(Closed) Caterer without staff/table service?

posted 6 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
310 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

@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
393 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

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
267 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

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
3625 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

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
286 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

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
249 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

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
3886 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

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.

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