If you are trying to save money on your wedding, definitely do not cut back on the food or the entertainment! Those are the two areas that will clear your receptions out the earliest and fastest, if they are not great! Guests will talk if the food is bad! If it's great, they will remember it! If your guests are well fed, they will enjoy themselves better, dancing and socializing. We will focus on the 'good food' aspect in this blog and save the entertainment subject for later...food has a HUGE impact on the reception!
Your wedding planner or venue caterer can help you create a very memorable buffet for your wedding reception of creative menu items that can fit any budget and wow your reception guests. Here are some tips to make sure you showcase the best buffet:
Surround your colorful selection of side dishes with at least two, scrumptious main entrees. Experts say that 'quality and abundance is the key to a great buffet, not a line of unlimited choices' (if they don't taste great)!
Include at least one extravagant item for your buffet display to achieve that WOW factor. You can select a blackened salmon, an elaborate dessert table, a mimosa bar, a cookie bar, a mashed potato bar, a taco bar, a magnificent wedding cake with pops & cupcakes, a sorbet bar, a Bloody Mary bar, a donuts and coffee bar, or a fountain of chocolate for an ice cream sundae bar. The choices are endless! It does not need to be expensive to look extravagant and delicious!
Use height variations on your food selections on your buffet table setup to give it a more interesting and pleasing look!
Make sure there is wait staff to clear tables between buffet visits for your guests. Be sure there are a lot of extra plates, cutlery, and napkins for guests to obtain a fresh set at each buffet visit.
If you are having a sit-down buffet, consider having a soup or salad placed at each guest setting at the tables. Then, as guests are waiting to be called up to the buffet by table, they have something to eat.
Make sure there is room between the tables to accommodate guest movement and traffic. The rule of thumb is to allow 25 to 30 square feet per guest. That may seem like a lot, but not if you count the tables, wait staff, band or dj, and dance floor. Therefore, it is best to know the number of guests you expect before securing your venue.
If some of your guests have special dietary needs, make sure your planning takes these factors into account. Take special care to consider food allergies and vegetarians. Talk to your caterer about special dishes for these guests.
If your ceremony is earlier in the day and you're having an evening reception, you should definitely have a cocktail hour for your guests with canapes or a light snacks to accompany them while waiting.
If there's a large block of time between the ceremony and reception (long photo sessions, for example), the cocktail hour should include much more than a few fruit and cheese platters. No one should go hungry!
The only time you should serve a light buffet is if your reception ends by or before 5:00pm. Any later, you need to feed your crowd a meal. If guests are sitting there at 6:00 or 7:00pm, they are expecting dinner and rightfully so.
Do you have a lot of friends with diverse backgrounds and ethnicities? If so, choose a caterer that offers a variety of food selections to suit all nationalities. Introduce your friends to an 'international' buffet!
No matter how great the music is for your reception, if the guests are hungry, they won't feel like dancing and will leave early! Great food...fabulous music...fantastic reception!
Look for our upcoming blog on how important it is to select great musicians for your reception!