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Food and Cakes

Buffet or Sitdown Dinner?

Are buffets cheaper than a sitdown dinner? What would you choose? My fiance thinks a buffet would be better. I'm kind of torn. I like that with a buffet that guest can choose whatever you want to eat but I also like the idea of a sitdown dinner.
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Re: Buffet or Sitdown Dinner?

  • edited December 2011
    I prefer sit down dinners, I find them to be better suited for a formal event.  From my experience it takes longerfor guests to get their food from buffets as well. I don't want to have to carry plates while in my wedding dress (or even a cocktail dress as a guest), especially if you have a salad plate and a dinner plate.  I also feel like food can get gross quickly in chaffing dishes or it may not get swapped out at the right time, leaving it empty with guests up there.

    The advantage is that guests are given more variety and can choose te quantities of their food.

    Depending on the venue buffet may or may not be cheaper.  Sometimes it is more expensive because they have to prepare more food.  Does your venue offer family style?  That is a nice compromise.  Everything would come to the table on platters and people pass them around and take what they would like. The one time I saw this it was poorly executed.  Must have put 10 people at what was supposed to be an 8 top because not all of the dishes fit on the table and there wasn't enough of everything to give everyone a small serving.  So if you go with family style, I would put less people per table to make sure it isn't too crowded.
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  • edited December 2011
    I find sit down dinners to be more formal. There was a time whe buffet = cheaper, but most places have the same quality of food with a buffet and a plated meal, and having a buffet means they have to make more food to take people self-portioning into account.
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  • edited December 2011
    I think I'm going to go with sit down. I like that it's more formal as well. We haven't booked a venue yet. But I know some venues want to know what you want when your asking for quotes. One place wanted to know so they can give me a better estimate.
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  • edited December 2011
    We are going to go with sit down. In general I'm not a huge buffet fan, and I definitely don't want to carry a plate and drink in my dress! In our venue, the price difference wasn't huge with less than 100 guests. Plus, the buffet room seemed far from the tables, and it seemed like a long way to carry food and not spill. Sit down can sometimes be faster as well.
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  • edited December 2011
    As PPs have said, the price difference depends on your venue/caterer.  

    Our venue was the same price.  We had a buffet, because H wanted a less formal feel (which was fine with me).  We actually had two identical buffet stations set up so people could get food from either one and weren't waiting as long as if there had just been one line.  We also had fairly small platters of each food out, so it was frequently replaced and didn't get cold or anything like that.  

  • Simply FatedSimply Fated member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    For a wedding pefer sit down. I hate navigating the reception room filled with hungry people, kids under foot, and dancing couples while carrying around a plate of food in my nice dress. I'm just too clumsy for it.
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  • edited December 2011
    I think some buffets are cheaper, but I wouldn't assume they all are.  We're doing a buffet b/c we're having brunch, so that just seems easier.  
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  • edited December 2011
      I prefer sit down. I like my food to be brought to me when I'm dressed up. Plus, I'm kind of clumsy and wouldn't want to spill on myself. I think buffets can take so long too, especially if you're the last table called or they don't even call tables and everyone goes at the same time to get food.
      Also, not all buffets are cheaper than sit down. It's actually cheaper at our venue to have a sit down meal with the choice of 3 entrees than it is to have a buffet with 3 entrees.
  • mpatt2122mpatt2122 member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    My venue doesn't offer the option of a sit down dinner so we had no choice but to do a buffet. I think if I did have a choice I would choose a sit down dinner, but I'm ok with doing a buffet.
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  • edited December 2011
    My venue offers both options but I'm planning on the sit-down dinner. I really don't want to worry about having an accident while going to get some food, plus we get our own server so that's a plus. If you're looking at a specific venue, examine their dinner options and how much each will cost. These days buffets can cost the same or even more so you have to look at the fine print.
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  • SuMmErKuTiESuMmErKuTiE member
    2500 Comments Fourth Anniversary 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    I prefer stations/buffets since DH and I are always hungry when we leave weddings that have sit down dinners. The portions are either too small or it isn't hot enough or we don't like the sides it comes with, etc... and then DH always makes us hit up the drive thru on the way home.

    We had stations for our wedding so our guests could choose what and how much they'd like to eat, plus they had the option to go up for more which is always a plus. We had a carving station with prime rib, turkey, and ham, a pasta station, a tuscan station, and a summer grille station. There was more than enough variety and enough food for the guests to go back up as much as they desired, plus it was displayed beautifully and not a typical "buffet" as they were stations. At our venue, having stations was the same package price as the sit down dinner would have been, so there was no question for us to pick the stations.
  • skwiesenskwiesen member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    We are having a sit down dinner.  It is definilty more formal and I think it is a nice touch. Even though you may not get the same choices, there is something to say about being served dinner than a free for all at a buffet line. 
  • edited December 2011
    Haven't read PPs.

    The cost all depends on the venue/caterer. A served dinner requires more staff, but people eat only the assigned portions, so the food costs are lower. People eat more food from a buffet, but you don't need as many servers. I've seen catering budgets where buffet was cheaper, and budgets where service was cheaper.

    A buffet is less formal. An option I like is family style, where serves place serving trays on each table, and the guests at each table pass the tray around. It doesn't require as much staff as a full-service meal, and I like the family atmosphere.
  • edited December 2011
    Sit down. Especially if your wedding is a formal event. I personally think buffets are gross and filled with germs (that's just my paranoid self). I wouldn't eat from a buffet ever.
  • RebeccaB88RebeccaB88 Figment of Your Imagination member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited December 2011
    I hate plated meals. The food is never hot or good, the portions too small, I never like everything on my plate, they take too long to serve and clean up. I've never had a good experience with a plated service.  I don't care if a buffet or stations are less formal, it's almost always more satisfying a meal for the guest.  I would never do a plated meal, ever.
  • edited December 2011
    I'm doing a sit down dinner because I'm mortified by the idea of running out of food.  I've been to a wedding where that happened, and I would just feel awful if it happened to me.  Plus, as I was talking about food, some of my relatives were already "planning their attack", which confirmed my suspicion that some people wouldn't take their fair share.
  • edited December 2011
    I definately prefer sit-down. I hate the idea of my guests waiting in line to eat. I think being served feels a lot more special. Buffets make me feel like I'm at a casino or something and it always seems like less quality food to me.
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  • jerseydeviljerseydevil member
    Fourth Anniversary 500 Comments 5 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    I prefer sitdown, absolutely. I hate waiting in line for food and balancing a plate in heels and a dress.

    Cost difference depends on your caterer, but something to think about is that sit down can often be less expensive than buffet. For a buffet caterers actually need to prepare MORE food for people who come up for seconds or just take a lot.

  • jess9802jess9802 member
    Knottie Warrior 500 Comments Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    All of the weddings I've been to have been buffets, and some have definitely been better than others. We did a buffet because servers at a semi-formal backyard wedding seemed way over the top, but I've not been thrilled with plated meals at most events I've attended. There's usually a few tables who are done with their food well before other have even been served, and the food can be cold.  When a buffet is done well the taste, quality, and presentation of the food is as good or better than a plated meal at a large event.
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