Post # 1
My finace and I got in an argument last night about if we are going to have a plated or buffet meal at our reception. Up til now we have both been in agreement that we would go with buffet. Now he has suddenly changed his mind and I don’t like it. Here’s why. My parents are paying for our wedding. They didn’t give us a hard budget but told us a number they would like to keep it around. In order to do this we obviously need to try and save where we can. Doing a buffet would be one why to accoplish this. There are several ways doing a buffet would be cheaper than plated. The buffet offeres the cheapest per person rate to begin with. We are having a lot of kids at our wedding and our caterer offers 1/2 off for kids only when you do buffet. Less wait staff so less money spent on tips. So doing buffet would end up saving a couple thousand after all this.
My fiance thinks that we are going to go over budget no matter what so we should just do plated. That is not a reason!!! Just because we may go over budget doesn’t mean we should just say f- it and not try to save money! Also his father has offered to help pay and wants to give half the amount my parents are giving. To me this means my parents will just be spending half the amount they intended. To my fiance this means our budget has been increased by half. I don’t think that is right. His dad’s original offer was to help my parents pay, not to help us have a more expensive wedding by adding to our budget. So now my fiance thinks we have all this money to spend or something. I don’t really know. But his only argument for doing plated is that we have to make a nice presentation for our guests and that he doesn’t want people to have to get up to get food. WTF. 1 our wedding will be plenty lovely with a buffet. 2 people aren’t coming to see how nice of an event we can throw for them. It’s about us. They are coming to see us get married. 3 heaven forbid people should have to get up to get food. How awful! What ever will they do if they actually have to GET UP to get their food?!?! It’s ridiculous to me.
If we have room in the budget to go for plated, fine. But we really don’t. Even if my parents would be ok with paying more I don’t think it should go to making the meal plated. We were also discussing the importance of getting a good photographer and how it might not be possible to get the one we want becasue of cost. I said we should do buffet and use the money saved there to get the photogrpher we want. Which is when the whole we can go over budget talk started.
I really don’t want plated. It’s mostly because we’re gonna have like 12 kids atleast and we could be spending $22 a head for them but doing plated we’ll end up spending $60 a head. That is insane to me. My fiance said to talk to my parents about it and I will but I know what they will say. They will agree with me. I’m thinking that maybe in the end I will suggest that his dad pay for all the catereing (his dad was pushing for plated as well) and we will stick with the same budget my parents originally gave. We’ll see how that goes over…
Post # 3
Good luck! I think your idea of getting his dad to pay for the catering is great.
Wow, we are having a buffet and it’s $100/head. His parents are paying for it so I’m not worried about it. Almost makes me feel bad and then I realize that they are the reason we are having a wedding at all – I wanted to elope – so oh well.
Post # 4
I totally agree with why you should have a plated dinner. It does look a lot nicer. And no one wants to stand in line for food in heels and a nice dress. There’s nothing fancy about that. However if its not in the budget then it is what it is. Break the nunbers down into dollars. Discuss with him and all contributing parties. If its too much then keep it moving. Just because his dad offered to help doesn’t mean its a free for all! Spend what you can afford, if at the end of the day this is that important to him (it would be to me) then cut back on other things.
Post # 5
As a picky eater and someone who’s only ever been to one (awful) plated event dinner, I say stand your ground (unless his dad is paying for the caterer and wants to pay that much).
Post # 6
But his only argument for doing plated is that we have to make a nice presentation for our guests and that he doesn’t want people to have to get up to get food.
Sorry, but that sounds like THE reason we did not have a buffet so that sounds reasonable to me. Plus it does sound like you can afford it with both parents contributing financially. Sorry, I’m with him on this one.
Post # 7
I think you’re going to get mixed reviews on this. How many people do you plan on having at your wedding? A buffet is good for a small guest list (<50) and you will have to set up duplicate stations if you have more guests and don’t want to have huge lines. I personally hate plated dinners because I feel restricted to my seat, not all the plates are served simultaneously, and I usually don’t want to eat 50% of whatever is on my plate. However, I would choose a plated meal over a buffet if there was a large number of people in attendance. No one wants to wait in a 200 person line to get their dinner.
Post # 8
I feel your pain. I originally wanted Buffet as well, and argued for 2 months with my FI and FMIL about it. I eventually got tired and just gave in so now we are doing Plated. The plated option cost us a significant amount more than buffet and far less food options. It was an extra $5/pp and I went WAY over on food due to the fact that if people are going to be limited in their food options, I at least wanted the options to be off the charts amazing.
If it’s truly important to you, stand your ground or else it could end up costing a lot more than you think in the long run.
Post # 9
@MsSparklyBee: this. I think I have only been to one wedding with a buffet and the general consensus was that guests didnt like it.
Post # 10
Before you go digging in your heels, find out more about the equipment costs of a buffet. In many cases, the cost to rent the tables, linens and service wares will eat up a good chunk of your per-head food cost savings.
We had originally wanted to go with a buffet because we had some really lovely menu choices picked out and wanted guests to be able to try a little bit of each bit. The fact that it was cheaper made this extra attractive… till we got to the linens and tables costs! On our 70-people dinner, the extra table and linens rentals took back about 50% of the cost savings— and we didn’t even do overlays, just one layer of linens.
Also get an idea of the final guest count. Buffets don’t work with more than 70 people or so, unless you run multiple setups. If you’ve got a 200-person wedding then you’d need around 3 setups— more servers, and a lot more equipment– otherwise the last guests to be called to the buffet will be waiting a long, long time to be served.
I’d also work with the caterer to see where you may be able to trim cost without sacrificing the overall quality of the meal, as you may be able to tweak your menu choices to get a plated meal without breaking the bank.
Post # 11
We are having a buffet dinner, mostly because we are getting married in a dinner theatre, and it’s already all set up for buffets (since thats what they usually do every day). Personally I prefer a plated meal, but I’m fine with buffets, as long as the lineups are fast.
As for your situation, I feel that you should respect your parents budget, and the only way you should have the plated meal is if the grooms father decides to pay for the catering. Either that, or maybe you and your FI and pay the difference between the buffet meal and the plated meal if your FI is insistent about doing the plated.
Post # 12
Also his father has offered to help pay and wants to give half the amount my parents are giving. To me this means my parents will just be spending half the amount they intended. To my fiance this means our budget has been increased by half. I don’t think that is right. His dad’s original offer was to help my parents pay, not to help us have a more expensive wedding by adding to our budget.
I’m sorry, but I agree with your FI. It sounds like cost is a big factor in your preference for a buffet meal. Your FI’s father prefers a plated meal, so he’s most likely offering the money for the upgrade. If he were doing it so that your parents could reduce their contribution, then he may as well have given the money directly to your parents instead.
Post # 13
- Wedding: November 2012 - Oak Tree Manor
I’ve been to so many elegant weddings with buffet dinners, and it was really no big deal. There’s a lot of compliants here on the Hive about buffets – like waiting in line, or the risk of spilling food on your dress, but honestly I think the good outweighs the bad. You can avoid the line by having your coordinator subtly let tables know one by one when it’s their turn, so your whole guest list isn’t waiting in one long line. You can choose food that isn’t too messy, so if something were spilled it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. (And honestly, I’ve never seen anyone trip at a buffet line. Just sayin’.) My experience with plated dinners is you get zero choice (whereas often with buffets you have some kind of choice/variety), the food gets cold by the time everyone gets their plate, and you end up sitting in your seat for a long time (vs. chatting with people over by the buffet). Honestly, I really don’t think your guests will put much thought into whether your meal is served plated or buffet-style – so if you’re saving a significant amount of money, stand your ground and go for the buffet. Also, for what it’s worth: we served BBQ at our wedding buffet-style, and no one complained. A lot of people said it was the best wedding they’d ever been to. I don’t think buffets ruin weddings.
Post # 14
@MistySoda: If your FI’s father wants to pay for it, let him. Also ask if he would be willing to pay for anything else to contribute to your day since overall look and outcome is very important to him. My thing is, it is great that they want to help but they really need to look at the big picture. I have never recalled how long it took me standing in line at a buffett to eat, but I do recall going to a wedding and being served cold “plated” meals. This has happened more than once and at very nice locations.
You should spend more on your photographer, at the end of the day your photos will be what you have to remind yourself of that day. The day that is going to fly by far too fast and you won’t even remember being fed whether it was plated or not.
We are doing buffett because it is too darn expensive to feed 300 people plated meals. Certain things were more important to us “DJ”, photographer and location.
Best of luck and you are very lucky to have parents willing to help pay for your wedding, don’t let your FI take them and that gesture for granted.
Post # 15
- Wedding: May 2013 - Walt Disney World
We wanted to do plated (we are paying for the entire wedding ourselves) but decided to go the buffet route, since there are so many more options for guests and the gaggle of kids at the wedding will be cheaper.
I agree with OP, you need to nail down what both sets of parents are willing to pay (to me it sounds like your FFIL is offering to pay for half of what your parents are paying, essentially making them pay an equal amount). This needs to be clarified so your FI has a good handle of what your budget will be. If FFIL is also pushing for plated, I think he should pony up for it. Try to stick to the budget no matter what route you take!
Post # 16
I agree for plated especially if you have any elderly with mobility issues. both of my grandparents need walkers and if we had to make them get up or have other guests serving them… To me thats just not nice.