Planning your wedding meal takes a lot of consideration. Not only do you have the menu to contend with, but you also have to consider how you want the food served. While plated sit-down meals are elegant and formal, buffets offer a wider assortment of food choices while encouraging more mingling. You can even consider having both, with a sit-down main meal and then appetizer, dessert, or midnight buffets. The options are endless and limited only by your imagination and budget. Discussing your options with the experts at event catering that many Vaughan couples hire makes it easier to understand what options are available. Here are some considerations to help you decide if a buffet or sit-down dining experience is right for your wedding.
Formal or casual wedding?
First, you need to decide what type of reception you prefer. Do you want something very formal or more casual? No doubt, most people perceive a sit-down dining experience as the more formal option. People are contained at their own tables and enjoy the meal in one spot. A buffet, on the other hand, is far more informal:
- People can choose to eat when they like if the buffet is open over a period of time.
- They have more choices for their meal and can pick and choose their mains and sides.
- It provides a more informal gathering feel with people mingling and interacting with each other.
Single menu or more choices?
A sit-down meal gets a little more difficult as you have to deal with diet restrictions and preferences included in the invitation process. This means you have to include a few food choices such as beef or fish, vegetarian, or even gluten-free. Sometimes, the event caterers can disappoint some of these choices or even charge an exorbitant fee to provide more options. However, a buffet allows you to set out assorted fare that will appeal to each of your guests. Instead of tracking everyone’s preferences, you can have the event caterers post little menu choices in front of each item, so guests know which items fit in with their dietary needs.
At Château Le Jardin, our expert team has the skill, wherewithal and experience to accommodate various requests based on diet and deliver your menu seamlessly.
How many courses?
Both plated dinners and buffets can offer several courses. Because plated dinners tend to include about five courses served on a schedule, it gives people more time to enjoy their meal and chat. This is also an easier way to dine, especially for people with mobility issues. However, while most buffets set up and shut down for a single course, you do have the option to spread the buffets into at least three courses, such as appetizers, the main meal, and then a dessert table. In some cases, this option is preferable, especially if your wedding will be busy with various events, speeches, games, etc. You can set up each buffet service between events to create a well-paced evening with time in between to eat. On the other hand, if you are only planning speeches and dancing, then a sit-down meal with multiple courses works well to pace the night and keep people occupied.
How much planning effort?
As mentioned above, the formal sit-down meal requires more planning and effort by the couple. You have to consider the different food options, list them on the invitation, track the RSVPs, and provide a total to the event caterer. Seating charts must be organized, as many venues use the seating plan to ensure they bring the right food to the right table. This reduces issues of people with diet restrictions receiving the wrong food. Some couples even choose to write meal choices on name cards to make serving easier. A buffet, though, requires your menu choices, and you are good to go. If you have assigned tables, it can wait a little longer to plan as the event hall won’t really need to see it.
What is your budget?
Keep in mind that both options can be affordable or expensive, depending on how sophisticated the meal is. In fact, in some cases, buffets can really add up if you get very extravagant with the menu. Because the plated sit-down meal is literally charged by the plate, you can often feel more in control of your budget by going this route.
Because wedding food has become a major focal point, many couples are discovering the fun of including both plated meals and various buffets to impress their guests. For example, a welcome appetizer buffet such as an antipasto bar, oyster bar, cheese, and fruit buffet can be served prior to a four or five-course meal. You can then set up an exciting dessert table such as truffles, cake pops, waffles, assorted pastries, or even a trendy donut bar later in the evening. Another way to impress guests is to go with a food station. Stations can be set up throughout the evening, such as antipasto, carved roasted meats, sushi, and sliders, and then finish the evening off with liqueurs, fancy coffees, and assorted sweets. The beauty of this approach is that you set the tone with the food choices you serve. Just because you choose a buffet doesn’t mean it can’t be very formal and upscale, and likewise for a seated meal. Plated meals can be served in a fun way, using more comforting foods to set a more casual tone, such as pasta or roasted chicken.
Don’t Forget the Drinks!
You shouldn’t forget what kind of service you want for alcohol. Will wine automatically be served at tables? Will you have a cocktail bar on arrival? Fancy coffees and liqueurs to end the evening? A champagne toast? Maybe you want to be more creative. Drinks, cocktails, tastings, and specialty bar stations are very trendy. You can come up with fun ideas such as:
- Caviar and flavoured vodka stations
- A cocktail or vodka ice luge
- Champagne fountains
- Customized cocktail bars
You can have tons of fun coming up with exciting new ways to serve drinks to your guests. If you are ready to hire the event caterers that Vaughan trusts, speak to the Chateau Le Jardin team today.