When it comes to picking the style of meal for the reception there are a lot of things to consider. Your timetable, your guests, your theme and so on and so forth. So how do you make the final choice on what and how you should eat? Honestly speaking neither choice is the wrong one, it’s just a matter of what is going to flow best with the way you have your wedding reception set up. To help lay out your options we will go through some pros and cons of both and let you make the final call.
- A wider variety of food choices- Why choose chicken or fish, have both!
- Easier to handle allergies and dietary restrictions- a buffet can help offer veggie options or even allergy specific items.
- Less wait staff means lower cost for caterer- it doesn’t take nearly as many people to run a buffet as it does to serve seated guests. This can keep the cost of the staff from your caterer low.
- 2nds for guests are an option- with more choices, your guests may want to try a little of everything, once they find what they like they can go back for more.
- More time for the newlyweds to relax and eat- with your guests waiting for food and moving in segments to get it, this give you more time to sit at the head table and relax between tapped glass kisses!
- Can get congested and take a while for all guests to eat- with all your guests having to get up from their tables to get food, not everyone will be able to eat at the same time. This can make dinner run slower
- Not appropriate for a more upscale wedding- a buffet may not send the right message or may not be appropriate for a black tie wedding
- May need more food, which can increase your food cost- with more choices you may need more food, causing the food portion from your caterer to increase in price.
Sit Down Meal
- More elegant- This can be perfect for an elegant upscale wedding, being served different course meals can be better for a fancier setting.
- Everyone eats at the same time so your timeline stays more on track- with all guests being served at the same time you can have a closer guess on if your timeline is going as planned. This can be extremely helpful with those vendors that are only there for a specific number of hours such as your DJ and photographer. This way you can dance the night away longer and get those picture perfect sparkler photos without the fear of losing another vendor
- Food cost can be lower due to less options- opposite of a buffet with a sit down meal you can lower your food cost by having less options and each person accounted for
- Less congestion in your reception space- with no one moving around to get food you will have less of a chance of accidents in your reception space.
- More staff can mean faster clean up and heading to the dance floor- with the extra staff on hand clearing those plates should be no problem, and this can move your night forward faster
- All guests may not be able to enjoy dinner due to allergies or dietary issues- when your choices are limited you might not be able to accommodate someone who is a vegetarian or someone who can’t have dairy, with many options.
- More staff means more money spent on your caterer- the more staff you will need to help deliver meals the more money it may cost you in order to pay them
- Response cards are a must, less ability to quickly add in guests or more cost from you for last minute drop offs- unfortunately dinner will have to be a down to the head event at a sit down, because it is done by plate it will be difficult to add or subtract people after your final headcount has been submitted
If you are still struggling to decide which option is the best for your reception maybe try both? Some brides do a served salad course and then a buffet for the main course. This gives you the ability to make sure your timeline is running on schedule and gives guests the extra options they may need or want. Never forget that no matter the choice make sure you go over all the details with your caterer in advance. If you are expecting food to be made a specific way or served in a specific order make sure you let the caterer know so they can accommodate you to the best of their ability. This can also help you get a rough price estimate so you know where your budget lies. This is one of the bigger decisions you will make for your wedding day, take your time and feel it out. If you communicate with your caterer the whole experience can be as easy as pie, or should I say cake!