December 27, 2021  •  5min read

Which One is Better – Buffet Style or Sit Down Dinner?

buffet style vs sit down dinner

After you’ve made all the statements and exchanged your “I dos,” then it’s time to celebrate the new couple with a feast at the reception. You have everything ready from the venue, live DJ, to the wedding bus.

However, have you decided on how to serve your food? In this article, we’ll be discussing if you should go for a buffet-style or sit-down dinner. Indeed, some pros and cons come with both options, and you need to consider the different variables when deciding between these two. This includes the budget, size of the reception and the tone you want to set for your wedding.

Sit Down Dinner Style

A sit-down dinner is perfect if you’ve confirmed you know exactly how many guests will come to your wedding. This way, you can work with the caterer and determine the amount of food you need. Wedding dinners generally offer an appetizer, main course and finish off with desserts where guests usually have the option to choose a protein for the entrée, which includes beef, chicken, or fish. A sit-down dinner is suitable for a more traditional, formal wedding. 


It embraces formality to the fullest. The sit-down dinner style is preferred as a high-end celebration. This will make your older, more traditional guests happy and maintain your nuptial’s high ceremony standards.

They’ll serve your guests at the same time. Unlike the buffet style, your guests don’t need to wait in line and the waiters will serve them in the same instance. This will prevent your guests from going hungry for longer than another and minimize the hostility surrounding the dinner.

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It’s in line with the reception itinerary. Choosing a sit-down service means that you can plan certain reception events like toasts and dances between each meal. This will keep your show running smoothly and according to schedule without any question.


It’s more expensive. Depending on the food you choose and the number of servers you hire, this style is traditionally more expensive than the buffet style. However, if the food served is your priority, spending more money on the dishes over the décor is also an option.

The menu is limited. As restrictions increase in today’s world, this can become a problem. You should also consider going over your guest list as it’s best to know the majority of your guest’s preferences. Also, if you include your guests’ children and other picky eaters in your event, you may end up with many leftovers.

Your event space will have more traffic. As the waiters and staff will roam your reception area, they’ll also likely clog up the space. This can make it harder for your friends or relatives to get up and walk around as they’ll be facing staff with tunnel visions and trays filled with plates.

Buffet Dinner style

Unlike a sit-down dinner, you can’t determine precisely how much food you need for a buffet-style dinner. You can consider a buffet dinner if you’re unsure how many guests will show up. Therefore, it’s best if you buy more food in case more of your guests show up and if they are likely to have an enormous appetite. You also need to consider the lines when choosing this reception-style as you’ll want to avoid long lines around the food.


It’s more affordable. A buffet-style wedding lets you save you more money than sit-down dinners. This means you’ll have more money available for other aspects of your wedding.

There’s more variety of food. If you’re the type of planner that’s indecisive or want to incorporate a variety of cuisine, such as food from different cultural backgrounds, then a buffet is perfect for you.

You can come up with your own “food station.” Think of something like the plentiful buffet from Las Vegas. This option offers you the chance to make “food stations” with different styles and servers. This includes a raw bar, a station for meats, a sushi station and many more while maintaining the elegant atmosphere.


It’s fully self-service. Your guests will likely have to wait in line to get their food. Indeed, if you’ve organized more stations, then you won’t have any problem, but its still something that guests usually have an issue about.

It’s not easily accessible. The buffet-style may be a problem for guests with specific circumstances, such as a physical handicap or with toddlers. Before choosing this option, we recommend you sit down with your partner and wedding planner to discuss how many of your guests might fit into this category to help you decide if it’s the right choice for you. It’s less proper. It doesn’t matter how luxurious your buffet is; there will always be one or two guests who frown upon this catering style. This is because some people may feel like a buffet dinner seems too laid back due to the absence of plated meals brought to them by waiters with white gloves. But if your guests know that you’re having a paradise or informal wedding, then you shouldn’t worry about it.

Guntur author at Bali Wedding
Guntur has been writing tips and tricks for weddings in Bali since 2020. He has written everything from preparing a pre-wedding in Bali to the best wedding dress and makeup you should choose for a wedding in paradise.

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