Wedding buffet

Buffet style catering is becoming increasingly common for less formal weddings. When you consider the cost of wedding food buffet style catering generally works out cheaper than a sit down meal, guests have a wider range of foods to choose from, and they can decide for themselves how much they want to eat.

wedding buffet

One you have agreed to have a buffet you may think the difficult decisions have been made, but there are still a few buffet dilemmas you might face.

Here are three common wedding buffet dilemmas:

Dilemma 1: Finger buffet or fork buffet?

The names of these two distinct buffet types are fairly self explanatory. A finger buffet consists of food that can be picked up and eaten with the fingers, and a fork buffet includes food that needs to be eaten using cutlery.

A finger buffet is the less formal of the two, and guests can choose whether to eat whilst standing up and mingling or whether to find a table and sit down. With a finger buffet, guests tend to refill their plates several times over a period of a couple of hours. This makes the finger buffet most suitable for evening receptions.


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A fork buffet usually includes hot dishes with sauces and a selection of vegetables and side dishes. Guests usually help themselves from the buffet and then return to their places at the table to eat. This makes a fork buffet more suitable for during the day as the timing is neater and easier to fit around speeches and cake cutting. Guest usually only fill their plates once or twice, and the period during which they are eating is much shorter.

Dilemma 2: Self service buffet or staffed buffet?

Assuming you have chosen a fork buffet for your wedding breakfast, you now have the choice of letting guests help themselves, or having a staffed buffet. A staffed buffet is seen as a compromise between full waiter service and a self service buffet, as guests still have to take their plate up to the buffet line, but their food is dished up for them.

A staffed buffet is more formal than a self service buffet, it gives you a degree of control over portion sizes, and it helps to prevent guests knocking food over or spilling it on themselves as they serve it. However, a staffed buffet will work out more expensive than a self service buffet as there will be extra wages to be paid.

wedding buffet

Dilemma 3: Hot or cold buffet?

Once you have decided to have a buffet for your wedding breakfast, you will need to decide whether you want to just serve cold food or whether there should be some warm dishes in there as well.

Whether you have a hot or cold buffet does depend largely on the season you have chosen for your wedding. You could certainly get away with a cold buffet during the summer months, but if you are getting married in early spring, winter, or late autumn, you should try to include a couple of hot morsels. Some guests may feel they haven’t had a proper meal if they don’t get something hot.

A cold buffet has the advantage that it can be served anytime so you have more flexibility over the schedule of your wedding day. If parts of the buffet need to be cooked or heated up, you will be more restricted and will need to be ready to eat as soon as the buffet is laid out.

If you have a hot buffet you will need to make sure your guests can get through the buffet line fairly quickly or the hot dishes may have gone cold by the time the last guests reach them. The key with a hot finger buffet is to be sure the foods you choose taste good hot or cold, and to provide hot plates to keep the food warm for as long as possible.

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