Buffet or Sit Down?

One question I get from brides is if they should choose a sit down meal or buffet?  There are pros for both.  If you are on the fence, here are a couple of things to keep in mind before you decide:

Sit Down:

  • Guests know what they are eating beforehand. 
  • You can have guests choose between meat, seafood, or both.  Also make sure to have a vegetarian option available. 
  • Sit down meal tends to feel more formal and refined.
  • Know your timeline.  The most difficult part in having a sit down meal is that food should go out by a certain time.  If your schedule falls behind, make sure someone in the kitchen knows.  The last thing you want is for the meals you paid for to be overcooked because they were ready to go at 7 but your grand entrance won't be until 730.  No matter how hungry your guests are, if the meat is overcooked, they probably won't eat it. 


  • Lots of variety for your guests to choose from.
  • The cost can be a lot more affordable than a sit down.  I'm not sure why this is but buffets usually run cheaper than sit down meals.
  • Buffet often conveys a more relaxed reception and provides ample opportunity for guests to mingle as they wait for their table to be called and when they wait in line. 
  • Depending on how many guests you have, it could be awhile before everyone is fed.  Buffet lines can move slowly so make sure you have a great MC that can keep waiting (and hungry) guests entertained until it is their turn. 
  • Seconds anyone?  The great thing about buffets is that everyone leaves well fed. 

Another option is also having a meal served family style.  This is completely different and primarily within the Asian culture (but I've seen it a few times for an Italian and Greek wedding as well) and it's a lot of fun.  You have a set menu but all the dishes are placed on the table and everyone serves themselves.  It's a great way for people to interact with one another as they pass each dish around the table. 

And finally, whether you choose sit down, buffet, or family style meal, be sure you are aware of special dietary needs of your guests and convey that to the venue.  The last thing you want to do is to not have options for guests with food allergies.  Make sure the venue staff is aware of the indicators for guests with allergies.  You don't want everyone at a table to be eating but the guest with a seafood and nut allergy is still waiting for their dinner to be served because the kitchen wasn't told about the food allergy. 

Have you decided to do a sit down dinner or buffet?  Comment below!