Wedding Reception Forum

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

  • Blue_BirdBlue_Bird Bawlmer member
    Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 500 Comments First Answer
    What would you prefer and what can you afford? Your guests will probably be split in half as to what they will prefer. I personally don't like to wait in lines and didn't want my guests to wait in lines. I wanted everyone to be able to sit down and eat around the same time with the same temperature of food without risking dropping it on their way back to their seats.
  • I think it really depends about how many people you have and what your preference is. I'm having 250 people. Could you imagine 250 people in line for food? It would take forever and they'd constantly have to reload the buffet. Another thing which blue_bird touched on is people can easily drop food in a buffet and also get food on them more easily. Also, not a desirable thing for a wedding.

     If your catering people won't do sit down, then I guess that also answers your question.
    Daisypath Wedding tickers
  • We're still struggling with this too. My fiance really loves plated dinners and I like buffets. Plus I am struggling to figure out a vegetarian option for our friends so that they aren't stuck with nothing to eat but salad.

    I feel like plated dinners waste a lot less food, but at the same time people have to pick what entree they want beforehand.
    It's stupid but this is actually one of the hardest things to pick for me.
  • ViczaesarViczaesar Central Coast, CA member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    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......
    If you post on more than one board please put XP in the title. 

    If you're not sure if the catering people you have now will do sit down, how do you know that buffet will save you money?  That's not always true.



  • Buffet's are often MORE expensive than plated meals, because you need more food. People might take a lot of something, and you still need enough for everyone. In a plated meal, the portion sizes are set, so it's not like you need enough to prevent running out of something because there's someone taking a ton. 

    Another option is to do dinner family style. I've seen this at a few weddings we've been to recently. It seems like a good compromise if you really can't decide whether to do plated or buffet! In family style, the guests stay seated, and get a large dish of each of the food items, and then pass them around the tables themselves...taking as much/little of each dish as they like. 
  • We were torn on doing plated vs buffet, but with our venue the plated had SO many options that we quite honestly didn't want to deal with keeping track of the RSVPs and options on top of all the other planning, so we opted for buffet! For our venue buffet was cheaper per person than plated, for what it's worth. So if it comes down to strictly cost, one option may be clearer than the other.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Talk with your caterer first and see if a sit-down is even an option.
    Then figure out appx cost for plated vs. buffet per your caterer per your actual food option.  We went with the buffet, and the prices were comparable- dependent on what you want to serve. We're planning 3 entrees with one of it being a real vegetarian plate.  

    The venue is used to serving buffets so they plan on setting the food up in 2 separate areas of the room (same food on both sides) and have 2 lines at each area, a total of 4 lines that serves the same food. I'm hoping that resolves the waiting in line issue.  

    As for costs, some venues do staff more when you're doing a sit-down vs a buffet so you want to take that into account if there are extra charges.

  • RebeccaB88RebeccaB88 Figment of Your Imagination member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I personally can't stand plated meals. I've never had one that wasn't cold, overcooked, unappetizing, and had food on it that I couldn't eat. I just think they're awful.  I'd much prefer a buffet, and I've never been to an event with a buffet where and adult has dropped a plate of food on the floor or themselves. (Small children are another story, and it happened when adults weren't helping.) I trust my guests to carry their plate without destroying it, so I think buffets/stations are the best way to go. I'm also picky, and that's the best way for me to get a satisfying meal. I always leave plated meals hungry.
  • I like buffet. I don't like choosing my meal a month in advance when I don't know what the venue's food is like. 
    image
  • We checked out a few venues asking for sit down only. The place we booked said typically it takes 9-11 mins to get all the food out for the sit down, the buffet was between 15-20 mins. Let's face it, everyone will want to know "what's in that?" and lord can't make grandma in a wheelchair move any faster. We actually SAVED $3 a plate too by choosing the sit down option as well!
  • We're having trouble with this too. We just can't decide. We're not even sure we want a full meal. Our wedding is in the middle of the day so we're thinking about just having horderves, especially since I just recently heard my great grandmother talk about wanting to cook dinner for everyone in the family that night.
  • Having a similar issue for a Sunday brunch wedding. We were thinking buffet (because we want to give people the option of picking and choosing between breakfast and lunch items) but I do feel like it feels a little less formal/elegant than a sit down meal.  I think in our case a plated meal would also actually end up being cheaper.
  • I personally can't stand plated meals. I've never had one that wasn't cold, overcooked, unappetizing, and had food on it that I couldn't eat. I just think they're awful.  I'd much prefer a buffet, and I've never been to an event with a buffet where and adult has dropped a plate of food on the floor or themselves. (Small children are another story, and it happened when adults weren't helping.) I trust my guests to carry their plate without destroying it, so I think buffets/stations are the best way to go. I'm also picky, and that's the best way for me to get a satisfying meal. I always leave plated meals hungry.
    I'm so with her!! I am picky and I love being able to go up to a buffet and pick 3 times the potatoes instead of veggies!! We are having  buffet at ours, it's only $2 cheaper but I like letting people chose how much of what they want to eat.
    grumbledore
  • I like the idea of a buffet where everyone can pick and choose what they want. Then you don't have to deal with meal choices on the invitation and making sure everyone gets the right meal. The buffet is actually slightly more expensive at our venue, but its just our preference. 
    image
  • climbingsingleclimbingsingle NYC 'burbs member
    Ninth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    At our venue, we get more food with the buffet so I've been leaning more towards that. We're looking at about 100 people and the tables get released one at a time so that the line isn't too long (always a pet peeve of mine). But the buffet is more expensive than their cheapest per person package. 
  • I like buffets better because I don't have to make a detailed seating chart OR make place setting cards for each person indicating what they ordered.  Those may be hard for the servers to see, and keeping track of what everyone picked for a meal is difficult.  However, you could always get the same thing for everyone, with those who are gluten-free or vegetarian/vegan reminding the servers.
  • We're doing a sitdown. I've been to a lot of buffet weddings and I just don't care for the line, feeling like I'm at a feeding trough or in high school cafeteria, etc. I would rather my guests feel like they're at a classy restaurant. But that's just my opinion, I know some people prefer buffets. We're making sure our sitdown will be plenty of food so that if people don't like something on their plate, they have plenty of other options. 
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Tenth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    esev624 said:
    I like buffets better because I don't have to make a detailed seating chart OR make place setting cards for each person indicating what they ordered.  Those may be hard for the servers to see, and keeping track of what everyone picked for a meal is difficult.  However, you could always get the same thing for everyone, with those who are gluten-free or vegetarian/vegan reminding the servers.
    Having a buffet doesn't mean this.  It means that you don't have to indicate to waitstaff who should be served what at which table, but many guests do prefer assigned tables with buffets.

    It is not pleasant to stand on lines or carry around a heavy tray of food while looking for an open seat at a table-especially if people are "saving" them for friends and relatives of their own while you are wearing high heeled shoes.  It is a courtesy to not expect guests to have to do this.
    grumbledore
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