How Should I Serve the Food at My Wedding Reception?
There are many options when it comes to serving food to your guests at your wedding. Buffet and family style are two options we have talked about but another very classic way is a plated meal. A plated meal has the most formal feel and brings the food directly to your guests. This can feel much like taking them to a fancy restaurant.
Everyone loves going out to a nice dinner right? Doing a plated meal can give your guests that doted on feeling and really give your wedding a formal feel. If you are planning a plated dinner it is a good idea to start by talking to your caterer about what dishes work well for plated and what may work within your price point.
Do I Have to do Just One Entree?
When doing a plated dinner you can definitely offer more than one option or entree for your guests. Remember that by doing this you are upping the complexity of the event and will need to do some pre-planning.
You will need to ask your guests ahead of time what entree they would prefer. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you have to call each and every one of them to see if chicken or steak is more their thing. Add a menu choice option to your invitations so they can send back their choice with their RSVP. (Don’t be surprised when you have to call Joe and Mildred to see which one chose the steak though, not everyone will specify which entree is for which guest.)
Your caterer will need to know how many of each meal to prepare in addition to where each of those entrees goes. Yes, this means you will likely need to do a seating chart. We’ll wait while you pour yourself a glass of wine.
Ahh, doesn’t that make it better? It will make the service process much easier if your guests have assigned tables and then escort or place cards with their entree choice on them. This can be done with a C or a B for chicken or beef (or F for fish, you get the gist), with a picture of a chicken, fish, or cow or even by color coding the cards. It is best to provide your caterer with a list of who is at what table and what their entree is so they don’t have to “auction” the food off as they serve it. It will make the experience much more seamless for you and your guests. (We use Aisle Planner to place all the guests and generate this list!)
Another thing to take into consideration is vegetarian or vegan meals and dietary restrictions. You may want to offer a veggie meal and talk to your caterer about how they handle food allergies or dietary restrictions. It is a good idea to note this on the invitation as well so these guests don’t show up and “spring” allergies on you. (Warning, this may still happen but at least you gave them the opportunity to communicate ahead of time!)
If you go with a plated meal you will definitely have a classic, more formal feel, there will be less waste and your guests will feel really taken care of. The downfall, as we mentioned, is that you will likely have to do assigned tables and this can be the most expensive meal option. We have seen some really great menus with a plated meal and have even seen an open kitchen concept where the caterer cooked onsite and plated in front of the guests.
Have a conversation with your caterer to make sure this aligns with their strengths and that the type of food you have chosen works well for a plated meal. In the end, you will need to trust your caterer and let them really wow your guests.
You can see more on this at Planning + Prosecco here. Happy Planning!