Reception Dining: Buffet vs. Sit-Down

Guest Blogger: Nathaniel Neubauer, owner of Contemporary Catering
Nathaniel’s mom says it best: “When Nathaniel was turning three, I asked him what he wanted for his third birthday. He said, ‘Quiche.’” Ever since, Nathaniel’s love for food has never been far from reach. With his presence, Contemporary Catering quickly became a major contender in the Los Angeles catering industry. From overseeing production to designing a nine-course tasting menu with five-star service, Nathaniel’s dedication to his clients and his company is unparalleled.

Can’t decide whether to have a buffet or sit-down dinner at your wedding reception? Well, you really can’t go wrong with either option, and don't be afraid to custom-create your dining experience. At Contemporary Catering, we’ve seen couples choose to have a served salad course to help bring everyone together for a special moment of the evening (i.e. toasts or a first dance), and then go into a buffet-style meal.

There are many factors to keep in mind when planning for a buffet wedding reception:

  • It’s important to ask the chef for dish suggestions that will work with your style and theme.
  • Always ask how many buffet stations they plan on setting up.
  • Remember that one buffet station for 150 guests will create long lines and slow service time that might cause your event to run longer than expected!

cheese and grapesPhoto Credit: Donnell Probst Photography

If you're leaning toward a sit-down dinner, it’s important to ensure that there is enough labor to meet your service expectations. The more guests you have, the more hands you will need — simple as that! You definitely won’t want to worry about unattended guests and poor service on your special day.
lamb reception meal Photo Credit: Melinda Lé Photography

So how do you find a caterer? Start by asking your friends and other professionals for recommendations; ask about their past experiences. Once you've narrowed down a list, start interviewing. Some great questions to ask: 

  • What s the caterer’s average price range?
  • How long will it take to serve each course?
  • Where will the food be prepared? On-site or in-house?
  • What are the chefs’ specialties?

Choosing a caterer doesn’t have to be difficult. If you seek recommendations from friends and ask the right questions, and you’ll be one step closer to planning that perfect reception… whether buffet or sit-down style!

—Nathaniel Neubauer