traditional italian wedding
Source: photo credit: madlyinlovewithlife via photopin cc

Buffet Verses a Sit Down Dinner

traditional italian wedding
Source: photo credit: madlyinlovewithlife via photopin cc

One of the questions I have been asked the most is whether to have a buffet or a sit down dinner at the reception. There are pros and cons to both, and most of the time it comes down to budget. Food is one of the most expensive items on the wedding budget. It depends on the style of wedding you are having and if this is a place you want to spend big or save.


Have a buffet if you want your guests to get up and mingle. They will be forced to talk with each other while standing in line. Every bride wants her friends and family to feel welcome and get to know each other. Offering a buffet is a way to encourage small talk.

You can avoid the hassle of offering menu selections for your guest. With a buffet you can offer several dishes that take into consideration vegetarian diets, meat lovers, and everyone in between.  You will still need to let the catering company know about certain food allergies with a buffet.

Buffets are budget friendly. Many caterers can offer the food at a lower cost because they are not providing servers and multiple menus. Ask your caterer what different buffet menus they provide. Most will have a menu with a wide selection that will work with your budget.

If your wedding is less formal, then opt for a buffet. Your guest will feel more relaxed and not wonder which fork to use first. Buffets work great for receptions where dancing and celebrating are on the menu and not just eating.  Also, buffets allow you to be more flexible with your reception’s schedule.

Sit Down Dinner

You can personalize the menu with a sit down dinner and servers. Offer each guest a maximum of 2-3 menu options. One can be for vegetarians, kids, or fish lovers.  Your guests will feel like they are at a restaurant and ordering off a menu designed just for them.

With a dinner you can have assigned seating. Put talkative guests with shy ones to keep the party going. Keep trouble makers away from other trouble makers and everyone will be happy. Making place cards is one advantage of having a sit down dinner. No one wants drama on her big day.

Having a sit down dinner is more formal. If your wedding is on the traditional and formal end of the spectrum, opt for a formal reception as well.  Having a wait staff is important when serving your guests. Have the caterer make sure the waiters have on formal attire to match the setting of your reception.

One of the best benefits of having a sit down dinner is that your family and friends will all be served around the same time. You can plan the itinerary of the reception without having to allow time for everyone to get through the line. Your guests will eat at the same time as you and then join you on the dance floor.

Whether you choose a buffet or to have your guests served dinner, comes down to your style and budget. Work with your caterer to select the best option for your reception. The caterer is a wealth of information, and will help keep costs as low as possible while making your reception a smashing success.

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