It’s an age-old question that has plagued many. Should I host a seated dinner for my event, or should I use a buffet style? It’s a conundrum really, and one that many event planners and hosts stress about during the planning phase of large-scale events. It’s understandable, after all, when hosting an elaborate party you want your guests to experience all the joy and wonder of your party, not complain about the food service. But don’t fret! Using a few simple rules and tips, deciding whether a seated dinner or buffet style dinner will arguably be one of the easiest decisions to make while planning the perfect birthday party, wedding reception, fundraiser, and more.
Consider the Size of the Venue
The first thing to consider when deciding which dinner style to go with is the venue. Parties and receptions are held in all different types of spaces, both indoor and outdoors. The venue space is important because you don’t want your guests crashing into each other while trying to gather a plate of food and return to their seats. On the other hand, you also want to be sure that servers can reach your guests in their seated positions without any complications. Maintaining a nice flow of traffic throughout the space should always be kept in mind when deciding which dinner style would best suit your needs.
Is the Occasion Formal or Informal?
Next, consider the event itself. Experts suggest that events that are more formal should have a seated dinner. Guests who are required to wear jackets or evening gowns should not have to meander around a banquet hall trying to obtain food or drinks. Limiting their ability to wander around with their hands full of plates and drinks decreases the chances of accidental spills and cleanup. No one wants to see ladies in their evening wear attempting to mop up a red wine spill. Less formal events are given more flexibility. A buffet style dinner will perfectly suit occasions like a backyard barbeque, a sweet sixteen birthday party, or even some wedding receptions.
How Many Guests will be Attending?
Aside from the decorations, the lights, and the food, the guests are extremely important. After all, they did come to your event to support you, and it’s important to let them know you appreciate that support. It would be unseemly and disastrous if your guests left feeling unsatisfied. A good rule of thumb when considering the size of your reception is the larger the crowd, the more likely a seated dinner would best suit your needs. On average, a buffet line could serve 100 guests in 30-40 minute increments. The more guests you have, the longer that wait time is. The last thing any good host wants is to have hungry people roaming around your event, complaining about the lack of service and food. Again, with a large number of attendees, hosts should consider the traffic flow within the venue.
What will be on the Menu?
Buffet style dinners are better served if the menu for the evening has more than two entree selections. This is especially the case if dietary preferences of your guests are complicated. Perhaps serving chicken, beef, and fish to accommodate everyone’s dietary needs is better than only offering two of those options. In this case, buffets are ideal. Guests are able to choose their own food without risking any mix-ups. Another consideration would be standing receptions. For example, if a full meal is not going to be served, a buffet can offer up tasty samplings, small plates, or bite-sized appetizers to appease guests. Be careful, however, and inform your guests ahead of time that a full meal will not be served. Guests don’t want to come hungry to a sampling, and the last thing you want is guests leaving your event unimpressed, or worse, hungrier than when they came.
For more information on catering considerations, contact Italian Garden, located in San Marcos, TX.