The big choice Buffet Vs Seated

Planning your wedding reception can be quite a complex issue, especially for the uninitiated. Have no fear though, because we’ve put together this checklist of key considerations to help you on your way!


Let’s get this straight at the outset. Event organisers might be baffling you with catering terms such as ‘plated’, ‘seated’, ‘food station’ and ‘buffet’. To simplify this …

a buffet refers to a long table which is laid out with all of your menu options. Often servers will stand behind it to advise your guests on the food (especially helpful for allergens), and place appropriate portions onto plates. Plated/Seated/Served is your traditional dinner served to guests who are sitting at tables. Food stations are very much on trend over recent years and usually provide guests with grazing options or snacks throughout the day, or at specific times - read our blog about these [URL]

Things to consider when choosing between these options.


Often, seated catering is a lower cost option because you will be notifying caterers about guest numbers and menu options - usually upto 30 days in advance of your big day; and this enables them to plan and cost accordingly. Bear in mind that, obviously, making expensive food choices will increase the costs, and there may be venue costs for things like chair covers.

Seating plans and formality

Whilst it makes for a formal dinner with a special ambience, seated catering can be somewhat restrictive in that your guests cannot mingle whilst food is served, and you may have awkward decisions to make regarding whom to seat where. (Top tip; make your own place labels to help caterers to spot guests with special dietary requirements). A buffet format addresses this quandary, bestowing a more relaxed atmosphere on your event.


If you have settled on a buffet for your main meal option, you might also consider adding some food stations to your event, to prevent a long queue forming at dinner time. Food stations have many benefits - primarily, they can be offered for much longer periods of time than either a seated dinner or a buffet. Also, they can be stationed in various spots around your venue, so that guests don’t need to travel to one place for food (therefore, no queues). Food stations can also be hosted by a chef who will create individual dishes for your guests (along similar lines to the omelette station you might find in a hotel during breakfast).

Top tip: if you are featuring food stations at your event, make sure there are plenty of staff on hand to clear away plates and cups that will be left all over the venue by your guests.


Seated catering can be themed using bespoke centrepieces, your table plan and other decorative features placed on tables, such as flowers and guest name labels. Buffets and food stations are often more flexible in the types and styles of food that can be delivered, and this can be really supportive of a theme.

Whatever your preferences, we can help you create the event of your dreams - delivering any, or all of the above options. Give us a call 01937 849911 to discuss your event. 

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