Once again we’d like to thank professional wedding & events planner Brandi Hamerstone for providing our readers with wedding planning tips! Brandi is the owner of All Events Planned and holds a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from the Pittsburgh Culinary Institute, so she is the perfect wedding planner to discuss dinner detail with! Today, Brandi gives us some food for thought on buffet menu options.
When deciding on how many items to have on the buffet you must consider the amount of time you have for the meal, how many guests you plan on having go through the buffet line, and if your caterer is willing to offer multiple choices. In my previous work for a catering company, buffet-style meals were decided on as you would decide on a plated meal:
- You should offer salad, possibly soup, a vegetable, starch and a meat.
- Rolls are always acceptable but can also be part of the table setup to allow for more space on the buffet and faster service.
- When choosing your meat selection, you should go with no more than three options.
- If you are having an extensive buffet with three entrée selections, then you must allow for a substantial amount of time for people to get through.
Three protein options are a red meat, white meat and a fish. This will typically cover the needs of each guest and the vegetarian group will have the option to load up on salad, vegetables and the starch. On average, clients will choose just two entrées and have a red meat and a white meat. Fish is always a sort of “wild card” in the catering world. Some guests love it and others may be turned off by the sight/smell of fish.
You will want to sit down with your fiancé and your caterer to get a feeling as to what options will work with your reception guests. Another good way to decide on options is to have a theme menu or allow the caterer to choose items that are in season.
If you are interested in a full buffet with lots of options, ask your caterer to make smaller portions of the entrée choices. Instead of a 9oz steak, have them offer a 4oz steak along with smaller portions of the other meats. This way, your guests will actually be able to sample all of the items but not end up wasting as much food. Try to keep in mind that with buffets, the more options you give, the more food people will put on their plate and the more money you will be spending.