Living in the South, I find that buffets at weddings are super popular. Brides like the idea of giving their guests multiple meal choices and not having to track the number of guests having beef vs. the number of guests having chicken. And, of course, many brides prefer buffets as a way to save money. But are buffets REALLY money savers?
Not always. While there are always exceptions, buffets usually cost you more money. Why? Plated meals are pre-portioned. A caterer can figure out exactly how many pieces of chicken or beef to purchase for your event. It's not that simple with a buffet. Also, many guests approach a wedding buffet as an "all you can eat" opportunity. As a result, people tend to take way more food than they would have if the meal were plated. In addition to these factors, there are some other things to consider with a buffet.
Many brides want a simple, elegant wedding. But it's usually difficult to pull off an elegant event when guests are dressed to the nines and standing in a line to go through a buffet. Another thing to consider when you want to pull off an elegant wedding is that it's not usually ideal to have guests standing in line. This usually can't be avoided with a buffet. And, no, a double-sided buffet doesn't make it better because it still creates a line. And, again, you lose the elegant feel when you have someone dismissing tables one by one.
I also point out to brides that if they want to go with a truly upscale feel, their guests should be SERVED, not walking around with a plate in their hands or standing in line while waiting for a server to come back with another tray of mashed potatoes.
However, there are events where buffets are totally acceptable. I think they are great for laid-back rehearsal dinners, backyard events and even small weddings with a casual feel. But if you're going all out at your wedding with the upscale ballroom, event lighting and expensive floral arrangements, you may want to skip the buffet.
Review the catering menus at facilities you're considering. Look at the pricing of the buffet vs. a plated meal. Make sure you're making the decision that's best for your budget. Also, make sure that you're making the selection that will give your reception the feel that you want.
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Karen Clark is a celebrity wedding planner who publishes the "Perfect On A Penny" weekly e-zine. Get your FREE audio seminar: "5 Super Secret Tips That Will Save You $5000 On Your Wedding" at www.PerfectOnAPenny.com
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