Post # 1
I’ve been trying to figure out how to go about this for a while. Our venue let’s us have any caterer we want, which is great…because we can choose our favourite BBQ restaurant (yay). However, they refuse to do anything other than a buffet (ok, fine)…but that means they won’t clear up the tables.
The venue only has one staff member present, and she is there to supervise – not clear up after us.
My FI seems to think it’d be okay to get his family (who are very helpful and ready to serve) to clear up, but I hate that idea. I mean, our reception should be enjoyed by our family…I really don’t want his mom walking around picking up dirty plates.
So what should I do? I also think having guests clear up after themselves is tacky! FI suggested we could do disposable plates so clearing up after themselves wouldn’t be hard. I know we’re having BBQ food so it’s not that formal, but disposable plates? At a wedding? I’m a pretty laid-back bride, but that’s not what I had in mind.
Anyone else encountered this problem?
Post # 3
@SupermarketGirl: The caterer I’ll be using has a choice between plastic plates that look like china and the eco-friendly plates. I want to do the latter, but I know my mom won’t be happy about it.
My aunt suggested I really think about hiring staff for the buffet, and I’m thinking about it but I don’t necessarily see the need. Have you asked your caterer if you can hire some of their staff, even just one or two people?
Post # 4
At first I wanted to get fancy disposables, (I’ve seen them at a couple weddings and they are nice:)) but 1. Its wasteful and 2. Real dishes would just make the day feel a little more special!
So, we are having this “problem” too. I think it depends on your guests. I know that if we do use real plates & silverware, our guests wouldn’t make a big deal about having to stack their dishes in the kitchen area. (Our venue allows us access to the kitchen). To me, its almost the same as them throwing away their disposables. I hear that buying real dishes might be cheaper than disposables!
Maybe you could hire other people to act as bussers? Would your venue allow that?
Post # 5
Yep, we’re doing disposable plates. In the grand scheme of things, I decided it was one thing I could let go/not care about.
Also, our caterer charged like $2/pp for china, and we bought disposables for like $.43/pp.
Post # 6
While I personally had staff/table service at my wedding, we had attended super casual/relaxed receptions before where there wasn’t table service. Rather than having close relatives deal with the trash afterwards, we just bussed our own plates/trash afterwards. They had a few trashcans scattered around the room and everyone got the cue that they were responsible for their trash. Obviously, they did disposables. IMO, if guests have to deal with their own plates, it’s better to do disposables because who is going to wash all those plates? Even at parties we throw at home with more than 8 people, we use disposables.
I also watched a 4 Weddings episode where the guests had to bus their tables afterwards but that was a bit awkward since there was no cue that this was supposed to take place (no trashcans set up) and then out of nowhere, the music ended and relatives appeared with big Hefty bags.
Post # 7
a few things:
1. can you hire an extra staffer from the restaurant to clear tables?
2. Personally, I’d never use disposable plates for my wedding. However, my wedding is super formal. If my wedding were more country/outdoorsy I’d probably go for it. My mom has used those fancy shmancy disposable plates for our insanely huge Passover seder for the last few years and I swear you can’t tell they’re disposable until you pick up a fork and it’s so light weight!
3. When we were discussing renting dishware apart from our caterer I had the same thought- “I’m not washing all those plates!” but it turned out you return them dirty and they wash them. So, still an option.
Post # 8
We’re having a BBQ reception at a park pavilion that’s like a barn.
We got ivory colored sturyd disposable plates, the “Reflections” disposable silverware, napkins, and tiny little lace paper doilies. We took the 3 utincils and wrapped a napkin around them then wrapped the lace doily around them and tied them with a little burlap string. (A DIY idea I saw off of Pinterest that turned out ADORABLE!).
Post # 9
If the restaurant won’t let you hire one of their staff (truth be told, they probably will not want to let one of their staff go work somewhere else on a Saturday in June when world plus dog probably wants to go out for BBQ), you can get event staff from any temp agency, or check with your local culinary school. I would hire two staff: one buffet attendant to keep the line moving, explain what the choices are, stir anything that needs a good stir, and wipe up any spills; and one busser to keep tables tidy. I’d go with rental plates, actual plates and not disposables. When most folks have been fed, the buffet attendant can help start stacking the dishes into the rental cartons (just make sure you know if your vendor will take them back dirty or if you must clean them first).
You’ll probably spend $200-300 on the two staff, but it’s money well spent so that you or someone in your family is not chained to the buffet, refilling serving pans all day.