The food served at a wedding is so special for both the newlyweds and guests at the reception. After working very hard on the menu items that will be included in your wedding reception, the final decision you need to make is how you will deliver the various meal courses to your guests. The two major types of meal settings that come into mind when thing about such a special occasion are buffet and formal meal. This article makes a comparison between a formal meal and a buffet to determine which type of setting is best for your wedding reception.
Reasons to Choose a Formal Meal
A formal meal is also known as a sit-down or seated dinner. It provides a full-service dining experience with pauses between courses. Unlike a buffet where every guest needs to pick their plate before serving food, a formal meal setting requires a chair for every guest with individual menus, additional centerpieces, table numbers, and a server for the table.
Other items that could be included for every guest at a sit-down dinner are chargers, flatware, stemware, and a server for beverages. The number of guests hosted at a formal or sit-down wedding reception is pre-selected. This means that they will have to sit at their designated table numbers and have a certain portion of food for every headcount.
One of the benefits of a sit-down meal setting is that it provides the perfect setting for a traditional wedding. Your guests can relax and be served comfortably while seated. It also gives you more control over the food costs since professional caterers can tell the amount of food that will be enough for your guests based on their headcount. You can also fit other parts of your reception such as speeches, first dance, or cake cutting around the courses. All these unique features of a formal meal setting can make your day feel luxurious compared to a buffet-style reception.
Just like the buffet, a formal meal also has its disadvantages. The cost of choosing a formal meal is often pricier than a buffet because of the number of staff required, and other things that happen behind the scenes or at the front of the house. It is quite difficult to serve your guests at the same time, especially if you do not have enough staff to manage all the tables. Since it is a formal setting, you need to be very careful with your food choices and this kind of formality is not always for everyone.
Reasons to Choose a Buffet
A buffet is a type of meal setting where different types of food are arranged on a long line of tables, placed at a walking distance from where your guests are seated. This allows your guests to stand up from their seats and mingle with each other as they pick their delicacies across the buffet line. They can go back and forth as many times as they like. A buffet can be set up for the main course but could include your entrée or dessert options as well.
A buffet offers your guests a chance to choose from a variety of different food options. You can have themed stations and everyone can eat at the same time. It is ideal for relaxed, informal weddings because there is fewer wait staff and the food can be prepared in bulk. You can have a unique theme for different food stations that cover different cuisines.
However, it comes with its downsides too. Things could get a little messy when people start getting greedy and take more than what they should. It makes it expensive when you start over-ordering on food to handle such situations and ensure every guest finds something to eat. Long queues are cumbersome and you may need a larger reception space to accommodate the buffet. Lastly, a buffet is not as elegant as a sit-down dinner as it feels less formal due to some organizational issues that we have mentioned above.
A formal meal is considered more elegant than a buffet because of its traditional setting and ambiance but the amount of money you have and the food choices you present on the table could either make or ruin your day. A buffet, on the other hand, is considered less elegant because of a few organizational issues but it is affordable and ideal for informal wedding receptions. The decision to choose between a formal meal and a buffet all comes down to individual budget and choice preferences.