Post # 1
We are doing a buffet dinner instead of a fully seated dinner for our reception, which I’m really happy about for a number of reasons, but it is a bit of a downer in that buffets generally keep the plates and flatware on the buffet line. Almost all the pretty photos of tablescapes that you see involve classy table settings at each seat. For those of you who had a buffet dinner at your wedding, how did you make your tables look beautiful even without the plates, glasses and flatware laid out? Please post photos, whether they are of your wedding or something you found online!
Post # 3
I’m struggling with the same problem! My thought is…chargers, a napkin, and a placecard?
Post # 4
That’s what I was worried about too, but our caterer is working with that. We’re having the plates in the buffet line but everything else set at the table…goblets w/napkins fanned in them, flatware with a simple centerpiece. We didn’t want the expense of chargers and I think it’ll still look great. A set table, just minus the plate. I’ve also seen the napkins folded in a cool way where the plates would be.
Post # 5
@Gigi Those look lovely, thanks! I had also thought about just doing limited settings, but I’m wary of including chargers, both because of the cost and… uhm…. I’m a little afraid that people would think that they were plates. 🙂 Not that I’m calling my guests uncouth or anything, but…
Post # 6
I had the same concern at a recent retirement dinner for which I was planning the decorations.
In consultation with the caterer, we decided to place the plates at each setting. When it was time to go to the buffet, people just took their plate with them, the same way they did when they went for seconds.
This also freed up space on the buffet table as only a small reserve supply of plates was needed for those who forgot their plate or those who wanted a clean plate for any reason on their second trip to the buffet.
Post # 7
There’s a thread about this here: http://boards.weddingbee.com/topic/setting-the-table-for-a-buffet-dinner
A lot of links are expired, but I thought this was nice: http://www.allerdicepartyrentall.com/images/wedding-rental-silverware.jpg
This is really pretty! I think the cool napkins and having everything but the plates helps. http://www.brianphillipsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/Table-Set-Up-Chatham-Bars-Inn.jpg
I think this one is too plain, but that’s because their centerpiece is plain and there aren’t even water glasses. But I don’t think it’s the lack of plates that makes it weird: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2219/4240700521_79d8c9ea17.jpg
I personally think it’s best to set the table with everything except the plates. If the guests will get their drinks at a bar, then I think the glasses should be available at the bar as well. I wouldn’t want to have to go get my plate and then carry it around to the buffet, just for the sake of how the table looked. But getting to my seat and having all the silverware there would be nice. I think putting the napkin, decoratively folded, in place of the plate looks nice. I don’t think chargers are necessary–they’re expensive and don’t really serve much of a purpose. You could also do appetizer/bread plates at the table.
Post # 8
I was wondering the same thing but my wedding coordinator suggested this solution. We’re avoiding the problem of tablescapes by setting up the table with the silverwear, centerpieces, napkins, glasses, etc. We’re opting to have the salad plated and served. Then, we’re going to open up the buffet for the main course. It might cost a little extra but I think it adds a civilized touch to a buffet dinner.
Post # 9
This is one of my favorite pictures. I don’t think you notice the plates are missing because there are so many glasses, etc on the table.
Post # 10
@caszos That is a lot of glasses! I think you are right about not noticing the plates, and in fact I feel a lot more secure about this in general after discussing it with our caterer. Our tables are going to be set with flatware, a water glass, a wine glass, a folded napkin and our favors (little glass bottles filled with homemade vanilla). Picturing it, I’m actually quite happy that there won’t be plates, since this way the bottles get to take center stage in each setting, which is going to look really cute and color-coordinate really well. (Brown vanilla sitting on an ivory square-folded napkin on a burgundy table overlay). Plates would probably start edging the tablescape toward cluttered, when you add in the tablerunner and centerpieces.
Post # 11
I am also having a buffet and found myself in the same situation as you. In order to avoid that, I am having chargers for underneath the plates and I’m having the salad pre-set. This way, all of the flatware, glasses and at least a plate is on the table. Plus, those guests who get to the buffet last still have something to eat!