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Buffet or Plated Dinner?

Although my decision does not have to final until spring 2012, I am having a hard time deciding on whether to do a plated or buffet style dinner. For example, with the budget we have if I go with buffet I can get three different types of meat and four hors' dourves along with any sides. But if I choose plated, my guests can choose one of four meat choices, five hors' dourves and any sides and better alcohol choices. The plated seems to be cheaper so i could throw in extras like a chocolate dipped strawberries or even a fondue and still be within budget. They both have its pros and cons. Undecided Did you have plated or buffet and what helped you to decide?

Re: Buffet or Plated Dinner?

  • edited December 2011
    I am all about convenience.  Plated meals add a level of convenience for your guests in that it doesn't require them to stand in line for food. Plated meals also makes the dinner hour go by faster because service is faster.  

    I get that buffet allows you more choice, but those choices come at a higher cost most times.  They have to prepare a larger quantity of food for buffet because it is harder to regulate the quantity of food for each guest when they serve themselves.  Plated meals allow the chefs to control quantity better.

    If you have more than 100 guests, it can take a long time for everyone to go through the buffet line.  It can add time on to you dinner trying to get a bunch of people through a buffet line.  It is easy to add another 45 minutes onto your dinner hour and reception time just trying to get people through the buffet line before the last person can sit down to eat.  

    I went to an event that had 300+ people and the meal was being served buffet style. It took over an hour for everyone to get their food.  If I know that a wedding has a buffet meal, I will arrive at the reception late so I can miss as much of the wait in line as possible. Then again, I am antsy and don't like to wait in line for anything.  I will read a magazine off to the side until the lines go down in the grocery strore.  

    If you have a small group and want the variety (and the higher price tag) then go with the buffet.  A plated meal will streamline your dinner service and save you a few bucks per person.  
  • monet7383monet7383 member
    edited December 2011
    I am having a somewhat large reception so thanx for the advice. All the weddings that I have attended recently were buffet style and I hated the waiting part. With plated I was just concerened with paying for people that will RSVP yes and then last minute not show up. But I guess that would be the case even if I went with buffet Undecided
  • jagore08jagore08 member
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    edited December 2011
    We did buffet because it was cheaper than plated.  I usually prefer a plated meal but I don't mind buffets.
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  • edited December 2011
    As far as guaranteeing for plated meals, you have the option to guarantee as low as possible. If you expect 150 people to attend the event, I would guarantee 120.  You can always increase the number, you just cannot decrease.  Also, if your venue prepares a 3% overage, factor that number into your calculation so that you can reduce the number that you actually have to pay for, but will ensure that you have enough meals to serve your guests.  

    The guarantee calculation is definitely a game, but it is one you can win.  
  • monet7383monet7383 member
    edited December 2011
    Thank you ladies for all your input. You have been a big help!
  • edited December 2011
    For the same reasons listed above, I would opt for the plated dinner. If your wedding is going to be formal, your guest should receive formal treatment. I love buffets when I am in Vegas but not for a wedding.  Doing my own research, I was rather shocked to learn that Plated is cheaper(by a 2 or 3 bucks per person) than the buffet.  Plated also allows for a smooth transition into the next stage of your planned wedding.  You wouldnt want anyone to miss anything due to standing in line trying to get a plate.  Just food for thought. 
  • imlovingitimlovingit member
    Eighth Anniversary 100 Comments Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    We did plated although buffet would have been alot better on our pockets. In the end it was more important that our guests were comfortable and we felt that with a buffet many of them would have to wait too long to eat while others might already be finishing their meal. I didn't want the dinner part to feel like they were in a cafeteria. In the end we were happy with our choice.
  • edited December 2011
    We're doing buffet. For us, it's cheaper and they get more options. The owner of the venue is also the head chef and is BIG on the food. He said no matter if we have 100 or 200 people, he'll make sure everyone has food within 20 mins of the buffet opening, so that made me confident and not worry about how long people will be waiting for food.
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  • edited December 2011
    We did plated. I think it's a little fancier than buffet, which has a casual feel to me. It also meant people didn't have to wait in line or balance their plate while in their nice clothes.
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  • simplestlifesimplestlife member
    edited December 2011
    We're planning on doing buffet. I like the idea of plated (it seems nicer to me) but we get more food options with the buffet, which is why we're doing that instead. Also, my dad (who is paying for the entire wedding) really wants it to be buffet, so I'm not going to argue. 

    I guess the benefit to buffet is that people do get up and mingle more. We really want our reception to be more of a fun party than anything else, so as cheesy as a buffet might be the way to make it less formal.
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  • edited December 2011
    We are doing buffet as well. Its not always more expensive, as in our case, it is significantly cheaper, and it was that way for a number of venues that we visited.  We are expecting around 150-180 guests, and my friends and family are very picky. I'd rather everyone be satisfied with choosing their own meals based on what they feel like in that moment, instead of being disappointed with something they chose two months ago. I do agree that plated seems the more organized option, but I was just at a wedding and chose the "vegetarian" dish, which ended up being a bland heap of spaghetti and marinara sauce. Not entirely ideal.  My FI chose the steak, which was such a small serving that we ended up having to order pizza on the way home, because he was still starving. I'm sure we will be able to work with our wedding coordinator and the caterers to figure out a way to feed everyone within a reasonable amount of time, without too much waiting. 
  • I got married 10-2-10 and opted for food stations. 1 had a pasta station, a meat station and salad station and a seafood station. Everyone had an option to pick what they wanted to eat and in the end it’s usually cheaper.


    Another thing to consider is that we never really stopped the dancing and celebration because we did not force our guest to sit down. We opened the stations at a set time and they remained opened for a couple of hours.


    Hope this helps…




    Tanya A.

    Customer Relationship Manager

    Beverly Hills Carpet Cleaners, Inc.


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