Buffet vs. Plating: Catering your wedding reception
Your wedding reception will probably consume the largest portion of your budget as well as set the tone for your big day. You might be asking yourself, if a buffet style meal will save you money? Not necessarily, here are some pros and cons to a few of the most popular catering options available.
The Plated Reception
There are a lot of benefits to a plated meal, which is seen as the most traditional or “formal” option. You will know exactly how much food is needed because you will have sent out response cards beforehand. With a plated meal, you can plan activities as the courses are served, such as dances and toasts, as all of your guests will be eating at the same time.
The drawback to a plated meal is the cost, as you will have to factor in additional staffing. Also, if your guests have food allergies or dietary restrictions they might not eat their entire meal. And you will need to consider purchasing additional stationery such as place cards and response cards so guests can pre-select their meal preferences.
The Buffet Reception
A buffet reception is usually considered the more casual option and allows guests to mingle and meet one another. With a buffet-style dinning plan, even picky eaters will find something that catches their fancy. However, there is an added food cost because guests will be allowed to serve themselves and are welcome to come back for seconds! So keep this in mind if you have a lot of guests.
Buffet guests will have to stand in line for food. If your venue is smaller, ask if it is possible to have two serving stations, which will limit the amount of time guests wait to be served and allows for guest to get seated quickly. With a buffet you will save on hiring staff, but you will have to rent other necessities such as chaffing dishes and serving pieces.
The Family-Style Reception
This is a popular trend and in many ways it combines elements of both plated and buffet meals. Servers will bring out food on large serving platters that you pass around. This is a nice way for guests to meet one another. Just remember that you will need extra space on your dining table for all the various platters and serving pieces.
An added benefit is that you can have a more casual feel, while eliminating the expense of response and place cards, while still giving your guests a bounty of food.
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