There are so many factors that go into choosing your wedding meal, and depending on your likes and dislikes (and pickiness), you may be stumped when it comes to choosing your food. You may HATE chicken but know that most guests are going to like it. And while you may be considering giving your guests the option, you then come to the realization that it is far too pricey to add on that second or third option for your guests to choose.
A plated meal is more formal but there are more options in a buffet. Your head is swirling 'round and 'round and there are just too many decisions to make!
So I am going to help you get there by laying down all of the facts. And before we get stared, I will first tell you the answer to my first question:
Yes, guest opinions DO matter. You want them to enjoy their meal just as you want to enjoy yours!
What is more expensive: A Buffet or A Plated Meal?
Now this is a trick question, because it really depends on the catering company or venue you choose.
Some venues will charge more for a buffet because there is more food being cooked for guests, in order to ensure there is plenty for everyone to fill up their plates and go back for more.
However, some will charge more for a plated meal because more staff is needed in order to get all of these meals served to your guests in a timely fashion. And with more staff, comes a higher cost.
And then there are even some companies who say, "Take your pick! They cost the same!"
So that is your first step in determining which you will choose: You have to just ask!
Things to think about:
Remember, it is not just you and your spouse that need to be pleased with the food, but hopefully every single guest in attendance. Because who wants a guests biggest memory of your wedding to be how they starved all night because none of the food was tasteful to them? No one.
So here are the top things to think about when choosing your meal options:
- Allergies: There are more allergies out there than you can imagine, so make sure there is some way to accommodate those guests with dairy, peanut, gluten, or any allergies they may have. Because wouldn't that be a disaster!
- Pregnancy: Expecting mothers cannot have uncooked fish (and even then they are limited to how any times they can eat fish a month), cannot have any red in their meat, and have many other dietary restrictions. So keep them in mind!
- Vegetarian or Vegan: There are also guests who will be coming with self-choice dietary restrictions. So even though they CAN eat any food if they wanted, you need to make sure they have an option too in order to respect their lifestyle choices.
- Kids: Young children and even some older children are not going to want to have anything to do with the adult meal you choose. So make sure there is an alternative option for them as well.
What are my options?
Here are the different options you have:
- One Choice Plated Meal: Everyone gets the same meal and it is served to your guests. Typically with this option, guests can also indicate a vegetarian option or a kids meal at no additional charge.
- Optioned Plated Meal: This is when your guests get to indicate on their RSVP card which food option they would like. It can be 2 or 3 options (I wouldn't go more than that) in addition to the vegetarian and kids meal options.
- Buffet: We all know what a buffet is and how much variety it'll give your guests. Every company gives different options for their buffets but there will be far more options for each guest, and they'll get to go back for seconds! Please keep in mind that due to food laws, there is a maximum amount of time a buffet can stay open (it cannot be sitting there all night long, as most couples hope). Usually this ranges from an hour to an hour and a half but just ask your venue or catering company and they can give you specifics for your city or state!
- Family Style: This is a great mix of plated and buffet, because the food is served to the table but there are options just like a buffet and guests serve themselves!
- Guests get one thing, and you get another: This is not very common but I have seen it done! One of my couples wasn't into formality but wanted a formal wedding. They served their guests plated meals and had burgers made for just the two of them! Just remember, your guests may be a bit jealous if you do this, but you're the prince and princess for the day!