buffet vs. plated style

Wedding Catering Picks: Buffet versus Plated? What to Choose

Buffet Versus Plated: What Should You Choose for Your Wedding Catering? 

Choosing a suitable dining style is one topic that frequently pops up in wedding planning conversations. There’s often the debate between choosing a style that offers flexibility or one that fits into your preference and the wedding reception theme. Regardless of your choice, each contender for your wedding catering offers varying benefits. So, how do you make a decision? What should you consider, and what should influence your decision? This article will answer these questions for two of the most common dining styles: buffet versus plated. 

What Is the Difference Between a Buffet and Plated Wedding Food Catering?


A buffet dining style is one where the menu consists of various starters, mains, sides, and desserts, and guests serve themselves. It provides guests with more options typically. However, using a buffet option for wedding catering often results in queues that might slow down or disorganize the wedding activities.


In contrast, guests remain seated  in a plated dining style while wait staff serves their meal. Unlike the buffet, a plated dining style is more formal and can be easier to keep guests engaged and the cadence of the reception flowing smoothly.

How to Decide Which is Better for Wedding Catering

Deciding which is better between buffet and plated dining is really a personal choice. You must consider factors such as your wedding catering menu, budget, preference, guest expectation, wedding style, and variety to decide which is better. Ask yourself these questions to help you make an informed choice.

What’s Your Wedding Style?


Your wedding style plays a huge role in your choice of catering. If you are having a formal wedding reception and want events to flow at certain times, choose an option that provides organization and elegance. In this case, the plated dining style may work best. You can incorporate dances, toasts, and more in-between serving each course on the menu. 


In contrast, the buffet option may be best if you are interested in a more casual, laid-back wedding style. The guest gets to choose what and how much they eat, and you don’t have to worry about extra staff for serving.

Do Any Guests Have Dietary Restrictions?

Preparing a wedding catering menu and having some guests who can’t or won’t eat the meal selections is not ideal. At the same time, it’s your wedding, and you shouldn’t have to take everyone’s specific dining preferences into account. If you know that many of your guests have dietary restrictions, plated dining may be more limited. However, a buffet can accommodate different diets and allow guests to choose what they want to eat. They also get to choose the portion they can eat or when to get their meal.

Is It Cheaper to Have a Buffet or Plated Dinner?


Cost is another critical factor when deciding which dining style is best for you. Although many believe a buffet is cheaper than plated dining, that may not always be the case. The cost of each dining style depends on many factors. Generally, a buffet is more affordable in terms of service cost as you require less wait staff than a plated meal. 


However, in terms of food costs, a lot goes into preparing a menu. For a buffet meal caterers will need to make extra food you risk running out. However, a plated meal gives you control over the portion and how much to prepare. Of course, the type of food you offer—lobster versus chicken for example—also affects the cost, whether it’s a plated meal or a buffet.  

What Are Your Guests’ Expectations?

Guests are the life and soul of a wedding reception. The music, decor, food, and other plans are made to ensure the guest is entertained and that you enjoy your best day with people you love. So, it’s wise to choose a meal dining style that matches the expectations they have leading up to the wedding. For example, if the wedding invitations are casual in tone and style, guests will expect the same feel at the event. As such, guests might be surprised if  they show up wearing dressy casual and the wait staff is dressed in black tie while serving a three-course plated meal.


Book Professional Wedding Catering Services Today

Your wedding day is one of the most special occasions of your life, and choosing the wedding catering is one of the most crucial aspects in making it a success. Regardless of your choice of buffet versus plated meal, ensure you hire professional wedding catering services that can meet your expectations.