Family or Sit Down Style Dinner vs Buffet Style at Indian Wedding
When planning a lavish Indian wedding in North America, couples want to provide their guests with a grand and luxurious experience. Hours are spent on details such as wedding stationery, wedding cards, fresh flowers, and gift baskets for guests. One common question brides have when seeking an exquisite experience for guests is whether to serve a sit-down dinner, family-style dinner, or buffet dinner.
From a guest experience point of view, a family-style dinner is definitely a more fine dining experience compared to guests standing in lines and pouring food before they sit back in their seats. Before proceeding, it is important to define the difference between these three dinner options:
What are 3 ways of serving guests at Indian Weddings?
- Family Style Dinner Service – For Indian weddings, the kitchen will bring in one or two bowls of each dish prepared, bread, and yogurt to your table. Salads and desserts can be plated and served to each guest.
- Sit-Down Dinner – In this dinner service, the kitchen will prepare a balanced meal and serve it plated to the guests. Only bread will be served per table, and the rest of the meal will be plated as per each guest’s request.
- Buffet Style Dinner – In this dinner service, food will be served in a buffet setting in one or two designated areas of the venue, and guests can serve themselves as needed.
In this blog, we will discuss the pros and cons of each service option for Indian weddings.
Family Style Dinner Pros for Indian Weddings
- Guests do not have to get up and stand in line, and food is served at their table. This way, there are no lineups at the buffet areas, and guests can enjoy more time and conversations at their tables.
- It is a more luxurious experience.
Family Style Dinner Cons for Indian Weddings
- 1 . Indian food may get cold when served in different bowls on each table.
2. Cost per guest may increase by $10-12 when choosing this option
3. Vegetarian and non-vegetarian guests may need to be seated separately, which may cause inconvenience.
4. Vegetarian or non-vegetarian food may end up on specific tables, which may not be ideal.
5. Food waste may increase by 30-40% as leftovers on one table cannot be served again
6. Food may get cold during family-style dinner as it has to be poured for each table 10-15 minutes before the guests sit down.
7 The wedding reception timeline may need to be adjusted as the dance floor will need to be shut down during the dinner service
8. Assigned seating will be necessary for vendors.
9. Photographers and videographers may need to have their service extended to cover the end of the wedding reception as the dance floor will be closed during dinner service
10. Indian weddings often run late, and adjusting the dinner timeline can be logistically challenging as the kitchen will need to reheat all the food if the timeline is pushed back
Sit-Down Dinner Cons for Indian Weddings
- 1. Orders for each guest need to be obtained beforehand.
- 2. Guests may change their order on the day, and the kitchen may or may not be able to accommodate them.
- 3. This style of plated dinner only works for non-Indian food as Indian food cannot be plated.
- 4. The dance floor has to be closed off during service time.
- 5 Couples need to obtain information from their wedding vendors before the event and in most cases, provide vendor tables.
Buffet Style Pros and Cons for Indian Weddings
- 1. The cost per guest for weddings is about $10 to $12 less as the service cost reduces.
- 2. Indian food is relatively warmer and stays fresh in this style of dinner.
- 3. Guests are free to mingle around while they are going to their food.
- 4. Food waste is 30% less in this style of dinner for Indian weddings.
- 5. Guests may need to stand in line to get food and refills
Cons of Buffet Style for Indian Wedding
It is not as luxurious an experience as family style or sit-down plated dinner
How to Enhance the Buffet Experience for Your Guests at Indian Weddings
There are several ways to make the buffet experience more enjoyable for guests at Indian weddings:
- 1. Use two different areas for buffets: If possible, request your venue to have buffets served in two different areas of the reception venue. That way, it can distribute the guests and avoid long queues near the food when the buffet station opens. If you have food set up in two different areas of the venue, the guests can be easily divided into two different parts of the venue. This works great for Indian weddings with over 300-400 guests.
- Partial service: If you wish, you can always ask your venue to have some service assigned table to table for naans and bread. Another good way is to use a service cart with refills that can be passed around each table so guests don’t have to go for a second time.
- Call table numbers: Some couples choose to open the buffet and have their DJ, emcee, or planner announce table numbers to proceed to the buffet. That way, you can avoid long queues at the buffet station. In this type of service, you will most likely need to turn down the dance floor and loud music so guests can hear their table numbers called out.
- Food stations and dessert tables: You can also enhance the buffet experience by having different food stations or dessert tables with a variety of options. This can make the experience more interactive and enjoyable
Indian weddings offer a delicious and flavorful dining experience that is renowned worldwide. The lavish celebrations place great emphasis on food, and in our experience, buffet service is the most practical option. This style is logistically manageable and can easily adapt to any unexpected delays in the timeline. Furthermore, Indian wedding food tends to taste its best when served buffet-style.
It is important to note, however, that as wedding photographers, we only offer our personal experience and insights from Indian weddings. Your wedding planner, venue, and catering company may have their own unique ideas and preferences regarding the style of food service that will work best for your event.
Check out our blog on Indian wedding catering options in GTA – Click here and here is link to one of the finest Indian wedding caters – Click here