Wedding Buffet vs. Sit Down Dinner

a guest at a sit down dinner
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There are all different kinds of LDS wedding receptions, from a catered soiree in a five-star hotel to a casual open house in the cultural hall. But all receptions have one thing in common: food!

Most couples choose either a buffet or a sit down dinner to feed their wedding reception guests. Buffets are self-serve assortments of food at a table in a central location for guests; sit-down dinners are portioned onto plates and served to guests at their tables.

Advantages of Wedding Buffets

Why choose a wedding reception buffet? Buffets are seen as more casual and less intimidating, in addition to being more affordable than catered per-plate dinners. People like buffets because:
• Food items are generally cheaper and no need to pay for a wait staff
• More casual atmosphere
• Encourages guests to get out of their seats and mingle
• Large selection of food makes it easier to accommodate different tastes and diets
• Easy to plan a DIY buffet (buffets can be catered or done DIY-style)

Advantages of Wedding Sit Down Dinners

guests serving themselves at a buffet
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Couples who choose a full-service dinner usually do so because of the ambiance it creates. Treating guests with table service is usually a great way to top off the reception, if it’s in the budget to do so. Catered dinners provide:

• A more upscale atmosphere, especially appropriate for formal weddings
• Food that is served directly to the table is good for elderly guests or guests with small children
• Ease of calculating the amount of food needed and controlling portion sizes

Disadvantages of Reception Buffets

Not every couple is crazy about wedding reception buffets, however. They may be less expensive, but couples cite several reasons not to have a buffet at their wedding reception, including:

a guest with buffet food
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• Fear of running out of food or having a ton of it left over
• Seeming “tacky” or “cheap” making guests serve themselves dinner
• Need for ample space for long buffet tables out front
• Extra costs for decorating the buffet tables

Disadvantages of Reception Sit Down Dinners

The main reason more couples don’t have table service at their receptions is the large cost. Full-service sit-down dinners are charged per-plate, meaning that large guest lists take a bigger bite out of your budget. Couples may avoid sit-down reception dinners because:

a buffet dinner at an LDS reception
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• It’s out of their budget to serve a plate to each and every guest
• Per-plate dinners usually only give guests 2 (sometimes 3) rigid meal options
• Some locations are problematic: they must be within traveling distance of the caterer and have kitchen access
• More stressful to collect meal cards and R.S.V.P.’s from all guests ahead of time

As you can see, both buffets and sit-down dinners have their own pros and cons. Each must be weighed carefully before you can decide which you are going to have at your wedding reception.

♥ Jenny Evans
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Catering for LDS weddings, LDS reception, LDS open houses

LDS weddings, LDS reception, LDS open houses

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