Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Buffet vs Sit-Down Dinner at Your Roanoke Valley Wedding

Buffet vs Sit-Down Dinner, Which is Best for Your Wedding? 

After the “I dos” have been exchanged, it’s time to celebrate the new couple with a reception. You’ve booked the venue, the DJ, the wedding videographer (me), and the limo to whisk you away into the eve. 

But what about the food: buffet style or sit-down dinner and which is best for us?

Pros and cons come along with either option, and different variables must be considered when deciding between the two. 

Everything needs to be taken into account from the size of the venue, the overall budget, tone of the wedding and number of wedding guests.

Sit-down dinner

A sit-down dinner is probably the most cost-efficient options for serving food at your reception. 

Because you have a confirmed head count, you can work with the caterer to determine exactly how much food to buy

Most wedding dinners offer an appetizer of some sort, the main course, and various levels of dessert; guests normally have the option of choosing a protein for the entrée like chicken, beef, or fish. Usually, this is done at the RSVP so the couple will know ahead of time.

A sit-down dinner is the most formal, traditional practice. This choice gives family and friends a chance to make wedding toasts and speeches to congratulate the new couple. 

It also gives the night a specific schedule—from cocktail hour to dinner to dancing to the send-off.

Table settings must be taken into more consideration with hosting a seated dinner. If your caterer does not offer amenities like table linens or silverware, you will have to rent them, which can add up quickly.  

It’s also important to have enough servers at the dinner so guests will not be kept waiting too long for plates to be delivered and cleared between courses. 

Centerpieces and other table décor can be pricey add-ons as well. Sit-down dinners limit guests to conversing only with the others sitting at the table during this portion of the reception. It also separates the bride and groom from the majority of their guests. After a lively cocktail hour, a sit-down dinner can bring down the momentum and cause a lull in the reception.


A buffet is probably the more expensive option for serving food at a wedding reception. Because you can’t determine exactly how much food guests will eat, you could end up over estimating and buying more food than actually needed. Lines are another factor to consider when choosing a buffet-style reception; you want to avoid long lines forming around the food. 

It’s important to strategize where buffet stations will be set up because a smaller venue space can get cramped quickly.

However, buffets allow you to provide a plethora of options for guests and accommodate different food allergies. You can get more creative with what you choose to serve with fun stations that offer foods like sushi, oysters, etc. 

Buffet-style receptions give guests more time to mingle with each other and more opportunities to talk to the bride and groom. 

This style of reception gives the night a more laid-back schedule, allowing guests to eat whenever they want and enjoy the band all night long before waving goodbye to the bride and groom.

I've seen the sit down dinner at more expensive weddings and venues and the buffet style at more of your lower key weddings or budget weddings. Personally, I like the buffet style myself, you tend to get people fed a bit quicker and the atmosphere seems to be a little more lively, at least when I'm taking a break from filming weddings. (that's the only time I don't film by the way, is at a dinner service. No one wants to see Aunt Sallie stuffing her mouth full of food on video.)

Joshua is a life long video and audio professional with hundreds of professional films under his belt. Joshua works filming television commercials, wedding films, broadcasts, business video and much more.

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