How To Decide Between A Buffet Or A Formal Meal For Your Wedding Day

After working hard on the menu for your wedding reception, you must decide how you will deliver the meals to your guests. Do you prefer a formal three-course meal or a wedding buffet with a variety of options? The decision depends on many factors, including your wedding style and the number of guests. 

A wedding buffet and a formal three-course meal are the two most popular sorts of meal settings that people think of when planning a wedding. Each has its pros and cons, which is why we decided to write this article and help you out.

Glendale wedding catering services can also help you choose between a buffet and a formal meal, but you can read the information below to have at least a basic idea about them. 

How To Decide Between A Buffet Or A Formal Meal For Your Wedding Day In Arizona

Why Should You Use A Formal Meal?

A three-course formal meal or sit-down dinner is a dining experience with pauses between courses. Formal meals require a chair for every guest with individual menus, a server for the table, centerpieces, and table numbers. While buffets make every guest get their plate before serving food, formal meals require them to ask for the food while sitting at the table.

Depending on the type of wedding, you can add chargers, stemware, and servers for beverages. Unlike wedding buffets that do not have numerated seats, guests are pre-selected, so they have to sit at their designated table numbers. Plus, they receive a certain portion of food for every course.

A sit-down meal setting is a perfect option for a traditional wedding, especially if you don’t want everyone to make a mess around a table. With a formal meal, your guests can relax and be served comfortably. This way, you can have better control of food and ensure it will be enough for your guests based on the headcount.

With a Peoria wedding catering company, you won’t have to worry about food running out. Professional caterers will calculate details carefully to ensure you make your guests happy.

You can fit other parts of your reception into this type of meal, including the first dance, speeches, and more. A formal meal setting makes your big day more luxurious compared to a wedding buffet reception. 

Pros & Cons Of Formal Meals


  • Formal meals are the most classic serving method, so they offer timeless elegance and a formal setting. 
  • It is the best option for traditional weddings.
  • You will have a more efficient event space. Your guests won’t have to congregate around the buffet because they will be seated waiting for their plates. 
  • You can have more time management with a formal meal. Toasts, first dances, or special speeches between salad and entree can keep the party going smoothly.


  • A formal meal is generally more expensive than a buffet.
  • It can be difficult to serve all your guests if there isn’t enough staff.
  • As the name implies, a formal meal means a formal setting, so you must be careful with the food choices. You need a lot of help from the Paradise Valley corporate catering services to make no mistakes. 

Why Should You Use A Buffet?

A wedding buffet is a meal setting with different types of food placed on a line of tables. These tables are located within a walking distance of your guests’ seats and tables. This setting allows your guests to stand up and head to the table to pick their delicacies across the buffet line. 

Your guests can go back and forth to eat their favorite food choices. You can set up a buffet for the main course, although you can include desserts or entrées too. 

Wedding buffets allow guests to select from a variety of food options. You can decide the theme for your buffet depending on your wedding because you don’t need the extreme formality that formal meals require. 

A buffet is an excellent alternative for informal weddings because it requires fewer wait staff. Plus, the food requires less effort. 

Pros & Cons Of Wedding Buffets


  • Wedding buffets offer a wide range of dishes.
  • Buffets create a relaxed atmosphere, allowing visitors to meet and mingle while choosing their meals.
  • A buffet offers a stunning display, so you can talk to your Phoenix wedding catering company to make it a focal point for your wedding location.
  • You will have a lot of food, so your guests won’t be hungry at any time. 


  • Guests can take more food than they need, leading to costly expenses.
  • You may need a bigger reception area to avoid long lines.
  • It has organizational difficulties, so it is not as elegant as wedding buffets. 

Contact Tempe Catering Services For Better Help

If you need more help choosing between a wedding buffet or a formal meal, contact AZ Inspirations Catering. We are a full-service catering company that offers everything you need to make your special event an unforgettable experience. Call us or visit our website for more information. 

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Arizona Inspirations Catering 
2400 W Medtronic Way Suite 2
Tempe, AZ 85281
Phone: 480-241-7621
Email: [email protected]