When guests receive their wedding invitation, most will assume that there will be some sort of meal provided for them, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to plan a gourmet five course sit down dinner. The type of wedding food you choose to serve will depend on the style and feel of your wedding as well as the time of day and your catering budget. Here are three common options for wedding food.
Option 1: Formal sit down dinner
A sit down dinner is an elegant choice for a formal wedding, and is guaranteed to impress your guests. It is a luxurious option as your guests will be waited on and won’t have to leave their tables, and this also makes it a practical option if there isn’t much space in your venue to move around or you have guests with limited mobility. A formal dinner is seen as a more generous gesture towards your guests, especially those that have travelled a long way to come to your wedding.
The main downside of a sit down dinner is that it can be very expensive, especially if you choose to have more than three courses. You will need to pay a fixed cost per head whether guests want to eat or not. A sit down dinner can be quite an inflexible option, usually involving a set menu. If your guests don’t like the dishes being served they may not be able to order something else.
Option 2: Buffet or BBQ
A buffet or BBQ is a more relaxed and laid back option for wedding food, and is perfect for a less formal reception style such as a backyard wedding. With a buffet you can provide a wider range of foods to suit different tastes, and guests can eat as much or as little as they like. A buffet is usually a cheaper option than a sit down dinner as there aren’t any waiters or waitresses to pay and individual plates don’t have to be prepared. It is also a sociable option as guests have no choice but to get up and mingle if they want to eat.
One possible downside of a wedding buffet is that guests have to work for their food, which might not go down well with everybody. There is also more chance of food being spilt on beautiful wedding outfits as your guests crowd around the buffet table. While you are unlikely to actually run out of food at a wedding buffet unless you have guests with enormous appetites, you might find that the most popular dishes go first and the guests at the back of the queue are left with little choice.
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Option 3: Appetisers
Don’t feel obliged to provide your guests with a full meal if you are having a relatively short wedding reception, especially if it is in the evening. Serving hearty appetisers is a great alternative and works well with a cocktail party style reception. Wedding food often gets wasted as guests are too busy mingling, drinking, and dancing to really do justice to it, so they will probably eat as much if you have appetisers as if you have a full dinner.
Appetisers usually work out a lot cheaper than a full meal and you can have fun with tiny wraps, colourful sushi, Chinese spoons and miniature desserts. You can even use fashionable food stations to serve themed appetizers. Appetisers are a more sociable option than a sit down meal as guests can eat and mingle at the same time. You can also provide a wide range of food types to suit all tastes.
Appetisers probably aren’t suitable for a daytime wedding, where guests can reasonably expect a full meal before the evening reception kicks off. They may also be inadequate if you have a lot of guests travelling from out of town just for the wedding, as they will also need something more substantial.
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