Self-service buffet or plated menu?

Self-service buffet or plated menu?
We know how important your wedding dinner is to you, your family, and your guests. It is the moment when everyone can calm down, laugh together, enjoy the feast, and where the excitement of the last hours can subside. For this very reason, food is a very important part of a wedding celebration.
So how do you decide how to serve the meal? Many couples are not sure about this point and often ask for advice. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing the meal. Both forms have their advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, we’ll compare both options for you and give tips on how to determine which suits you best.
The advantages of the buffet
– With the buffet, each guest can decide for themselves what they would like to eat. Since there is a large selection of dishes, there is guaranteed to be something for every guest. With food preferences and sensitivities becoming more and more common, this gives your guests more control of what they will be eating. If you know you have gluten free guests, you can ask your caterer to include an option for them. The same would apply for most food allergens. 
– With a buffet, the mood is quickly loosened up, because it is less stiff than a 5-course menu.  In addition, the guests come much faster with other guests into conversation and while one stands in the queue, a first exchange already takes place.
– The buffet is sometimes less expensive than a plated meal. This is typically due to the fact that less staff is needed because the food does not have to be served to entire tables at one time. Instead, tables are released to the buffet one or two at a time.
The disadvantages of the buffet
– Constantly getting up and running around causes commotion, which doesn’t contribute to a relaxed atmosphere.
– Long lines at the buffet are an absolute no-go. Especially in large wedding parties with many guests, this can lead to problems. For this reason, we recommend having two buffet stations set up if you have a large number of guests.
The advantages of the plated meal
– A multi-course menu is simply more elegant and emphasizes the festive setting of a wedding more than a buffet. Guests are served at their seats and don’t have to worry about anything. They can talk to the people sitting next to them and enjoy the meal in a relaxed atmosphere.
– The menu is not only a culinary highlight in terms of taste. Because as the saying goes: You eat with your eyes. So if the aesthetic aspect of the meal is important to you, you should definitely go for the menu. Uncle Frankie’s creation at the buffet can’t quite keep up.
The disadvantages of the plated meal
– The choice of food. You simply can’t please every guest. Even if you allow your guests to choose between fish, beef, chicken, and a vegetarian dish, there are still components that one may not like.
– You don’t know in advance how much each guest will eat, and in most cases, you can’t get seconds. If half the groom’s soccer team is invited, you should definitely think about whether the menu is the right choice.
– Depending on how many courses you choose, the dinner can take a long time. By sitting at the table for hours, you also “only” talk to your seat neighbors and do not talk at all with other guests, which could possibly tilt the mood a bit. 
As you can see, there are certain advantages and disadvantages to both alternatives, but in some circumstances the question “plated meal or buffet”, may not even come up for you, because for certain reasons only one comes into question. Therefore, you should also think about the following points beforehand:
Location and style of the wedding
What does the venue look like? This is an essential aspect that can lead to the fact that only one type is possible anyway. Because if it is a small location, only the menu comes into question.  Do you rather celebrate in the countryside or in a great castle? A preselected menu looks much better than a buffet in an elegant venue. In a barn wedding, on the other hand, a plated dinner might seem out of place.
Timing of the evening program
How much time do you actually have for dinner? If you set a high value on many program points, then you should try to plan that already before with your Wedding Planner and/or Coordinator. Maybe they can give you some information or talk directly to the caterer about how much time is left for the meal. Because a plated meal can be more time-consuming than a buffet.
The guests you have invited for your party can also be an important factor in your decision. If you have invited many guests with children, then we would rather recommend the buffet! After all, who can keep small children sitting quietly at the table for several hours? On the other hand, if the majority of your wedding party consists of many adults and older relatives who are unfortunately not so good on their feet anymore, plated service is ideal.
There is no right or wrong here. However, we hope that we could help you with your decision. It is your wedding and therefore you should choose the option that suits you best. But be well consulted in advance. The venue owners or the caterer are professionals and know very well what works well in which venue.
If you still need help in planning your wedding or looking for a caterer, then check out, here you will find our professionals nationwide!
Happy wedding planning!


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