Post # 1
- Wedding: September 2014 - Villa Celeste
My wedding is not for awhile, and therefore I have lots of time to think out logistics. I would like everyone’s input on reception food distribution. First, I am having a very formal wedding and reception. I would like to have a nice meal following the ceramony. I have met with several L.A caterers, some who offer both buffet and plated meal options. From your experience (as a guest or future bride) what are you planning on doing for your reception, or if you are already married what did you do?
I like the idea of a buffet, in terms of variety, but I worry about everyone getting served within a reasonable time, and food getting cold, potentally not as formal, etc. I’m open to hearing more about your experiences. I am leaning more towards a plated dinner, but I honestly dread having “standard wedding food” and that’s why I like the buffet idea with several options.
Post # 3
In general, I hate buffets. I don’t like the idea of the food being picked over by so many people. I also don’t like the logistics of them at weddings.
Post # 4
As a guest, I prefer plated food at a wedding. Maybe you can find a vendor that will allow you to customize the dish options; rather than using a predetermined palate.
Post # 5
I truly don’t mind either as a guest. we are having a very formal ballroom evening wedding and we went with buffet. It gave our guest so many more options, plus people are still serving the buffet food. I personally like to get up and move around more too. I know I’m in the minority with buffets, but do whatever make you both happy! It’s your day!
Post # 6
i like buffets because i can choose what i want to eat and how much of it i want. we had a buffet at my wedding and it was great. the food didn’t get cold and everyone got their food in a timely manner. it helped that we only had 40 people at our wedding though. i’ve been to plated meals where the food sucked and it came out luke warm. just because it’s plated doesn’t mean the food is going to be better (or hot when it’s served).
Post # 7
I’ve had terrible food both ways…and I’ve had good food both ways. It’s a gamble, but if the caterers are good, they will have ways to make the buffet good as well. We are doing a buffet because we just want the more casual vibe that goes along with it. That way we won’t have to deal with special children’s options, people can eat how much of whatever they want (which is good, because we have a number of people with gluten intolerances), and our venue does a really good buffet so we’ll still get good food.
Post # 8
Not a fan of buffets at all. Just reminds me a high school cafeteria. Nothing classy about standing in line for food in heels & a nice dress.
Post # 9
IMHO for a formal elegant wedding buffets really only belong in cocktail hour – but for dinner I would recommend plated.
Post # 10
I prefer a buffet, as long as there are a lot of choices.
But honestly, it doesn’t matter to me as long as the food is good. Bad food is bad food, no matter how you serve it!
ETA: I didn’t read you were having a formal wedding…in that case, definitely plated. Just make sure it’s a nice portion…the one plated dinner I’ve had at a wedding was good, but not enough!
Post # 11
If you are planning “very formal” I would do a plated meal. That seems so much more formal to me than a buffet does.
We did a small-plate buffet (like heavy appetizers but heavier) with several different stations so people could mingle while eating if they wanted. There were a lot of appetizers at cocktail hour so people weren’t super hungry at the reception and didn’t all rush the buffet at once when it opened so there wasn’t much of a line (there was a small line of about ten people at each station when it first opened, but only for a couple of minutes – for the rest of the evening, no line, and I saw people grabbing food right up until the buffet closed). The buffet didn’t close until shortly before the send-off, so it was open almost the entire reception, so people could eat and dance and eat and dance. We got a lot of compliments on the food. I think to do a buffet well requires just as much planning as doing a plated dinner well. We chose it because we wanted our wedding to have a fun party atmosphere like the parties we throw at our house, and a buffet seemed to fit that.
If you do a buffet, I think the important things are labeling (it’s awkward to have stations when your guests don’t know if they are stations of the same thing or different things, so whip up some cute signs in your wedding theme that are visible from a ways away), strategizing to avoid lines (such a drag standing in line for over thirty minutes at a buffet!), and making sure there is quite enough food (I have been at a buffet where I was literally only allowed one scoop of mashed potatoes… buzzkill). My husband and I hate the “call each table up one by one” thing so we chose to just stuff everyone full of appetizers at cocktail hour and hope that alleviated the line problem… which it did… but that is most certainly not the cheapest option.
re: quality of food – I think that depends more on the caterer than the style of serving you choose. I have certainly had good and bad both ways.
Post # 12
If the wedding is very formal, plated. It just fits the vibe better.
Otherwise I prefer a buffet. I like variety and having some control over portion sizes.
Post # 13
I prefer plated, much less of a line up, don’t have to worry about how long the food has been sitting out, or not having enough.
Post # 14
If you are having a formal wedding, I hope you opt for a plated meal. I wouldn’t want to stand around in a line in heels and an awesome dress for a little more variety I don’t need.
Post # 15
If you’re having a formal reception, I would vote for plated, provided quality is not the issue. It is always so much more elegant. I’m ok with buffets, but to me, it doesn’t set the right tone for a formal event. The waiting times are usually unbearable unless there is a set of stations for every 50 or so people.
Post # 16
Plated, especially if you are doing classy and elegant.
I know that this is a matter of personal opinion and many people will disagree with me (and that’s okay!), but I think buffets are the opposite of elegant.
Where is your reception at? We have booked out a french restaurant for ours and they prefer that guests choose their meal when they are seated at the table instead of in advance, which I love! Maybe your caterer can offer an option like that so people don’t have to order their food 2 months in advance? I feel that that’s the only major downside to plated.