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Are Buffet or Plated Meals Better for Your Wedding?

several chafing dishes lined up for a wedding buffet No two people are exactly the same, and you want your wedding to reflect the best of both of you, while also creating the perfect party atmosphere for your guests! Food is a huge part of most wedding receptions, and therefore you have a couple of big decisions to make. While you’re shopping around for wedding venue packages, give some thought to what kind of meal set-up you envision. There are two basic styles, buffet or plated, and both come with a few pros and cons.

1. Plated wedding menu

No doubt about it, a plated dining experience is the most formal choice. Guests are treated to a full service, 3-course meal. You can either give guests multiple entree options beforehand (often this information is sent to you via the response card), or you can provide a duet meal. A duet meal typically entails a half portion of two different meats are served to each guest with sides. In this situation, everyone is served the same thing. Take a look at the available wedding venue packages for help deciding what to offer. You may want to spend more on the entrees and less on appetizers, or focus more on appetizers and desserts, and less on a meal.

Plated meals are sophisticated and elegant. This style tends to be very organized and keeps wasted food to a minimum. Guests can remain seated as the waitstaff brings each course right to them. Plated meals are less cluttered than buffets, and the mess can be quickly removed by the waitstaff after dinner.

Because of the staff and chefs and labor involved, plated meals do come with an expensive price tag. Since there is less variety than a buffet, you’ll need to be sure to select food options that appeal to the majority of your guests, taking into account dietary restrictions. Plated meals also take up a lot of reception time, which can take away from dancing, socializing, and other planned activities.

View PineCrest’s wedding menu package and platinum menu options.

2. Buffet Wedding Package

Buffet-style dining offers a wide variety of foods from which guests can choose. Food is presented in chafing dishes to keep them warm, or on platters, then guests help themselves. Buffets can be on the more formal side (think of staff assisting each guest), or on the casual side (think picnic foods and paper plates).

Buffets are certainly the less expensive option, and they allow guests the freedom to choose the foods and the portions they want. Buffets also encourage mingling, even if you’ve opted for assigned seats. If you’re using chafing dishes, the food stays relatively warm, whereas with plated meals, plates tend to cool off before everyone has been served.

Service lines can create confusion, and they’re difficult for guests with mobility issues. If someone uses a walker or a cane, holding onto a plate while also walking is near impossible. Also, there is almost always too much food. If you’re conservative with your quantity, you risk people not filling up, and if you estimate too high, then you either have to throw away a lot of perfectly good food, or find a way to save it.

View PineCrest’s buffet-style wedding package!

You want your food choices to match the formality of the wedding and the rest of the receptions, but most of all, you want you and your guests to feel comfortable and have a wonderful time. Create a budget, investigate wedding venue packages, and start crossing some dining decisions off your list today! Cheers!

Call an event coordinator at PineCrest, 215-855-4113, and let us help you plan a memorable meal for your wedding day!