Wedding Buffet vs. Sit Down Dinner
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
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:
• 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:
• 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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