Post # 1
Met with our caterer on Friday. We are having a fairly casual summer reception and wanted to have something a little different for the dinner. My fiance decided that he really wanted to have some form of BBQ. We have decided that we are going to have a buffet style salad bar and sides, and then at the end of the line there will be the BBQ station where there will be a beef, chicken, or veggie option. Our RSVP cards will require guests to select which meat option they would like so that the caterer can plan accordingly. The caterer also suggested that we give tickets to our guests to present at the BBQ station to prevent people from picking another option once they get to the BBQ, avoiding hassle of having to explain to people that they only get one steak, etc. I feel like the caterer has done this a million times so he knows what he is talking about. I just don’t love the ticket idea.
Does anyone have any other suggestions other than a ticket? Even though it is a casual reception, I still think the tickets are a bit tacky…
Any ideas for how to display the ticket to make it less tacky?
Thanks for your help ladies 🙂
Post # 2
Tickets are tacky, don’t do them. Any caterer that is doing a buffet knows to have more than each option in case people switch.
Post # 3
Agreed that the caterer should know better!
Post # 4
- Wedding: September 2017 - Poppy Ridge Golf Course
Right. Hard no on the tickets. I’m wondering what kind of caterer would even suggest this…
Post # 5
If your guests are pre-selecting their meals, then you should have assigned seating (at least assign people to tables– you don’t have to assign specific seats within the table) and servers to deliver the appropriate meal choice to the correct guest. If you want buffet-style service then you don’t need the meal choice on the RSVP card and your caterer should know how to plan accordingly. If the caterer doesn’t know how to plan the right quantities for buffet service, then you really should consider a different caterer.
Post # 6
heavenlyflower : He comes HIGHLY recommended in my city. One of the top 10 catering companies and he has been in business for 38 years. I personally know a dozen people that have used him for various events, and his food is incredible. He definitely knows what he is doing in that department. I just don’t know about these damn tickets… there has to be a reason that he thinks they are such a great idea.
Post # 7
I agree that tickets are tacky, but I also know that some guests see a buffet as a free for all. They won’t realize unless you somehow inform them that they each get one meal, and may decide to try a little bit of everything. I don’t have a solution in mind, but I do agree that you need to figure out some way to ensure people don’t take more than they are supposed to, unless you avoid any awkwardness by getting a lot more food than one meal per person.
Post # 8
Exactly. It’s not really a buffet because they do not get to help themselves to endless meat options. It is similar to a “carving” station I guess. The chef will be serving the guests straight from the BBQ. They are selecting the entrée they would like in advance and then hopefully requesting the same one at the BBQ station on the day of the wedding. We can’t really expect the caterer to have 150 steaks, 150 chicken breasts, 150 veggie options to cover everyone (nor can we afford that).
Post # 9
maybe a table sign just before the BBQ station? “Please choose one: Beef, Chicken, Veggie”. To make it even more obvious, another sign before the regular buffet with just those items listed with no maximums?
Might still be tacky, but better than tickets
Post # 10
Part of the beauty of a buffet is getting to have a little of everything. This seems like you’re trying to get it both ways – you want to have exact food amounts, but don’t want to have to pay for waitstaff for plated service. You either have a plated meal where guests pre-select their food, or you have a buffet where they don’t pre-select and they have whatever they’d like from the buffet. This typically means preparing more food than the exact amount needed – caterers DO THIS ALL THE TIME. Caterers KNOW how much extra food needs to be prepared for a buffet, and charge accordingly (some venues actually charge more for buffet meals for this reason). Food tickets are super tacky.
Post # 11
maeali : has to be a reason that he thinks they are such a great idea.
Yes the reason is that he can get away with providing less food for what your paying him and he would normally budget for and therefore increase his profit margin. It’s really that simple.
Buffets are traditionally about gluttony and enjoying a bit of everything and not being limited to one serving of one protein. If you want people to stick to one serve of rationed protein then do a plated meal. Don’t do what your caterer suggests with the tickets. It’s to his benefit and it’s not to yours. It will reflect poorly if people are rationed and limited at a buffet.
Post # 12
Yeah, that might not be a terrible idea. I think there are ways to display it to make it less tacky. Also it is an outdoor casual reception, so I think I can get away with it.
The tickets are terrible. I am probably overthinking it. If people change their mind on the day, so be it. The caterer should be prepared for that. I will still have people select on the rsvp card so that I can at least give him a rough estimate. But you are right, he is just benefiting himself and his staff with the tickets.
Post # 13
- Wedding: June 2018 - Tizer Gardens/Carroll College
Maybe have your guests’ name tent at the head of the buffet table, and color code each name tag/put an icon of beef/chicken/veggie on it that they carry through the line with them? We were thinking of doing a carving station in addition to our regular buffet until we changed course completely and changed up what we are serving.
Post # 14
I don’t love it, but the way I would do it would be to put at each person’s seat something indicating what they ordered (cute icon of a cow, chicken, etc.) and then call people up to the station by what they preordered. Once the first round is down people can go up and get whatever.
Post # 15
When we cater buffet style, we cater small portions of everything for everyone, not a whole portion of any one thing for each person. If you had 150 people and I were catering, I’d probably start with about 70 beef, 55 chicken and 20 vegetarian, then adjust up or down based on your crowd (more adult men = more beef, more kids = more chicken, and so forth), then add 15% or so as a cushion. Then I’d take all those portions and cut them into smaller servings, so that a person could take 2 slices of beef and one of chicken and have a full meal without risking running out of beef.
If your caterer won’t do this, then he’s not doing his job. If you are allowing the guests to help themselves, you shouldn’t restrict them; it’s not very hospitable to put a meal ticket in someone’s hand because it says “my hospitality only goes so far.”