Sit-Down vs. Buffet Reception Dinners: The Pros and Cons


Amongst all the wedding planning decisions, there is a pretty significant one that all couples need to make: whether to have a sit-down or a buffet dinner style for their reception. Both are wonderful options, but you’ll need to decide what makes the most sense for your wedding. If you’re deciding between a seated and a buffet dinner for your reception, here are a few of the major pros and cons of each style that you’ll want to consider.


Sit-Down Dinner Pros

  • It’s a More Elegant Style of Dining: Served dinners are considered to be more elegant than buffet style meals. This means they’ll fit particularly well with formal affairs, but they still work nicely with more casual receptions.
  • Everyone is Served at the Same Time: One of the biggest benefits of a seated dinner is that everyone gets their food at the same time. This means you won’t have to deal with that awkward timing where some people are finished with their meals while others are still in line at the buffet. It allows for a more seamless transition from dinner to the next activity in the reception schedule, and you can also more easily work the wedding toasts and dances in between courses.


Sit-Down Dinner Cons

  • There are Typically Fewer Meal Options: Of course, you can offer guests an abundance of meal options with a seated dinner – but that’ll cost you quite a bit. Typically, couples will offer between two to four meal choices with sit-down dinners. If you’re a foodie, this means you won’t get to serve all of the food that you love.
  • You’ll Need to Track Meal Choices with the RSVPs: If you’re opting for a seated dinner, you’ll need to have guests select their meal choice on their RSVP card. That’s just one more thing you’ll need to track – and one more thing you’ll need to communicate to the caterer – during the planning process.
  • It’s Generally More Expensive: Seated dinners with a full waitstaff are generally going to be more expensive. However, if you’re having a more intimate wedding, the costs of a buffet versus a seated dinner might actually be comparable. Do a bit of research to compare rates in your area for your wedding size.


Buffet Dinner Pros

  • It is Typically Cheaper: One of the biggest pros of a buffet dinner style is that it is typically cheaper. Of course, as mentioned above, this can depend on your wedding size. You should also keep in mind that it will get more expensive if you have attendants at each station.
  • You can Offer More Meal Options: Buffets give you a bit more wiggle room when it comes to offering a variety of entrees and sides. This means you can serve more of the food you love, and you will easily make every guest happy.
  • Guests Will Get Exactly What and How Much They Want: By putting your guests in control of their plates, they can get exactly what they want to eat, and choose just how much they put on their plates. They also have the opportunity to go back for seconds if they didn’t get enough the first time around.


Buffet Dinner Cons

  • Guests Will Have to Wait in Line: One of the biggest drawbacks of a buffet dinner is that guests need to wait in line to get their food – and it can get chaotic if it isn’t managed well! That said, there are a few buffet tips and tricks to make the meal service flow more seamlessly.
  • It’s not the Most Accessible Meal Style: If you have younger children or guests with physical handicaps in attendance, this meal style can get complicated. If you choose to do a buffet dinner, you may need to have attendants available to put together a plate for certain guests.

If you are in the process of planning your wedding, come to the next Georgia Bridal Show near you. You will have the chance to meet with professional wedding vendors from Georgia and the Southeast who can help bring your vision to life!


Georgia wedding vendors, as well as other wedding professionals across the Southeast, can contact us about opportunities for exhibition and online marketing with Georgia Bridal Show.