Sit Down Dinner or Buffet Reception? 5 Considerations

wedding meal
Clin Cowie

Planning a wedding is full of tough decisions. Deciding between a sit-down dinner and buffet could take weeks of stress and deliberation. However, assessing five important elements of the big day can make the decision as simple as saying, “I do.”

wedding buffet

The Budget

If sticking to a tight budget is of utmost importance, a buffet style dinner may be your best bet. Because caterers and venues typically use less staff members for a buffet, they usually quote a lower price. The more legwork and staff needed, the bigger the bill, especially when it comes to sit-down dinners. Bigger budgets may allow for more food options or even more cake and drinks.

wedding food ideas


One of the many perks of a buffet is the opportunity to socialize. Sit-down dinners may prove to be very anti-social. Rather than simply familiarizing themselves with only tablemates, guests can strike up a conversation with other wedding-goers while waiting in line and maneuvering through the venue. It also provides for a friendly and comfortable atmosphere once the dancing and partying starts since everyone had the chance to get acquainted with other guests.


Guest List

Weddings with a large number of elderly guests may be best suited for a sit-down dinner. Navigating a crowded dinner hall with plates in hand can be extremely difficult for an elderly guest; especially if he or she has a disability. Having a loved one at the same table get a guest’s food may not always be an option in these scenarios. As a result, sit down dinners would be ideal for the comfort of all your guests.

Alternatively, a buffet is ideal for weddings with a lot of children. It’s no secret that children are picky eaters. The ability for them to pick and choose from a large variety helps eliminate the potential of starving children. The same applies to vegetarians, those on diets, and other picky eaters.


Formal weddings call for formal dining. As a result, brides and grooms should look no further than the sit-down dinner. It helps to eliminate the confusion of chaotic lines and table number organization. Buffet dinners call for a more casual atmosphere and theme. However, with the proper guidance from venue staff there is no reason why a buffet can’t hold up to your formal expectations without issues.

wedding dinner

Venue Space

A wedding with a long guest list in a small reception hall may not mix well with a buffet style dinner. There is nothing worse than the commotion of guests bumping into tables and chairs in route to the buffet in cramped quarters. The order of a sit-down dinner is almost necessary in these scenarios; especially if you invite people known to trip and bump into things easily. Pushing tables back in place and cleaning up spilled plates shouldn’t be on your wedding day agenda.


Regardless of what you choose, mealtime at a wedding is your moment to sit for a while and take it all in. Make it a stress free moment and dig in!