Wedding Receptions: Served, Buffet, or something else?

One of the recurring themes on the Simple Pleasures blog is the different aspects of celebrating your special day.  How do you make the food a distinctive and memorable part of your event that also says who you are?  Today we’ll talk about three different ways to do that.

Served Meal

served-meal-simple-pleasuresThis is the most classic option.  You can taste and pick what you want ahead of time and even allow your guests to indicate their preferences in an RSVP to you, hence making planning a breeze.  People expect this arrangement; it is by far the most frequently used plan for a reception, and for the bride and groom, it takes the least amount of involvement and planning.  If you and your spouse-to-be are not “foodies” who consider this to be one of the biggest parts of your day this is the way to go.

The added touch to a served meal is precisely that – being served and waited on is a nice touch and part of the “relaxation” of a special day.  You’ll also enjoy the fact that everyone gets their food at the same time, and with the pacing of appetizer, entree, dessert, this usually concludes the meal portion of a reception most quickly (and gets people out onto the dance floor!).

Remember it’s the most traditional way – not the cheapest!

Buffet Meal

buffet-meal-simple-pleasuresHave what you want!  This allows there to be a bride and groom “feel” to the meal, but with that comes more hands-on planning.  The bride and groom might plan out a more elaborate menu that features both of their palates and preferences.  This means that people can pick and choose what they want.  Cons include a need to constantly monitor the area (because as much as people may try – or not try – buffet areas get messy) and the initial lines when the meal is first served.

Keep in mind that you should have both meat and vegetarian entrees, along with plenty of side dishes.  Also remember that a buffet is not necessarily cheaper than the served meal option.

Pot Luck Meal

Wait, what?  Before you start saying, “tacky,” or “classless,” we want you to realize that this is actually normative in some countries and cultures so be aware before you start emotionally reacting.  This traditional way of celebrating a wedding day is standard among Quakers and is starting to get some traction among weddings of all types.

Think of the pot luck reception as the buffet with a deeply personal twist: those who love you bringing you their favorites (often for locals this is in lieu of a wedding gift – out-of-towners without access to a kitchen are not expected to bring anything for the reception), and if you do a bit of planning, sometimes you can leave a recipe box at the end of the reception line where the families can leave their recipe so that on any given day, years later, you can re-create tastes from your wedding.

potluck-meal-simple-pleasuresThis is definitely the “cheapest” option but it is “expensive” in terms of proper contextualizing so as not to put off your guests.  If you can explain your reasons for a pot luck reception in a thoughtful way, you will win some skeptics over who didn’t necessarily like the idea, but come away saying it was one of the best receptions they’d ever been to, for the simple fact that they had never been confronted with such an amazing and special group of choices before – at any meal!

Not many wedding venues can offer you all three of these options, but Simple Pleasures can!  For either the served or buffet meal we can serve some delicious home-style bbq and smoked meats with all the fixings, or we can bring in one of our trusted caterers to handle whatever you desire.  And, should you opt for the pot luck meal our kitchen is open to you and your guests to create or put the finishing touches on their special dish for you.

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