Reception Ideas

Buffet verses sit down

Ok....my wedding is in June and it will be in NC.  I'm trying to decide if I want buffet or sit down.  Buffet will save me money but then again sit down is nice as well.  I'm not sure if the catering people I have now will do sit down......

Re: Buffet verses sit down

  • If your crowd is used to both, just save yourself some money and go with buffet. There are pros and cons to both ways. 

    But yes, first you need to be getting quotes from your caterer for sit down AND for buffet so you can compare costs.
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  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
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    Ditto PPs. You need more info to make a decision. Nobody can make it for you.
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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  • Well I know they don’t normally do sit downs.....maybe that’s what I should have said at first.  This is my first wedding and there are alot of things I’m not aware of.  That's one of the main reasons i joined....to get some advice from other brides to be.  I don't have a planner, I’m doing most of this myself.  Sorry if i posted a dumb question.
  • Buffets have a slightly less formal feel.  If people are super dressed up, they aren't going to want to carry plates of food.  That said, buffets can still be quite nice, and I slightly prefer buffets, because I can get whatever combos I want.  

    You should consider timing.  You don't want your guests waiting in long lines for food, so depending on how many people you have, you might have two buffets set up or let people go down both sides of a long table.  You also need to make sure that the caterer replenishes food so that people that go up later still have hot, fresh food.  

    Timing is also an issue with plated meals, though.  If the caterer doesn't do a good job, you can have tables finish their meals before other tables even get served (it's also bad if it takes 20 minutes to bring out the vegetarian entree after everyone else has been served--I've experienced this a lot).  If your caterer is not very familiar with plated meals, I would worry about their ability to serve everyone at once.  



  • Thanks alot........that helped.I will have to rethink a few options.  I am expecting approx 150 to 200 people.  Weddings seem so easy to plan.....until you are planning your own...lol.  If its not bridesmaids issues its the food....lol
  • personally I prefer buffet. I like having an option, I am also not a big meat eater so at a buffet I am able to choose something I actually like to eat.
  • doeydodoeydo Southwestern Ontario
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    I prefer sit down.
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  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
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    edited November 2013
    For me it is situational, depending on the setup.

    As PPs have mentioned, buffets are less formal, and may allow guests to have options that wouldn't be available with sit down meals; on the other hand, they can be problematic if guests have to stand in long lines or carry their trays a long distance to their table, and if you don't have assigned tables, they then have to carry the trays and their belongings with them to find a seat.

    With sit downs, you avoid the carrying of trays issues, but you need to make sure that tables are served as simultaneously as possible and the waitstaff has to be able to identify which meals go to which guests.

    Depending on circumstances, buffets may not be cheaper than sit downs.
  • tammym1001tammym1001 Akron, Ohio
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary 5 Answers
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    It sounds like you haven't asked these questions to your caterer so I would start there. Most people assume sit down is more expensive, but my venue actually charges more for a buffet so you will definitely want to ask. I personally prefer buffet, but I'm picky about what I eat and I also don't like my food to touch each other. Every time I get a dinner served to me where they are trying to be all fancy and they stack the meat on top of the potatoes with a cute little vegetable arrangement on top and drenched in sauce it irritates the heck out of me.
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  • CallaLily25CallaLily25
    100 Comments Second Anniversary 25 Love Its Name Dropper
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    edited November 2013
    I prefer sit-down. I always feel rushed at buffet weddings.

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  • I've never seen a sit down dinner at a wedding, but I can't imagine I'd prefer that - I want to choose what and how much goes on my plate. 
  • Personally, I prefer a buffet.  I like to choose my portion size and food.  They're often cheaper because they require significantly less staff.  I've never been to a wedding with plated dinners, every one has been a buffet, and I've never had cold or stale food.  If your caterer is experienced in buffets, which it sounds like they are, that shouldn't be an issue.
  • I like them both.

    If you do a buffet you may want to consider a family or plated salad option.  That is when the meal starts with everyone already having salad at their plate (or a family style bowl at the table) or the salad is served to the table shortly after sitting down.  This option gives people something to start eating while they are waiting to be given the OK to go to the buffet and eliminates the issue of people trying to carry both a salad plate and main course plate back to their seat from the buffet.

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