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Reception Dinner: Plated VS. Buffet

One of the first things a couple has to decide on while choosing a venue is what kind of food service they’ll be having during their wedding reception. This is a debate for many couples, and something that wedding planners are asked repeatedly about but when it comes down to it, there’s no right or wrong answer. What may be perfect for one couple in a certain setting may not be what another couple wanted in another setting. We’ve broken down the advantages and disadvantages of both plated and buffet service to help you decide.



– Provides an elegant, upscale dining experience
– Easier service for those with children and the elderly
– Portion control (numbers of guests are calculated in advance and enough food is provided)
– Set menu allows for wine pairings if desired

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– The cost associated with plated dinners is usually higher when factoring in wait staff wages
– Not all meal cards are returned by attending guests
– Some meal items your guests may not like



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– Easier to plan if you do not have a wedding planner
– Offer a variety of foods for different tastes
– No (or minimal) wait staff required by the venue


– Need a large area to accommodate a buffet-style set up
– Buffets can sometimes appear tacky or ‘cheap’ to attending guests
– It can be a long line for the buffet and it can be hard on those who are differently abled, elderly or with children
– If you have too much food you are wasting money but if you don’t have enough food you risk your guests going hungry and you looking like someone who couldn’t provide adequately for their guests

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1 thought on “Reception Dinner: Plated VS. Buffet

  1. I have been to weddings of each kind. As a guest, I prefer to see the buffet option and not because it is a free for all. In the end, it is much easier for the guests and I think less work for the planners.

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