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Venue Styling for a Buffet or Sit Down Reception

When it comes to venue styling for weddings, one of the most important questions we ask couples is ‘are you having a sit-down reception or a buffet?’ This may seem like a strange question, but actually, it can have an effect on the way your venue is decorated. Your wedding breakfast is one of the highlights of the day for many people, and so you need to decide whether you are doing the traditional formal sit-down dinner, or you are instead going to have a more relaxed buffet or even canapes and cocktails.

You may be struggling to decide which one is best for your wedding, so in this article, we will look at the pro’s and cons of each to help you decide.


Gives you the option of serving a wider menu choice than a formal meal does, meaning your guests can help themselves to exactly the food they want to eat.

You can still include an element of the formal dining style, by seating guests at tables after they have helped themselves to the buffet.

Having a buffet where guests help themselves, means you will save on serving staff, and this can reduce the cost of your wedding quite considerably

Buffets are ideal for summer weddings as you could go for a more informal BBQ with lots of salad options which gives a wonderful visual impact. You could even build on this by incorporating outdoor tables, chairs and floor cushions into your wedding as well.

Buffets are a great way to get your guests to mingle so are a good idea if the majority of your guests are already acquainted.

If money is tight, you can opt for a canape or finger buffet reception instead which is a less expensive option than a seated dinner, and also removes the need for large tables and chairs as well.

Formal Sit Down Meal

This is the more traditional option so is perfect for a more formal occasion

Having a formal meal with a set table plan is good for an event where not everyone knows each other as you can then place people together with other people that they already know.

Having a buffet generally means that people will have to queue which can give rise to a little bit of stress. Having a formal sit down meal means that people are generally more relaxed throughout as they don’t have to move from their tables.

Having a sit-down meal is also a better option for more elderly guests as they won’t relish the idea of juggling a plate, cutlery and a glass which they will have to do at a buffet.

A formal wedding breakfast means that you are in control of the food that is served and the portion size, meaning everyone gets an equal amount (you always get that one person at a buffet who helps themselves to more than they should!)

At the end of the day, whether you go for a sit-down meal or a buffet, we can still decorate your room with beautiful linen and centrepieces that will make everyone go wow! For more information, please give us a call on 0800 830 3000 (tel), 07580 333 000 (mobile) or you can send us an email to hello@thevenuestylist.com