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How to start buffet?

We are having an outdoor wedding.  The "cocktail" hour (no actual cocktails as alcohol isn't allowed by the property owners - just tea, lemonade, and appetizers with lawn games and socializing) and the reception will be at the same place.  How should we officially start the buffet part of the night after my fiance and I arrive?  Not really into having a receiving line, but haven't ruled it out yet either.   Thoughts?

Re: How to start buffet?

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    Are caterers bringing in the food and staying to serve? Ask them; they've figured these things out before.

    I think receiving lines usually go right after the ceremony? Is that not true?
    This is me reading threads on TK
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    Thanks for your response...  Because it's a more casual ceremony, our caterer is also more casual (pulled pork or chicken, veggies, and a potato bar).  He is a local guy who owns his own restaurant..but I suppose I could ask him, he may have an idea. 

    The only wedding I've been to that had the receiving line it was after the cocktail hour as the guests were walking into the reception area.  Maybe that isn't the norm?
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    You and your brand new spouse get to go first and start filling your plates. Enjoy!
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    You and your brand new spouse get to go first and start filling your plates. Enjoy!
    This!  People will take their cue from you and know it's ok to start eating once they see you eating,
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    I went to a wedding with a buffet meal last summer and the way they did it was by announcing one or two tables at a time. The head table went first, and then table 1 and 2, followed by 3 & 4....not sure if this is the typical way it is done but that was my experience. The MC was the one to announce this.
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    emmyg65emmyg65 member
    First Anniversary First Comment First Answer 5 Love Its
    You and your brand new spouse get to go first and start filling your plates. Enjoy!
    Yep. We had a wedding like what you're planning and this is what we did. It worked.
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    mysticlmysticl member
    First Anniversary First Answer First Comment 5 Love Its
    Thanks for your response...  Because it's a more casual ceremony, our caterer is also more casual (pulled pork or chicken, veggies, and a potato bar).  He is a local guy who owns his own restaurant..but I suppose I could ask him, he may have an idea. 

    The only wedding I've been to that had the receiving line it was after the cocktail hour as the guests were walking into the reception area.  Maybe that isn't the norm?
    It's not.  Every receiving line I have seen the bride and groom walk out of their ceremony and line up (sometimes with the wedding party and/or their parents, sometimes just them) and greet the guests as they walk out.  Then the guests head to the reception and the wedding part goes to take pictures.  
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    Are you being announced by someone when you arrive? If so, just have that person say "the bride and groom will be starting the buffet line; please line up after them for dinner" right at the end and you go straight into eating. Or "please take your seats and you'll be released by table to visit the buffet" if you have someone who can do that releasing.

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    Following our "grand entrance", our MC will introduce the head table and announce that dinner will start soon, and how the buffet will work; instead of just calling out table numbers, we are using songs instead; when the DJ plays the song assigned to your table, you get up and get dinner.  The head table (thankfully) is being served "family style".  Now comes the task of picking fairly recognizable songs!
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    mysticl said:
    Thanks for your response...  Because it's a more casual ceremony, our caterer is also more casual (pulled pork or chicken, veggies, and a potato bar).  He is a local guy who owns his own restaurant..but I suppose I could ask him, he may have an idea. 

    The only wedding I've been to that had the receiving line it was after the cocktail hour as the guests were walking into the reception area.  Maybe that isn't the norm?
    It's not.  Every receiving line I have seen the bride and groom walk out of their ceremony and line up (sometimes with the wedding party and/or their parents, sometimes just them) and greet the guests as they walk out.  Then the guests head to the reception and the wedding part goes to take pictures.  
    Hmm...  Guess I went to an oddball wedding! :)  We are having the ceremony out in the pasture near a beautiful pond and then the reception back up at the barn.  We plan to have two antique tractors pulling carts to transport people back and forth.  It's not a long trip (even by tractor! We usually walk but I didn't want to expect my guests to hoof it through the pasture in their nice clothing!), but I figure there would be a small wait as one load of guests is dropped off (we figure with 2 tractors pulling it will take 2-3 trips to get everyone back - elderly are taken first, although shade, seats, and bottled water will be available at the ceremony site for those waiting.  I'm even trying to find a 3rd tractor to make this wait even shorter).  I'm not sure how a receiving line would work with that set up.  Might require some thought...  I'll probably mingle with the guests as they are waiting for their rides and then table hop.
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    Following our "grand entrance", our MC will introduce the head table and announce that dinner will start soon, and how the buffet will work; instead of just calling out table numbers, we are using songs instead; when the DJ plays the song assigned to your table, you get up and get dinner.  The head table (thankfully) is being served "family style".  Now comes the task of picking fairly recognizable songs!
    CUTE IDEA!!  
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    Are you being announced by someone when you arrive? If so, just have that person say "the bride and groom will be starting the buffet line; please line up after them for dinner" right at the end and you go straight into eating. Or "please take your seats and you'll be released by table to visit the buffet" if you have someone who can do that releasing.
    Good idea.  After some thought, I think I will have my pastor bless the food and then just announce that we will go first, followed by the rest of the guests.  I thought about having her say a blessing for the food at the end of the ceremony but this just makes more sense! 
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    Following our "grand entrance", our MC will introduce the head table and announce that dinner will start soon, and how the buffet will work; instead of just calling out table numbers, we are using songs instead; when the DJ plays the song assigned to your table, you get up and get dinner.  The head table (thankfully) is being served "family style".  Now comes the task of picking fairly recognizable songs!
    It's rude to serve the head table one way but have buffet for everyone else.  It gives off the impression that your table is superior to everyone else.   As for table calling, I would much rather have table numbers called than have to listen for a song.
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