Have you ever struggled with deciding whether to provide table service or a buffet for your guests? The decision is usually based on two factors- the level of formality attributed to the event and the number of guests in attendance.
Should I have table service?
Table service is an occasion in which the host of an event provides the guests with previously plated meals, whether it be by a wait staff or the host themselves. This kind of meal is often served during weddings or formal events, such as an awards dinner.
There are several positives to choosing table service. If the meal is a central focus of the event, it allows guests to take their time and enjoy several courses, where as buffet style can be a much more casual and quick affair. Plating presentation will be more impressive when served directly from the kitchen, and made to order dishes will be fresh. It should be noted that table service is more appropriate for upscale events, and if there are many guests, the serving may require more time.
Maybe a buffet?
Buffet service is a self serving method in which guests can line up at a table or group of tables that are already laid out with quantities of food, and the guests pick and choose what to put onto their plates.
Buffets are nice because they are more cost-effective, picky eaters can be as choosey as they would like, and they encourage guests to mill around with others and be social. Buffets have become increasingly common due to their convenience, even amongst formal wedding receptions.
Or possibly family style?
Family style can be a nice compromise between self-service and serving each individual dish. Dishes are served on many platters and placed at the center of tables. While guests are able to help themselves, the dishes can still be presented in an elegant and unique fashion. Guests are encouraged to interact with the others seated at their table and strike up conversations with those who they may be unfamiliar with.
How about a combination?
You always have the option of doing a little of this and a little of that. Just because you are having a buffet doesn’t mean you can’t have beautiful tablescapes with nice chargers, china, and glassware.
And if you have table service or family style, you might consider having a dessert table or beverage table so guests can mingle and help themselves.
Choosing the serving style is about the best way to accommodate your guests while maintaining the level of formality you would like your event to convey.