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Pros and Cons of Buffet versus Plated

August 16, 2023

Pros and Cons of Buffet versus Plated Wedding Dinner

When deciding between plated dinner or buffet for your reception, there are a few things you should take into
consideration. First, what is the overall style and feel of your wedding? Are you having a black tie, formal event or a
more casual, laid back affair? Plated table service is the most formal while a buffet-style meal brings some
casualness. You will need to take into consideration budget, guest expectations and your personal preferences.
Lastly ask yourself, which type of meal would you prefer? Are you more formal or more laid back?


A buffet meal is served from designated areas of the venue and guests are invited up to the buffet to be served an assortment of elegantly arranged dishes from a pre-set menu.

Pros and Cons of Buffet versus Plated

Buffet Pros:

•Most cost effective. Buffet requires less staff, which means lower costs.
•Buffet offers a variety of food selections for your guests.
•It gives your guests control of the portion of the meal they would enjoy.
•Usually more informal.
•Gives guests a chance to mingle during meal time.

Buffet Cons:

•It can be harder to accommodate guests with allergies.
•You have to think carefully about food safety. Planner tip: We never recommend a self serve buffet, hire the catering staff to help here. It is more sanitary and best for portion control.
•Guests have to walk to the buffet and back to their table with a plate of food.


A Plated Meal is a dining option in which your guests remain seated for the entire meal, and are served each course by wait staff at your venue of choice.

Pros and Cons of Buffet versus Plated

Plated Pros:

•Usually more elegant.
•Gives guests time to talk at their tables.
•Less work for guests since they wont need to leave their tables.
•Running out of food is less likely since meals are precisely matched to final guest head count.
•Makes managing the flow of the event easier- no risks of guests going to the buffet during a toast or first dance.
•Everyone eats at the same time.

Plated Cons:

•Higher cost.
•Requires sending meal cards in advance to ask guests for food preferences.
•Wait staff is crucial factor for success.
•Less variety.
•More organization means more planning. Planner tip: We can help here! Meal cards will need to designate who gets what option. Along with the catering team, who will need a list of how many of each meal go to each table.

Pros and Cons of Buffet versus Plated Wedding Dinner is an educational wedding blog, written by the CM Dream Team. We love crafting and bringing your dream wedding to life! Consultations are are complimentary and a great way to kickoff the planning process. Schedule your consult here! 

Still not sure if you need us, check out these other blog posts:

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