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Wedding planning involves a long list of significant decisions. There’s the grand-scale stuff: what dress to choose, who to invite (and, crucially, who remains uninvited), where to have the reception, etc. Then there are the more minor, but no less important, decisions: what kind of table runners to use, what drinks to serve, and, finally, whether you want a plated meal or buffet service.
Food is the cornerstone of your wedding reception. It serves as a communal experience, a gesture of gratitude to your guests and a memorable takeaway from an important day. Getting your food just right takes forethought – and the help of a great caterer.
Whichever service style you choose, make sure to team up with a respected caterer capable of crafting a customized, delicious menu. Here in Canada, McEwan Catering is the top choice for great food and service. Helmed by celebrity chef Mark McEwan (who you might know as a judge on Top Chef Canada), they are experienced caterers adept at both styles of service.
In this post, let’s look at the benefits of each service style. Which one you choose ultimately depends on personal taste, reception size and intent.
The buffet-style wedding meal remains popular among wedding planners for great reason. Localizing your meal in a row of hot plates has several advantages – both for you and your wedding guests. Here are a few benefits of having a buffet reception:
- It is communal and convivial. There is something lovely and symbolic about everyone sharing the same communal food. It suggests togetherness, which is what weddings are all about!
- It may be easier to coordinate. Buffets require a few helping hands, but they do not need a large group of servers to execute table service. For large groups, this may be preferable.
- Buffets allow people to choose what they want, and how much they want. Guests can personalize their meal to fit their tastes, level of hunger and dietary needs.
Sure, some tables seated at the back may have to wait a few minutes for their turn at the buffet, but that small trade-off is more than worth it for many wedding planners.
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Despite the undeniable benefits of a great buffet, some planners opt to go a more focused route: plated dinners. Here are a few benefits of giving your guests a plated meal:
- It is confident and curatorial. Plated dinners show your guests that you have put thought and focus into the food you are serving.
- It allows you to put yourself on the plate. Offering a plated dinner enables you to personalize the meal. When you present guests with a coriander-crusted halibut or jerk chicken that you chose, you establish a personal connection with each guest.
- It may be more accessible. Older family members and friends, as well as others with disabilities, may appreciate that they don’t need to get up to fetch their meal.
At the end of the day, as long as you have an expert caterer in your corner, both service styles will wow your guests. If you are unsure, you can always consult with the caterer, who can make recommendations based on the size of your party, the style of food you want served and other key considerations.