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Is buffet a dirty word?

Updated: Aug 30, 2023

We’ve all been to a terrible buffet, and as a result of this, this style of menu has got a bad reputation! It can also be conceived as cheap and tacky.

The cons…

The truth is, buffets are always bad for one of two reasons:

  1. You have to queue in a line of 100 or more guests like school dinners. This is a bit of a mood-killer for the best of us, let alone for elderly guests or parents trying to keep young kids in check.

  2. A buffet may look great at the start when it’s all laid out and freshly set up, but if it’s a sloppy lasagna or curry type dish, by the time Table 7 or 8 gets a chance to be served, it’s all been a bit hacked up- or worse still, all the good stuff has run out. From experience, I have been stuck on table 8 a few times, and it sucks!!

These two factors combined can really ruin the meal and create a terrible experience for what should be the main component of the wedding reception.


The pros…

It’s a shame really, because at its best, the humble buffet can be a thing of beauty! It can have many really positive upsides, including:

  1. Nobody has to order their meal 6 months in advance (which is always annoying), and best of all, you and the wedding couple don’t have to spend ages chasing up guests for their meal choices and then a whole weekend compiling food pre-orders onto a spreadsheet for the caterers. In fact, you don’t need to tell the guests what the menu is at all. Simply ask for any allergies and dietary requirements.

  2. You can have a really interesting selection of food which makes for a fantastic display. Everyone gets to have as much as they want of whatever they want. No more fretting about whether all your guests will like the main course you have chosen, if they will find it too spicy, too fatty, too vegan, too whatever!

  3. It massively keeps the costs down. I’m sure you’ve probably realised that as with any type of catering, whether it’s a wedding meal or a sandwich in your local café, the price is mainly determined by the labour and staff costs rather than the food itself. You can get a really high quality buffet for a fraction of the price of a sit down meal purely by the fact that it requires much less staff to serve.


ren’s advice:

If you are on a budget (like everyone is, I promise you), you are wanting a relaxed and informal wedding meal, and you have a guest list of mainly friends (so you don’t feel guilty making them get off their butts to get their own food), I’d really recommend going for a buffet. You might even change a few preconceptions too!

Just make sure you avoid the problems I mentioned by:

  • Having your guests sit down before the meal is served. That way, the caterers can call up the guests one table at a time, so that nobody has to queue longer than the length of their table. When there is no system, that is when you get crazy long queues, and annoyed guests.

  • Making sure that all the dishes you select are individual items so that the buffet can be replenished throughout the meal and so it looks great even for Table 8!

  • Chat to the caterer to make sure there are separate options (not just one!) for guests with dietary requirements. Your veggie and vegan guests especially will love you for that!


With these couple of simple hacks and tips, you can have a fantastic wedding meal made by the same chefs, served by the same staff, and using the same quality ingredients as a wedding meal that would cost double or triple the price. You also get the advantage of having so many different flavours and options that your guests will be blown away, and you won’t have to end up going for the same bland old chicken dish everyone else has at weddings just so you don’t upset anyone.

For more tips and ideas on getting the best out of a buffet, please call any of our events team on 01903 213953.

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