Choosing Your Wedding Food Buffet vs Plated

Choosing between a buffet and a plated meal for your wedding can be a struggle. There are reasons to choose one over the other, but at the end of the day if you’ve chosen a great caterer you’ve already won. Most caterers will offer both and I’m here to help you walk through the pros and cons of each today so that you can make the best decision for your wedding reception.

Plated (Served) Meal


Plated meals are your salad and dinner served right to your table and are often considered both more formal and relaxing. A beautiful plate of food will be placed in front of you and you can continue on with your dinner conversation uninterrupted.


As the bride (and groom) there is more prep work for you with a served meal. You will need  to send an extra card with your invitations that states the meal choices and then follow up to make sure you know what all of your guests have ordered. Communicating those choices to your caterer or wedding planner and then displaying each individual choice on the guest tables is all on you. To make the service as relaxing as possible for your guests, you will be doing the prep work.

Buffet Meal


One of the greatest things about a buffet meal is that everyone can choose not only what they want to eat, but how much they would like as well. Plus there’s usually seconds 😉 With a buffet the only prep work you need to do is decide on the meal.


If you have a large guest list it can take awhile to get everyone though the buffet unless your venue offers more than one location for buffet tables. Self serve means you won’t get that eye catching food display on the plate.

Bonus: Stations

Stations are a third option that some caterers offer. These display different types of food on multiple ‘stations’ while adding a lot of visual interest to your reception space. Like a buffet your guests have the choice of what and how much they want. Stations can be more efficient because they are more spread out than a buffet. However your guests will have to keep getting up from their tables to sample the whole menu.

There is no right or wrong way to serve food at your wedding. It is purely preference and how much work you want to put in ahead of time. Chat with your caterer and wedding planner to find the best fit for you and your reception style.

Cheers to Love,