Wedding Reception Style: Costs for Different Wedding Reception Meal Options?

Q:

Which type of wedding reception meal is cheaper -- a seated dinner, a buffet, or finger foods?

A:

This question is more complicated than it seems! Let's start with seated wedding reception meal vs. buffet. It would seem that a buffet would cost less across the board, but that's not necessarily true. It depends on the time of day (a seated lunch or brunch could well cost less than a dinner buffet), the number of guests, and the foods you choose to serve. Sure, you'll need to pay for waiters to serve a seated wedding reception meal, but with a buffet you'll want wait staff on hand to make sure serving dishes are full, or even to make crepes or pasta dishes, so the cost could be comparable. A cocktail wedding reception may cost less because less food is involved, but keep in mind that guests may drink more if they aren't served a full meal. The bottom line -- talk to your wedding reception banquet manager or caterer about the different options and how much they will cost (ask for an itemized estimate). That's the only way to really find out what's going to be most cost-effective for you.


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