table (usually denoted by specific associations or circles) and guests are served a 3 or 4 course set menu.
Pros: You will usually save money on the amount of food, because the caterer will know exactly how much to buy based on your numbers. Your guests won't have to worry about finding a seat or people to sit with, because this is prearranged for them. Also, everyone will be fed around the same time, so hopefully you don't have too many hungry guests!
Cons: The staff portion of your bill will be a bit higher, as you will need more servers per guests. Since there are fewer options with a pre-planned meal, you might have certain guests who won't be able to eat everything and might go hungry.
Tips: Give guests at least a couple of options for the main course. Send out a meal choice option with their invitations, so you can get this info to your caterer long before the reception. Avoid any options that might be considered too exotic so you can be more safe.
That's it for now brides! Are you planning on having a buffet style or plated dinner for your reception? Tell us about it in the comment section below!