Wedding Menu: Buffet or Set Menu?
Weddings have become very competitive these days – every bride wants to create extravagant ideas which top previous wedding trends and styles. However, in the process, they forget about the elements that are the most important for a successful wedding. Your wedding menu! Your food is without a doubt one of the main focal points and will be a topic discussed long after the wedding is over. Planning a menu doesn’t have to be tricky, but where do you start? Well, first and foremost, choose a menu that includes all your favourite foods. It is your day after all! When deciding on the catering for your special day, why not go with foods your truly love?
The stiffness of a three-course plated meal is a thing of the past; let’s go further back in time, to where food was a social affair! In addition, choice sells – a few interesting canapés with unusual combinations is a great way to get the guests’ taste buds going. Put a variety of delicious, bite-sized treats on stylish platters and stands for starters. Include an array of nostalgic flavours such as pesto, meat, tartlets and salads and then move on to a stunning plated main such as duck confit or a classic fillet with red wine reduction. For dessert, draw your guests to socialize around a beautiful display of sweets, treats, cakes and candy to tantalise all taste buds – end the night off with a café-style coffee station where guests can select their favourite coffee blend, complete with a variety of flavoured syrups as sweeteners.
Before you decide which meals to include in your menu, let’s compare the pros and cons of plates meals and buffets.
Image by The Place Cafe
Set Menu Pro’s and Con’s
- Plated menus are a good option if a couple is looking to plan a formal, eloquent wedding.
- Plated menus are ideal for the elderly and small children.
- Plated meals will make guests feel like royalty, and they won’t have to worry about struggling back to their seats with platefuls of food.
- Guests get food at the same time.
- You can spread out activities (like dances and toasts) in between each course to keep guests engaged and maintain a nice energy throughout the meal service.
- Plated menus are more expensive than buffet style.
- Brides have noted that it can be stressful waiting for guests to respond with their dinner selections.
- Your menu is limited to what you have chosen. This means that if any of the guests are fussy eaters or don’t like your choices, they might not enjoy their meal.
Wedding Buffet Pro’s and Con’s
- It is significantly cheaper than the plated wedding menu option.
- Buffets allow for not only a greater variety of food but also a greater quantity of food.
- Buffets are easier to plan; instead of waiting for guests to reply with their dinner selections, the bride and groom choose what goes onto the buffet selection.
- They are not as formal and they encourage mingling.
- It is easier to cater for guests who have food allergies or dietary requirements as there is a greater variety.
- Guests will have the option to come back for seconds on the items they enjoyed the most.
- They require guests to strategically carry food back to their tables. This presents an opportunity for dropped food and spoiled outfits.
- Depending on how many guests attend, long lines at the buffet table could easily become problematic.
- Another concern is that guests will feel like they are in line to get food at a cafeteria.
Finding a catering company
- First things first, figure out what your budget is before you even begin emailing catering companies. Creating a food and drink budget early on, not only helps you figure out which companies you can afford to hire, it also allows those companies to cater — pun intended — their proposals to your needs.
- Ask your venues for suggestions. Most venues will have a list of preferred vendors, which is a great starting point in your search. Other venues may work exclusively with only one catering company.
- Get multiple proposals from companies so you can compare the service and wedding menu options. Ask for specifics! It’s your job to tell the caterer how many guests you are expecting and what style affair you’re having, but it’s their job to propose the number of appetizers, courses, waiters, bartenders, coordinators, and chefs. This headcount is important when you’re comparing proposals — you don’t want anyone stuck waiting 15 minutes for a drink!
- Ask about linens and dinnerware. If your venue does not provide chairs, tables, cutlery and crockery, find out if the caterers do. Most caterers do, or partner with a rental company that does. While this may be an extra fee, coordinating these essential rentals through one company will be a lot easier than balancing two or three companies to set your tables.
- Arrange for a tasting before you make your mind up and remember to check reviews!
Image Source: Pinterest
More About Wedding Food:
- Have a look at our Wedding Catering Inspiration board on Pinterest.
- Listen to our podcast about planning your wedding menu
- Read more interesting blogs about Cakes and Catering
Featured image by The Flying Pan