(Closed) Plated dinner or buffet style reception? Need your help!

posted 4 years ago in Reception
  • poll: Which do you prefer?
    Plated : (81 votes)
    55 %
    Buffet : (66 votes)
    45 %
  • Post # 45
    1360 posts
    Bumble bee

    I prefer buffets. The plated meals I’ve had are always cold and quite bland consisiting of meat, vegetable, potato. Buffet’s can have a lot of variety.  I don’t think buffets work well for large weddings, however, because people have to wait way too long to get their food, but if you are having a smaller wedding, a buffet could be a great option.

    Post # 46
    1129 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: July 2013

    I tend to dislike buffets. The weddings that I have been to that have had buffets didn’t have a lot in terms of volume – and it didn’t really get replenished. Which meant that if you were one of the last tables up, there was slim pickings left. This could have been due to the venue more than the fact that it was a buffet though.

    For my first wedding we did a plated dinner. There was a ton of food. Bread and rolls, steak, chicken, vegetarian entree, potatoes, veggies, salad, and dessert.

    but the last wedding I attended had a plated dinner and there was NOT enough food. There was a bone in chicken breast on a small portion of white beans, 3 teeny carrots and a cup of soup. No bread, no potatoes. We went to McDonalds on the way home.


    I think a lot depends on your venue!

    Post # 47
    2871 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: November 2015

    My venue had them at the same price for plated or buffet. I chose to go plated since every buffet I have gone to, the lines are just nuts! Hungry people are not a fun group to be around.

    It’s a bit more difficult this way, being plated. I have to make sure I get what people want to eat, any dietary needs and have escort cards to show their food. But it can be done!

    Post # 48
    618 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: November 2015

    The two weddings that I have attended as a guest that had plated meals took forever. On both occassions, dinner service ended up taking almost two hours. Not to mention, the food was cold and dry by the time I got it. 

    All of the other weddings that I have been to have been buffets. Buffets can be hit or miss and you should really try to get some references as far as how well your venue/caterer handles the buffet. The best ones that I have experienced have been two lines or two stations, self-serve and diligently replenished as tables go through. If those three things happen, you can’t go wrong. 

    I personally see pros and cons to both. I don’t prefer one or the other. I voted buffet because Fiance and I decided to go with buffet because we are very familiar with the practices of our venue. They handle buffets very well, but they are one of those venues that takes forever to get people served a plated meal. We also preferred the variety of options in the buffet as well. 

    Side note – I’ve seen some people mention running out of food at buffet weddings before the last few tables get served – this should never happen and I’ve never personally seen it happen. That doesn’t mean that it hasn’t happened, but I say make sure you talk specific details with your venue/caterer to be sure they’re going to handle your dinner service the way you want it handled. 

    Post # 49
    462 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: September 2015

    If you go with the buffet, just go over the menu and make sure all the main dishes and sides will hold up and not get dry or mushy. We are having a buffet at our wedding and when we did the tasting they served it buffet style so we were able to see how they worked. My mom n I have been in the food business all our lives so we had an idea of what we wanted but changed our minds on one of the main dishes when we saw how bad they had prepaired it (cut the meat so thin it dried out and was chewy), so we switched it for a carving station that we saw they were serving beautifully (a little more $ but worth it)

    Post # 50
    667 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: June 2015

    For my wedding buffet would have been more than plated.  I find that buffet can slow the flow of reception/take a long time.  If you have 4h reception and buffet takes 1-2h that is a large chunk 9f non dancing time.  Also waiting in line and having to juggle food while dressed up us really unappealing.  No one wants to end up with food on them from carrying a plate across the room.  My venue was quite willing to accomodate dietary restrictions.  Our one vegetarian had a vegetable risotto which was quite good and much better than having some sides off a buffet in my opinion.

    Post # 51
    2001 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: August 2016

    We are having a plated dinner but I have been to weddings with buffets and plated and either works for me. It is nice to be served at the table. Generally plated is considered more formal. People say with a buffet there is more food so you can go back and get more but I have never attened a wedding where it was ok to get seconds. I think generally the food is the same in terms of proportions.

    Post # 52
    2178 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: May 2013

    as you can see this is really a divided fight…. depends on the person as everyone has an option

    I think that in the end it comes down to the execution – a really good buffet can give more options and better portions than a tiny,cold plated meal but a lovely plated meal can feel a lot more elegant than long lines and over heated mush food at a buffet.

    All things being equal I personally rather be served than serve myself (so I prefer plated) but there are definitely some cases where a buffet might work a lot better if you are working with a tighter budget and can’t do multiple choices for courses, or have a lot of food issues to work around etc

    Post # 53
    3222 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: September 2016

    If you do the buffet style (which in many ways I like because usually each person is in charge of getting exactly what they want) definitely, DEFINITELY make sure it is self serve and well stocked.

    i went to a wedding this year where the food was buffet style, but all the dishes were served to you. It felt like an impersonal factory line, I had no say on what went on my plate and food I couldn’t eat ended up on there. Other food I would have taken more of was limited and I couldn’t take more. It felt like the caterers had fucked up and hadn’t made enough food so instead of the whole regular and plentiful buffet thing they were limiting portions, it was really disappointing. Since then I’ve been chatting with caterers and I found out it is actually a “preferred method of service” for some caterers!

    Post # 55
    60 posts
    Worker bee

    FutureMrsW2015:  Sorry but buffets are kind of gross. Guests are dressed up and standing in line waiting with empty plates (as PP said) , it does seem like some kind of a soup kitchen. Plus who wants to walk back to their table juggling plates of food, all while most likely wearing heels. 

    Not a good idea unless you’re having a barnyard wedding.

    Post # 56
    283 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: October 2015

    Like everything, it just depends. My venue is a restaurant and they offered both buffet and plated.  Since we’re going to be right next to the kitchen, and we have a small guest list (35 people including two photographers) I am pretty sure the food will come out hot.

    I could have gone either way, but ended up with plated; it’s a little more elegant looking, and I don’t think we would have had enough room for a buffet station. We have three different options for the main course: steak, salmon and chicken.  We don’t have any vegetarians or vegans coming, but I’m sure the venue would have accomodated special requests – they are very chill – and each main course also comes with a salad and a couple different sides.

    We’re not having a cocktail hour because we’re doing first look photos so the ceremony is going to go straight into the reception.  There’s going to be a fruit and cheese display available in the reception room immediately after the ceremony, and then after our introduction and first dance we’re having a lechon (whole roasted suckling pig) paraded into the room and over to a carving station for people to snack on while we greet our guests.  I figure between the vegetables, cheese, pig, and their plated meal, as well as our crazy macaron tower atop a two layer cake, our guests will have plenty of food – maybe it won’t all be perfect, but some of it’s bound to be good.

    But, you really have to do what works best for you and your guests!  Everyone’s got different experiences or preferences that color their choices.

    Post # 57
    21 posts

    buffet is white trash. Still tastes good though!

    Post # 58
    228 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: March 2016

    joy1313:  Hello and congrats to another March 2016 bride to be! Personally if the choice was only between plated and buffet, I would pick a plated meal – but that is a personal preference, I’m typically uneasy with buffets. Being Italian, I was thrilled that my venue actually has the option of Family-Style Serving so this is what we have selected; it does typically cost more than either plated or buffet dinners, but you don’t have to worry about there not being enough food or long lines.

    Post # 59
    13705 posts
    Honey Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 1999

    Plated.  I hate hate hate buffets.  When dressed up in fancy clothes, I don’t like to be corraled into lines to grab food like cattle.  

    That may be overdramatic, but I do really detest buffets.  

    Post # 60
    1450 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: May 2016 - St. John\'s Lutheran Church

    I am blown away by all the buffet hate. I personally hate plated dinners – the food is always stale from sitting out while 100 dishes are plated, plus then I am stuck sitting at the table for hours while course after course is served. So boring!

    That being said, I do think that for whatever reason a plated dinner is slghtly more formal than a buffet. So it depends on the type of wedding you’re having. My wedding is not going to be a black-tie affair, so we are having a buffet, and I trust that no one will sneeze into it or anything like that.

    The topic ‘Plated dinner or buffet style reception? Need your help!’ is closed to new replies.

    Find Amazing Vendors