(Closed) Cost difference between Buffet and Plated?

posted 7 years ago in Food
Post # 4
598 posts
Busy bee

Our buffet is quite more expensive. There is more food overall (people can go for seconds) and more variety, so I think it makes sense. We went with buffet over plated. 

Post # 5
7652 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

I don’t remember the price difference at our venue but I do remember that the buffet was more expensive. The price difference varied between venues, however, most venues charged more per person for the buffet. I was very surprised by this as I had always heard/assumed that a buffet is cheaper.

All of the buffet weddings I have attended had a plated salad before the buffet opened.


Post # 6
11535 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

The price of a buffet at our venue was more expensive than that of a plated dinner (which I preferred and which we had) featuring the same meal.

The reasoning behind this is that the last person who reaches a buffet is not going to be taking the last filet, the last seafood entree, or the last mound of mashed potatoes, etc. there.  Rather, a buffet still needs to be amply supplied even when the last few guests reach it.

Post # 9
2075 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014 - British Columbia

View original reply
@peonyinlove:  I just flagged your thread, so that a moderator can move it to food. 🙂

I am doing buffet. At my venue in BC, it would cost about $26 to $29 CAD (before gratuities, PST and GST) per person. If I did plated service, it probably would have been what catering companies within the city would’ve charged: $40 to $50+ per person (before gratuities and GST). $26 is for one meat option and $29 is for two meat options. I’m having warm salmon and Alberta prime rib for meat options.

I think you should check to see how much it would cost for refills of a thing. Normally, you would let the caterer know how many guests are there. Then, they budget for it. So, if your guests eat more of one item, you might have to pay $20+ to refill the tray.

Hope this is helpful!

Post # 10
164 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

I’m not a fan of buffets, so we are doing plated. It was about the same cost which surprised me to as I always assumed plated was more.

Post # 11
1979 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

View original reply
@peonyinlove:  At our venue, plated is $10/person more than buffet and they said that money pays for the extra servers they need. FI insists on a plater dinner. It didn’t seem substantial to us- though in context, the smallest package at our venue is $100/person- though that is for the venue for ceremony and reception, tables, chiavari chairs, linens, month of and day of coordination, cake cutting included, and a pianist for the ceremony in addition to appetizers and dinner. 

Post # 14
1197 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

A lot of buffet options at our venue are much more expensive than plated dinners!  We are leaning towards buffet, but it’s not set in stone.  From what I’ve heard, fees for waitstaff can really add up with plated dinners, so that’s something to consider in calculating the final cost.

Post # 15
6013 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: March 2012

I think the difference in the Buffet & Plated at our venu was 10.00 per person.  Plus we had around 12 kids there, so she had pasta for them (we went buffet) and only charged 1/2 price for them.  She also let us take the extra food with us, because she heard people were coming back to our house (i had no idea that the food was coming, she had my cousin help back up the food).  

Also the plated was only once choice of protien, either all got chicken or all got roast beef, with the buffet we got both. Also we had salad, string beans, mash potatoes. We got very lucky that DH found our venue 😀 

Post # 16
2075 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014 - British Columbia

Here’s how I decided on buffet versus plated — aside from the cost differences:

Buffet Pros:
– Your guests can mingle with each other; talk during the line-up
– Your guests are really hungry; plated portions might not be enough
– You can interact with your guests by having table games of seeing which table gets to go first. (Embarrass them with the chicken-dance, if you wished to; this is something I am totally considering!)
– Your guests could be picky eaters and they won’t go hungry because they can pick more of an item than they would with plated dinners.

Buffet Cons:
– Lots of food could be wasted if you ordered something you had THOUGHT your guests would like
– If your guests are vegetarian or have dietary constraints, they might not have too much options. (But this can be mitigated by talking to the caterers or venue coordinator way ahead of time)
– People getting up and going to the buffet table constantly during speeches and other reception activities could be potentially disruptive.
– Possible awkward moments for family members (who don’t like one another) when they’re in the line-up together — when they’re strategically placed in different tables, but end up bumping into one another.

I also shared the menu options with my family — just to get a feeler of who likes what since they would know other family members better than I do!

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