What is the best way to serve food at a wedding?

posted 2 years ago in Food
Post # 16
772 posts
Busy bee

jesstheglambert :  Heavy hors devours is sliders, quesedillas, mac and cheese bites, meatballs, etc. Not fruit and veggies – those are light appetizers if that. 

If you’re serving a dinner, I prefer plated and family style, but true heavy hors devours is fine by me too. I don’t like buffets very much

Post # 17
428 posts
Helper bee

jesstheglambert :  All wedding I have been to have served full meal. That will be an awful wedding where guests are starving. My personal thought is, guests are taking time of their day, getting ready and showing up for ur big day, so hosts need to ensure that guests are comfortable. We are spending biggest chunk of our budget on food and alcohol and DJ and not on decor and dress etc. we want to make sure our guests have a great time.

It does not matter if it’s plated, buffet or family style. May be you could chip in to cover the cost

Post # 18
488 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2016

I recently attended the first wedding I have ever been to where I was actually hungry for the whole afternoon/evening.  They had a couple of small hor’dourves during cocktail hour but many folks piled up plates with the food and it was all gone within 10 minutes of the cocktail hour and was never replenished!  Dinner was a couple hours later and I was pretty buzzed by then and the meal was mediocre and not filling.  I had a piece of beef, two carrots and a small scoop of mashed potatoes.  Our table was never served bread or coffee (it should have).  I had brunch that morning but skipped lunch/afternoon snack as I have never gone hungry at a wedding. There were good cupcakes for dessert, but no late night snack.  The wedding ended at 10pm and I ran down to the hotel bar and bought a couple plates of food and ate it quickly before the bride and other wedding guests showed up.  

Post # 19
1011 posts
Bumble bee

Chips and salsa and crudite aren’t heavy appetizers.  You’ll have a lot of grumbling tummies if this is all you serve.

Post # 20
561 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

Most of the wedding receptions I’ve been to started around dinner time and served a full dinner (some sit-down, some buffet style). I think it depends what time you plan to start your reception and to a lesser degree, whether you plan to serve alcohol. If your reception will take place during dinnertime, people will generally expect that there will be dinner provided.

If you do end up serving heavy hors d’oeuvres, be sure to print this on your invitations. You need to communicate to your guests that a dinner will not be served so that they can plan accordingly. If people are expecting dinner and they don’t get it, they’ll probably leave early so they can go somewhere and eat. If you’re serving booze and no dinner, depending on your crowd, you may expect a couple of overly drunk people.

Post # 21
709 posts
Busy bee

I opted for a plated meal rather than a buffet. My wedding is small and I felt that the plated meal would feel a bit fancier. Plus, who doesn’t like being served? 

Post # 22
4092 posts
Honey bee

2XMOB :  I noticed northeast weddings go all out on food especially the cocktail hour. What you mentioned is on the 2nd Pharagraph is so standard for a wedding in my area (SoCal) LOL

Post # 23
2777 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

The best way to serve food at a wedding is as yummy as you can make/have it and as plentiful as can be. 


The WHAT you serve is not as important as long as people don’t starve or go hungry. Unless you actually want to have a shorter reception and then people flee faster than demons at a baptism ritual 😉 and head for their nearest Golden Arches and/or bar. 

I’ve only ever heard absolute assholes saying things like “they ONLY had chicken, did you notice that?” So those people don’t really count imo. 

Post # 24
1552 posts
Bumble bee

We had a long wedding so did canapes around 2.30pm after the ceremony, a 4 course meal at 5pm and evening food at 9pm plus wedding cake in the evening. Everything was eaten up until the evening food where about 75% was eaten and 25% was leftover. Its much better to overestimate on food than underestimate. Maybe your parents are trying to save costs but if your wedding is over a mealtime you will need at least a buffet. A cake and punch wedding is the exception but they typically take place in the afternoon so no one misses a meal. 

Post # 25
2131 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

I think all the weddings I have been to had a full buffet.

Post # 26
1408 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

Ugh, I went to a 5 PM wedding last year and literally all they had was turkey and rolls, fruit/veggie trays and like one dip..it was awful and I had to hit up a drive through after it was over. If this had been an afternoon wedding I would have totally been okay, but the fact that it was a meal time necessitated more food. If you’re having an evening wedding, have a full meal. If you expect a long reception with lots of drinking and dancing you need a full meal. I had a full buffet and my wedding was at 1 Pm. I wanted to make sure no one left hungry.

That being said, “heavy” apps are okay I think as long as there’s lots of variety and they are actually heavy. Chips and salsa are not heavy.

Post # 27
4910 posts
Honey bee

In my experience, that is not correct. People eat a lot at weddings! Food is expected so if it’s only light refreshments it needs to be on the invite. Especially if it’s at meal time. 

Post # 28
7424 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

If your wedding is over a normal meal time, I would probably end up leaving early to find real food. 

Post # 29
6294 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2014

One other thing  that I don’t think has been mentioned is that a large number of hors d’oeuvre can cost more than a standard buffet style meal with a couple of meat options and a few sides. This is because more prep goes into smaller items (as they’re more fiddly) plus if they’re passed then you also having staffing costs. A friend of mine was talking about how when she comes to get married she’s ‘just going to do lots of small but fancy canapés’ to save money and I actually laughed and was like ‘you do realise that will cost more than a 3 course plated meal if you actually want your guests to be full?’ 

Post # 30
510 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2018

As many of the others have said, it is essential to have more than enough food.  The only exception may be if you are having a short cake and punch reception (where you still need enough food, but not a full meal).  I personally don’t like buffets, and prefer plated or family style.  

I would be able to give you a better answer if I knew what time your reception was/how long it was/if there was going to be alcohol and dancing.

Basically if your reception is going to be around a meal time and be longer than maybe an hour or 2, I would provide a full meal that can include what your parents suggested, but also include at least 2 entrees (1 meat 1 vegetarian/vegan) with sides and dessert.  If you can’t afford that, then maybe buffet style is better for you, and you can have some less expensive options like baked ziti and some sort of chicken, and a salad.

regardless, you need to feed your guests, and what your famiily suggested is not nearly enough for 100 people

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