One of the biggest lasting impressions your wedding will have on your guests will be the food! Dinner is not just a time to nourish your guests for a night full of dancing, but it also impacts your guests' experience. One of the most common questions we get as wedding planners is which is better - a buffet-styled dinner or a plated dinner? Here's our take on the pros & cons of each!
You've probably eaten a buffet dinner before, whether that's at a work event, a holiday party, or another friend's wedding! The pros for this type of setup are guests get to pick and choose what they want to eat as they make their way down the line. It saves you time on the front end of planning by not having to collect guests' individual entree selections. It's also great if your crowd has a wide array of dietary restrictions because your guests are able to easily work around what they're able to eat or not. The buffet setup encourages guests to get out of their seats and creates a laid-back atmosphere.
The cons involved are buffet dinners will often take longer than plated dinners when accounting for the amount of time it takes everyone to make their way through the line and finish their meal. Buffet dinners also can result in more waste as guests sometimes over serve themselves or your caterer may over prepare portions to account for this. Lastly, ever since the pandemic, buffet dinners had a decline in popularity due to sanitary reasons of everyone approaching the same food with the same serving utensils, so if this is a concern for you, maybe plated is the better option.
Plated dinners are classic and provide an elevated atmosphere. This doesn't necessarily mean they're "better" than buffets, but your guests will experience dinner differently. Plated dinners promote your guests staying in their seats and encourage mingling at the table. It also has an elegant feel with table service from wine pouring to your dinner being brought to you. The pros of a plated dinner also include a cleanly presented dish for each of your guests with their desired choice of entree gathered ahead of time. Plated dinners are more sanitary and are also able to be customized for those with dietary restrictions. Plated dinners are easier to predict timing wise for the overall flow of your event as it's based on the service time and less on how quickly guests can get through a buffet line. They often take less time than a buffet and are sometimes even cheaper as they don't require a buffet set up or staff to make sure it stays stocked.
The cons of plated are some couples feel it's too "stuffy" and don't want their guests to feel like they can't leave their tables. Plated dinners are a little trickier for last minute RSVPs if you have someone to add on weeks leading up to the wedding. They also require a detailed seating chart to make sure the caterer know what meals are going to what seats, which can be time consuming on the planning end of things.
There are always two sides to everything and it's important to think about what you want and what you think your guests will enjoy most! Want more advice like this? Contact us today to see how we can help make your event spectacular!
Photography: Better With You Photography
Planning & Design: Tan Weddings & Events
Venue: La Playa Carmel
Florals: Fleurs du Soleil
Rentals: Chic Event Rentals
DJ: Sound in Motion
Video: Phillip Alan Films
HMUA: Beauty by Chau Nguyen
Signage & Paperie: Nikisha King Design House
Cakes: Lady M Cakes
Photography: Radostina Boseva Photography
Planning & Coordination: Tan Wedding & Events
Venue, Catering & Accommodations: Park Winters
Florals: Fig & Vine
Rentals: Blossom Farm Vintage Rentals & Theoni Collection
Lighting: Larcom's Lighting
Linens: BBJ Linen
Cake: Let Them Eat Cake
Dessert: Sweet Tooth Ice Cream Cart
DJ: Heart of Gold DJs
HMUA: Hera Makeup Studio
Video: Rippetoe Studios
Live Music: Innocenti Strings
Photo Booth: Pixel Photo Booth
Photo Booth Backdrop: SacBooth
Signage & Paperie: Shimmer & Stain
Officiant: Michelle Lee
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