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Boisterous Buffet or Polite Plated: What Wedding Reception Style is Right for You?

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Weighing the pros and cons of a buffet vs. plated reception is a heavy task.  While the jury is still out on which is best, here is what I have learned about each to help you reach a final verdict.  First up, the buffet option:


-Usually less expensive (though not always!)

-Provides a greater selection and give guests more control over portion sizes and food likes/dislikes.

-Guests don’t have to choose between chicken, steak or fish; they could have a little of all three!

-If you are behind schedule, buffets are more forgiving than plated meals.

-Items are more consistently served at the right temperature

-Some guests can have seconds while light eaters won’t waste an over-filled plate.

-Getting up gets guests mingling!

-Works well for large groups… IF the buffet tables are double-sided, well stocked, and guests are called up by table – calling tables ensures guests won’t stand in an ultra long line.

-A great option if the reception site is located a distance away from the kitchen, such as outdoors.


-Takes up a significant amount of space in a small room.

-Can be awkward or unavailable for very small weddings.

-Some guests frown on the casual mood of a buffet.

-Long lines are a possibility.

-Guests at the same table might reach the buffet line at different times causing a greater variation in actual meal times. In other words, while one guest is just sitting down to eat, the person sitting next to them may already be finished.

-While a buffet set up can be quite elegant, the food on each plate won’t be picture perfect

-Some guests do not like to get up from their seats and it can be difficult for elderly or handicap guests to navigate the buffet line.

-It is hard to gauge exactly how much food you will need so I always suggest calling lighter eating tables before you invite your hungry college friends to fill their plates.

Stay tuned for Part II to learn about the pros and cons of plated receptions!


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Community Thoughts

  1. shary


    interesting post ,thanks for your sharing .welcome to