Reception Ideas

Serving our guests..

My friend/caterer had an idea for serving the food. She said that we should have a certain song play when it's time for each table to go grab their food. Of course I would have my hostesses make the plates and etc. She said it would cut down on long lines and having older people standing too long. But my FI doesn't like the idea. He said it's a waste of time, somehow... I am indifferent. How did you guys do that portion? I know that most of you probably had your food brought to your guest but since I'm not using a catering company or anything, the guests will be grabbing it themselves. Ideas?

Re: Serving our guests..

  • My friend/caterer had an idea for serving the food. She said that we should have a certain song play when it's time for each table to go grab their food. Of course I would have my hostesses make the plates and etc. She said it would cut down on long lines and having older people standing too long. But my FI doesn't like the idea. He said it's a waste of time, somehow... I am indifferent. How did you guys do that portion? I know that most of you probably had your food brought to your guest but since I'm not using a catering company or anything, the guests will be grabbing it themselves. Ideas?
    I'm a little confused- is it a buffet?  I haven't attended a wedding with one but when I'm at functions with one (office pot luck, cruise...) isn't the best part making your own plate?  
    And it's fine to pay your friend to cater if she's in the business, but make sure you also have hired wait staff so that family isn't working your wedding.

    okay sorry for getting off topic-  I vote no for the song idea.  I think that'd be a lot of choppy songs- a song starts, guests get up to grab their plates, then halfway through another song starts? Music shouldn't be playing too loud when guests are eating, and if half of your guests were served while the music was loud enough for the rest to hear their song, it could be annoying for them.
    OurWildKingdomInLoveInQueens
  • I am with the PPs this sounds overly complicated and confusing. What exactly are you doing?  Having a plated meal but having the guests come up and grab it instead of it being brought table side?  Or are you talking about a more traditional buffet where each guest fixes their own plate?

    Either way, I would not do this.  There are too many ways that it could be inconvenient to the guests such as them not knowing what a song is, or missing it because they were busy, plus making it one more thing they have to remember.  Typically there is either a DOC that comes around and releases the tables quietly, or the DJ makes an announcement each time a table or two should go and get food.

    Also, I do what to echo some others that it is wonderful that your friend is helping you with your wedding food but I do hope that you aren't making your friends and family work your wedding.  Unless you are treating them like vendors with significant compensation its not really a fair or nice thing to do (take it from me as someone who was voluntold to do this at a former-friends wedding).  Besides plating the food a lot goes into catering such as proper temps, prep and clean-up duties.  I do hope you have some hired help outside of your friends and family to do this.

    OurWildKingdom
  • Agree with PPs, don't do this. If you need to release tables one a time for any reason, the best way is to have the DJ or MC announce when it's each table's turn by using the number. What if someone doesn't know the song? What if someone isn't paying attention to the music? Why are your guests grabbing plates if it's not a buffet? This sounds like a complicated answer to a simple problem.
    OurWildKingdom
  • My friend/caterer had an idea for serving the food. She said that we should have a certain song play when it's time for each table to go grab their food. Of course I would have my hostesses make the plates and etc. She said it would cut down on long lines and having older people standing too long. But my FI doesn't like the idea. He said it's a waste of time, somehow... I am indifferent. How did you guys do that portion? I know that most of you probably had your food brought to your guest but since I'm not using a catering company or anything, the guests will be grabbing it themselves. Ideas?

    What?  I'm so confused.  You are making friends plate meals then hand them out? 

    Does this friend/caterer have experience with wedding sized groups?

    It seems like you are making things more difficult then they should be.

    STARMOON44
  • Of course I would have my hostesses make the plates and etc. 
    Is this someone paid by the caterer? Or a family friend? Are they portioning out food? If so and the guests aren't picking what goes on the plates anyway, why aren't the plates just being delivered to the table?
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    STARMOON44PrettyGirlLost
  • I wouldn't do it. I agree it could be confusing (what if the song ends before the table is finished getting their plates? What if they are done early? What if they miss their song?) and seems a lot of work (your DJ has to know the song and change it each time the next table is ready).

    At the last wedding I went to with a buffet, the MC called out the table numbers as they were ready. A simple, "Table 3!".
  • My friend is a licensed caterer but I didn't know what all she had done. I've only been to a few functions(no weddings) that she's catered. I guess I shouldn't consider her not to be a catering company when she actually is. She just gave a suggestion for what some people have done at weddings. It's sort of a buffet but there will be options on some things so they can tell the server which food item they want. Which is why they have to go up there. My caterer has since told me that she has a staff and she can have them serve the plates. I thought that's what the hostesses do. I don't know a lot about how the process goes. I'm learning as I go. Just wanted suggestions on how people did their weddings. 
  • mollybarker11mollybarker11 member
    500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 500 Comments Name Dropper
    edited February 2017
    I think there's a bit of confusion with the terminology. Hosts are the people who greet you at the door and show you to your table. Servers are the people who bring you your food. Some buffets have servers at some (or all) stations to physically put the food on your plate for you.

    Your latest post indicates that the caterer's staff will be serving the plates after all, but if you were to go buffet-style and release tables*, just have the MC/DJ announce the table numbers in plain English instead of playing a certain song and expecting guests to know the code. The song thing is a cute idea but I don't think it's practical. Alternatively, have the MC/DJ announce at the beginning that a staff member will come around to each table when it's their turn.


    *Releasing tables is an infinitely better idea than everyone getting up at once to stand in line.

    OurWildKingdomSP29
  • ernursejernursej member
    Knottie Warrior 1000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited February 2017
    My friend is a licensed caterer but I didn't know what all she had done. I've only been to a few functions(no weddings) that she's catered. I guess I shouldn't consider her not to be a catering company when she actually is. She just gave a suggestion for what some people have done at weddings. It's sort of a buffet but there will be options on some things so they can tell the server which food item they want. Which is why they have to go up there. My caterer has since told me that she has a staff and she can have them serve the plates. I thought that's what the hostesses do. I don't know a lot about how the process goes. I'm learning as I go. Just wanted suggestions on how people did their weddings. 


    Hum, I think you need to sit down with your friend and really dive into what she is capable of and what you would like. I would also ask for references and speak to those people about what they did and how well it worked.

    I've seen the following at weddings:

    - buffet with and without staff-manned carving/service stations (often lower priced and offers more choice but can have longer lines for guests; I've always liked buffets for the choice in what I put on my plate)

    - plated where staff will serve guests at their table (choices can be pre-arranged with RSVP cards or ordered directly at the table; often more expensive but this means guests can be served all at once ... I love this because you don't have to wait in line)

    - family style where large plates are delivered to tables and guests serve themselves (allows for guests to choose what they put on their plate but some people may not like communal serving dishes if they don't know the people at their table)

    *I have never seen buffet service where plates are pre-made and guests have to come up to add on or choose the plate that they would get.

    **I did family style at my wedding and unsolicited feedback was overwhelmingly positive. We didn't have any unmatched guests so everyone knew everyone at their tables. I loved it because we had a lot of choice at the table and it made it easier for the kitchen to put out more variety.


    - I just re-read the initial post and I'm still not clear on who is preparing the food. This will absolutely change how you do things. Be very careful about friends and family preparing the food if they don't have professional experience and professional equipment. You venue may also restrict who can do the 'catering'.

    OurWildKingdom
  • levioosalevioosa Southern California member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Honestly, don't use your friend. Use a professional caterer that is not related to you or a good friend. It will be much easier to have a professional relationship with them, and an experienced caterer will know what to do for a wedding. Your friend sounds a little bit like she is just piecing things together she found on Pinterest. Having tables released by song is confusing and ineffective. Also, if the "hostess" is a family member or friend (not sure what you mean by that term here) they shouldn't be working at your event anyways. 


    image
    OurWildKingdom
  • ernursej said:

    Hum, I think you need to sit down with your friend and really dive into what she is capable of and what you would like. I would also ask for references and speak to those people about what they did and how well it worked.

    I've seen the following at weddings:

    - buffet with and without staff-manned carving/service stations (often lower priced and offers more choice but can have longer lines for guests; I've always liked buffets for the choice in what I put on my plate)

    - plated where staff will serve guests at their table (choices can be pre-arranged with RSVP cards or ordered directly at the table; often more expensive but this means guests can be served all at once ... I love this because you don't have to wait in line)

    - family style where large plates are delivered to tables and guests serve themselves (allows for guests to choose what they put on their plate but some people may not like communal serving dishes if they don't know the people at their table)

    *I have never seen buffet service where plates are pre-made and guests have to come up to add on or choose the plate that they would get.

    **I did family style at my wedding and unsolicited feedback was overwhelmingly positive. We didn't have any unmatched guests so everyone knew everyone at their tables. I loved it because we had a lot of choice at the table and it made it easier for the kitchen to put out more variety.


    - I just re-read the initial post and I'm still not clear on who is preparing the food. This will absolutely change how you do things. Be very careful about friends and family preparing the food if they don't have professional experience and professional equipment. You venue may also restrict who can do the 'catering'.

    I like this idea. Thank you
  • ernursej said:

    Hum, I think you need to sit down with your friend and really dive into what she is capable of and what you would like. I would also ask for references and speak to those people about what they did and how well it worked.

    I've seen the following at weddings:

    - buffet with and without staff-manned carving/service stations (often lower priced and offers more choice but can have longer lines for guests; I've always liked buffets for the choice in what I put on my plate)

    - plated where staff will serve guests at their table (choices can be pre-arranged with RSVP cards or ordered directly at the table; often more expensive but this means guests can be served all at once ... I love this because you don't have to wait in line)

    - family style where large plates are delivered to tables and guests serve themselves (allows for guests to choose what they put on their plate but some people may not like communal serving dishes if they don't know the people at their table)

    *I have never seen buffet service where plates are pre-made and guests have to come up to add on or choose the plate that they would get.

    **I did family style at my wedding and unsolicited feedback was overwhelmingly positive. We didn't have any unmatched guests so everyone knew everyone at their tables. I loved it because we had a lot of choice at the table and it made it easier for the kitchen to put out more variety.


    - I just re-read the initial post and I'm still not clear on who is preparing the food. This will absolutely change how you do things. Be very careful about friends and family preparing the food if they don't have professional experience and professional equipment. You venue may also restrict who can do the 'catering'.

    I like this idea. Thank you


    Your welcome.

    **Make sure that your caterer is experienced with family style so that it works well. Big serving dishes, several serving utensils per dish and adequate table space are important. We had a salad course where there were two large platters of caprese salad were provided for tables of 6-8, an entrée course with several pastas and cooked cut steak where each type of entrée was also served on a giant platter. They had servers roaming to bring out another portion of whatever was almost gone. I had my whole wedding at a restaurant that does family style a lot so they were very experienced at it.

    Knottie1463276970OurWildKingdom
  • ernursej said:
    ernursej said:

    Hum, I think you need to sit down with your friend and really dive into what she is capable of and what you would like. I would also ask for references and speak to those people about what they did and how well it worked.

    I've seen the following at weddings:

    - buffet with and without staff-manned carving/service stations (often lower priced and offers more choice but can have longer lines for guests; I've always liked buffets for the choice in what I put on my plate)

    - plated where staff will serve guests at their table (choices can be pre-arranged with RSVP cards or ordered directly at the table; often more expensive but this means guests can be served all at once ... I love this because you don't have to wait in line)

    - family style where large plates are delivered to tables and guests serve themselves (allows for guests to choose what they put on their plate but some people may not like communal serving dishes if they don't know the people at their table)

    *I have never seen buffet service where plates are pre-made and guests have to come up to add on or choose the plate that they would get.

    **I did family style at my wedding and unsolicited feedback was overwhelmingly positive. We didn't have any unmatched guests so everyone knew everyone at their tables. I loved it because we had a lot of choice at the table and it made it easier for the kitchen to put out more variety.


    - I just re-read the initial post and I'm still not clear on who is preparing the food. This will absolutely change how you do things. Be very careful about friends and family preparing the food if they don't have professional experience and professional equipment. You venue may also restrict who can do the 'catering'.

    I like this idea. Thank you


    Your welcome.

    **Make sure that your caterer is experienced with family style so that it works well. Big serving dishes, several serving utensils per dish and adequate table space are important. We had a salad course where there were two large platters of caprese salad were provided for tables of 6-8, an entrée course with several pastas and cooked cut steak where each type of entrée was also served on a giant platter. They had servers roaming to bring out another portion of whatever was almost gone. I had my whole wedding at a restaurant that does family style a lot so they were very experienced at it.


    I can't second the bolded enough. I've already shared what happened at my cousin's wedding with family style being an awful clusterfuck mess, but it can't hurt to emphasize that it needs to be done right. They were bringing out courses while the band was playing, they didn't announce courses were ready until ~15 minutes after each dish was placed on the table so hot food was freezing (it was an outdoor wedding in September and the heaters broke so everyone was just sitting around shivering anyway), there wasn't enough food at each table but no one came around to replenish dishes or take away dirty dishes. We left early and got McDonald's on the way back to our hotel.
    ernursejOurWildKingdomcowgirl8238
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