If you want the traditional wedding theme, a formal dinner might be exactly what you’re looking for. Perhaps you want the classic sit-down meal to enjoy and appreciate all the time taken to celebrate the big day.
Planning a wedding today though has so many more options than in previous years. Some couples opt to forgo the formal wedding dinner entirely, whether it’s for cost, timing, or even personal bridal preference. Before excluding the formal dinner entirely, weigh the benefits of doing so first in conjunction with different options to choose instead.
Traditionally, the plated-style wedding dinner has been the go-to choice at most weddings. Wedding buffets are a second common option, often because they include more choice for guests and the ability to pick and choose portion sizes. The wedding dinner can also be passed over entirely for a cocktail reception. This elegant and stylish option allows for more mingling and chatting, as well as extra space now that seating is removed from the floorplan.
If you like the idea of a dinner but want to add an informal element, home-style sharing is a popular trend that caterers continue to see. It’s a welcoming alternative and soft reminder of dinners at home, providing a relaxed feel and a little more interaction between guests. For morning weddings, the brunch reception presents fun breakfast options with made-to-order items, such as omelettes and refreshing morning cocktails, such as mimosas and Caesars.
Regardless of what you choose, brides and grooms have a number of options instead of the sit-down dinner.
The formal wedding dinner brings classic elegance to mind as guests are served and presented each part of the meal. Everyone receives their food at the same time—in comparison to buffets, where tables are called out and people wait to go up. Some people aren’t fans of having to get their own food, and a served meal provides a relaxed atmosphere for guests to enjoy the meal, along with an overall feeling that the bride and groom went all out for their special night.
A formal wedding dinner can be easier to organize. A seated audience makes it easier to captivate guests for toasts and speeches, as everyone is predictably settled. The caterer has better food control and less guesswork when ordering food, as meals are previously decided and guests’ options are picked.
A formal sit-down dinner can incorporate other serving styles, such as home-style sharing. Have wait staff serve the main entrée, but place sides, such as salads, bread, and potatoes, individually on each table for guests to share among themselves.
Sit-down dinners can feel a bit stuffy, and they’re very limiting for guests. Menu options themselves are limited, and they require more thought and careful planning in regards to allergens and restrictions. Not everyone will enjoy the menu decided, but the majority has to, which can be difficult to account for when determining the size of the guest list.
The formal wedding dinner is a lengthy process, as it takes more time to bring out the food to each individual table. When more wait staff is needed to serve plates, take them away, and bring out each new dish, the cost increases. While the food cost may not be overly expensive, the price rises due to the number of servers needed.
These kinds of dinners often cut into the socializing aspect. With so much time spent sitting with the same people at the same table, guests may not have a chance to talk to everyone at the party.
Whatever decision you make for your wedding, you and your guests are sure to have an unforgettable night.