I think plated is the more fancy option, but we are going with buffet for a few reasons. I have really agonized over this decision! Here’s why we’re going with buffet:
– I have been to some nice weddings, but I’ve never had a plated meal that I thought was just AWESOME. It is really hard to prep food for 150+ people on individual plates, keep it warm/fresh, and serve it all at the same time. I think it is a little easier to keep a buffet fresh.
– My venue/caterer is a little old school, and some of their choices aren’t up to my standards (table linens that don’t go to the floor, old chairs, etc). I am taking care of those decor items with outside vendors, but obviously catering and service is through the venue. I am concerned they would have less servers than I think would be necessary to get the food all out fresh and hot.
– I am kind of a picky eater, and for that reason, I prefer buffets at weddings. I like that our guests will have 3 entree options and lots of side dish options, in the portions they want.
– It saves the trouble of having to indicate a food preference on RSVP and escort cards. Still doing assigned tables, but it will be much easier.
– My Fiance likes buffets. LOVE buffets, actually! I’m more meh on them, and this is a secondary reason, but I thought it would be nice for him to be able to have a buffet at his reception!
I think you have to do buffet well. There should be servers who can help those with mobility issues, and they need to clear plates promptly. You should at least have two buffet lines (double-sided), if not more, depending on how many guests you have. Drinks should be available on the table, and I like to see some sort of appetizer either being butlered or on the tables while people are waiting. Your emcee needs to be really good at dismissing tables for the buffet, and possibly have a server walk around as tables are being dismissed as people get distracted in conversation.
Both can be very classy. I think a lot of people have strong opinions one way or the other, but whatever you choose, the key is to work with the strengths of that choice and do things to mitigate the weaknesses.