Are you struggling with what to put on your table? Selecting an event menu can be a little bit overwhelming at times. When you receive the menu from your caterer or venue the options seem to be endless. Will you do a Buffet? A sit down dinner? Will you add stations or only do stations? Here is your 411...
A Buffet, often times this is a cost effective way to bring the price down on a menu. At times it is actually at a buffet where you may be able to offer your guest more options. Another upside is buffets always guarantee your guests are getting a fresh and hot meal, although as we will talk about a little bit later Butler passed meals can also be hot. Some of the downsides are the line. One way to get around having a long line at a buffet is either setting up the buffet so that guests can serve themselves on both sides of the table. Or depending on your party size you could speak to the venue/caterer about doing two buffet set ups so that way you have double the coverage. Although in my opinion this is a matter of preference some may also feel a Buffet is not as formal as a Butler passed meal or the food isnt as "fancy". Although admittedly there are certain meal options that cannot be served in a buffet very rarely does it truly make a big difference as far as how "fancy" the meal is.
Good old fashion Butler passed meals. Butler passed meals give your guests a more formal feeling at your event. With a butler passed meal there is no waiting in line for your dinner just be seated and served. That said, it is always important to bring up to your venue/caterer how many servers there will be at your event as well as the guest/table per server ratio. This will make a difference when your appetizers and dinner are getting served as far as how quickly dished reach the table. Another thing that will affect the speed of your dinner being served is whether your guests have pre-selected their meals or will select upon arriving at the reception. Naturally when a waiter has to take an order of what your guests would like to eat for dinner it will delay dinner service as the kitchen will have to cook on demand. Certain caterers and venues have a way around this to make sure it does not affect your timing that much. When your guest preselect their meals be prepared to have some sort of way that your waiters can identify who ordered what. Do not leave it up to your guest to be honest at the moment of truth as in my experience many will change their mind on the actual day.
Stations stations stations. These are always a fun addition to your event. Whether you are doing only stations or stations in addition to your dinner, this gives a big variety to what you serve your guests. Most times stations will have a theme whether they are a carving station or Italian station or Chinese/sushi, you get the point. A word of caution to those doing only stations for dinner the same rule applies as did for the buffets. If you are doing only stations depending on your guest count it may be better to double up on specific stations and spread them throughout the room or double up on Chefs at certain popular stations this will help with the food lines. Another great option is to have smaller dinner meals passed sort of like Butler passed hors d'oeuvres. The plate will be a larger portion than a dessert but smaller than a full plated meal. This will help with the volume of guests at each station.