(Closed) Plated vs. sitdown

posted 14 years ago in Food
Post # 3
274 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

I have been to both sit downs and buffets, both with 50 to 450 people. YES, you read correctly! A buffet with 450 people. Not good.

I really recommend that you go with a plated arrangement with 150+ guests. If you’re doing it to save money, you may find that it may be even more expensive because the trays constantly need to be refilled and they won’t let it go "empty".

In addition, it really is a timeline sucker because a lot of the people will be waiting in line while the first people are done and practically ready to leave. The old and young will be an issue as well..It’s just easier to control with that many people.          

Usually plated final number requests are about 2 weeks before. Wouldn’t they still charge per person at the buffet anyway?      

Post # 4
358 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2005

While we didn’t have as many people, we had a buffet. But instead of lining up all the dishes on the buffet table, we had place settings. This seemed to work well since people didn’t have to juggle napkins, a drink, and silverware on top of their plate. If you’re concerned about the elderly guests, you can ask specific people ahead of time to get food for so-and-so. If someone arrives by caretaker (say your grandma shows up with your aunt), these folks are used getting food for them…just make sure they have a comfortable place to sit. For example, at my cousin’s wedding (guest count was similar) my Aunt got a plate for my grandma.

Post # 5
124 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

Plated and buffets can cost about the same.  Higher food costs (buffet) vs higher labor costs (plated).  I’m going with family style which is like a seated buffet. 

Post # 6
191 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2008

We really wanted family style, but it isn’t offered at our venue.  I think we’re going with stations instead of plated.  It does take a little longer, but I like that it’s a little more casual and gives more food options.  People are usually called up by table, so the wait per person isn’t too bad with a buffet.  I think overall buffet is more casual and plated is more formal, so maybe the mood you want to create can help with your decision.

Post # 7
65 posts
Worker bee

I like buffets – people can pick what they’d like to eat. I’m a picky eater, and plated meals don’t often fill me up 🙂

Post # 8
228 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

i prefer plated sit-down dinners,. not that i hate buffets, but i just find plated service more refined and people can mingle with less effort…

but maybe it also depends on the venue and number of guests – if you’re having it in a ballroom at a nice hotel for 200 people, yeah dont do buffet – but if it’s at a restaurant or community center or something like that -buffet could be ok if it’s like 80 people…

ask your venue to bottom line it for you – what is it per person for a buffet versus plated service? it’ll usually run a snidge more for a buffet b/c of food costs

good luck and happy planning!


Post # 9
252 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2008

i debated the same thing. but at my venue, plated lunch was a less expensive than a buffet. it’s $3/person less. so i am going for the plated lunch.

my mother wants a buffet bc she wants more food. but she’s not opening her wallet, so plated lunch it is.

my fmil says that the food is not to "fill people up". its just something to eat. i agree. i am not trying to have people leaving stuffed. i can not afford to do that.

Post # 10
46 posts
  • Wedding: July 1993

In my experience, plated dinners often mean lukewarm food. I am picky and like to have my food served hot, so I would go with a buffet. Also, if you set up the buffet in a way that there are two tables of food and are separate from each other, it can move faster.

Post # 11
143 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2008

oh wow I feel the exact opposite…every wedding we’ve gone to that had a buffett or stations had lukewarm food unless it was cooked right in front of us. The food wasn’t bad it just wasn’t very warm.  It’s my one and only complaint about buffets.

Post # 12
22 posts
  • Wedding: October 2022

We’re working with a caterer that we know well.  I requested that our reception be family style.  Our family holiday dinners are family style, and it encourages conversation among strangers — I mean, are you really going to sit in silence, when all you have to do is ask for the salt?


Given the option of plated vs. buffet … I would always take the plated option.  I’m not a fan of dressing up and then standing in line with a plate, like in a cafeteria. 🙂   

Post # 13
30 posts
  • Wedding: August 2008

quality of food goes down for buffets, whereas quality of socializing goes up with the buffet option.

 sit down in my opinion is a waste unless you are allotting a large part of your budget for food, then yes go with sit down, you’ll want your guest to enjoy it.  however, make sure they enjoy their table mates as well, because in reality they will be sitting talking to only them for at minimum 1 hour.

 we are doing a mid level price buffet, and it will socially mix people who otherwise with a sit down might not have talked to each other if they weren’t in line at the buffet! 

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