Wednesday, November 26, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Stand Up Against the Sit-Down

By
January 20, 2011 |

By Bev Bennett

CTW Features

It’s not easy planning and pricing a menu. Seated meals incur wait-staff costs, buffet and family-style dinners pile on added food costs. What’s right for you? Here’s a look at the benefits and drawbacks of your food options

Your family is in perpetual motion. They’re going to hug or shake hands with everyone at your wedding reception – being tethered to a table wouldn’t sit well with them. You’re also thinking about frail relatives. How can you make them wade through a buffet line?

As you’re discovering, selecting the appropriate food service is just as important as the food itself at your wedding celebration. Your decision will depend on the venue, your guest list and menu.

Budget is also a factor, and costs will vary with your choice. However, you may discover that what you assume is the most economical option isn’t necessarily so.

Before you take a stand – or a seat – on food service, here’s what to consider.

Sit-Down Dinner

Serenity is being assured everyone has a seat and a full plate, without the discomfort of juggling plates and glasses. That’s the advantage of a sit-down meal.

What you may not know is that this luxurious treatment maybe be less pricey than a buffet, according to caterers (see sidebar).

“There’s a perception that a buffet is cheaper, but it’s not, because you’re serving a greater quantity of food,” says Daniel Briones, president of the National Association of Catering Executives.

Unlike a buffet where some guests may heap their plates, everyone at a sit-down dinner receives a set portion. Caterers compensate for heavy buffet eaters by making more food available, which you have to pay for.

Bar service is often less costly, as well, since you can control how much wine is poured at the tables.

When selecting this sophisticated service, caterers say your best menu bets are the ever-popular beef tenderloin and/or lobster.

Drawbacks: Some guests will undermine the seating arrangements to get their preferred spot.

Family-Style Dinner

If you enjoy informality, but want your guests to eat in comfort, passing platters of food at the table may be the answer.

It’s the middle ground between a buffet and being served by the wait staff.

“In family style service, you can control portions better than a buffet,” says Briones, who is director of catering at the Four Seasons Hotel in Philadelphia.

“You’re also giving guests a little more variety than one specific item,” he adds.

Best food bets: Italian, Southern with chicken and greens, or Asian, according to Briones.

“Anything that will sit well on a buffet would translate well onto a family-style menu,” he says.

Drawbacks: Some guests may not want to serve themselves. Some caterers provide wait staff, but that adds to the cost.

Family-style requires large, clear tables. If the settings include a centerpiece and several glasses for each guest, there might not be room for the platters, according to Briones.

Buffet

You may have visions of unattractive chafing dishes, heaps of steamed food and restless guests at a buffet.

Forget them.

Buffets have appeal, says Michael Lamando of Amici’s Catered Cuisine in Tampa Bay, Fla.

“If you are social and want your families to mingle, buffets are a good way to do it.” Presentation makes all the difference.

“You want greenery, flowers, pillars and accent materials that match the bridesmaids’ dresses,” Lamando says.

Hide chafing dishes with glass blocks and set the dishes at varying heights to escape the look of an all-you-can-eat chain restaurant.

Best food bets: Salads, coated or crusted fish that doesn’t dry out, Italian dishes.

Indian food, which is a hot trend in wedding fare, works well in buffets, too. “People like to take a little of a lot of different things; different curries,” says Angie Kemp, director of catering at The Dana on Mission Bay in San Diego.

Drawbacks: Buffet trays need to be refilled frequently so the food remains bountiful and appetizing.

Guests may not want to stand in line.

Stations

Serve up adventure and personal stories when you feature a range of food stops, or stations, each with a different culinary selection.

Stations can reflect your heritage, say regional Italian cuisine, or how you met, maybe food from a vacation in Japan.

Although similar to buffets, stations are spread out. Each station has its own style, says Liene Stevens, owner of Blue Orchid Designs in Scottsdale, Ariz. This suits her clients’ interests in ethnic fare.

Best food bets: Asian, such as Chinese pot stickers and Japanese sushi are favorites among Stevens’ couples. In Tampa, Lamando’s guests prefer pasta stations. “Guest choose their own pasta and sauce with a variety of toppings including shrimp, chicken, sausage and scallops, Lamando says.

Drawbacks: You’ll need a large room to accommodate the bar and separate food areas.

Hybrids

Marry the best of different styles for the reception that suits you.

For example, seat guests for the salad and entrée but provide stations for dessert.

“You want to get people up and moving around,” says Kemp.

A new combination may satisfy your guests.

“It’s a station with food that’s already plated in small portions. For example, you can have one plate with grits and sea bass and another with filet with mashed potatoes – all small bites,” Kemp says.

(c) CTW Features

Comments

Subscription Required

Thank you for reading the MtDemocrat.com digital edition. In order to continue reading this story please choose one of the following options.

Current Subscribers
If you are a current subscriber and wish to obtain access to MtDemocrat.com, please select the Subscriber Verification option below. If you already have a login, please select "Login" at the lower right corner of this box.

Subscriber Verification

Special Introductory Offer
For a short time we will be offering a discount to those who call us in order to obtain access to MtDemocrat.com and start your print subscription. Our customer support team will be standing by Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm to assist you.

Call and Save! (530) 344-5000

If you are not a current subscriber and wish not to take advantage of our special introductory offer, please select the $12 monthly option below to obtain access to MtDemocrat.com and start your online subscription

Help?
  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    News

     
    Heard over the back fence: Christmas Parade is Dec. 7

    By Bob Billingsley | From Page: B1

    Meals driven to the elderly

    By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1

     
    Turkey in the straw becomes dinner on the holiday table

    By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    SLT woman dies after hitting retaining wall

    By Cole Mayer | From Page: A3

    Thanksgiving closures

    By Democrat Staff | From Page: A3

     
    Man arrested in custody case

    By Cole Mayer | From Page: A3

    Union Cemetery on Bee Street vandalized again

    By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    .

    Opinion

    The Democratic Chronicles: Poor, poor Mr. Alger

    By Gene Altshuler | From Page: A4

     
    The first Thanksgiving proclamation

    By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

    My turn: Prevent the holiday bulge — 10 healthy eating tips

    By Special to the Democrat | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Letters

    Republicans in charge

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

     
    Nothing to hide?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

    Wisdom from the singer Donovan

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

     
    State AG attacking miners

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

    Are we done now?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

     
    Plastic bag challenge farce

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

    Common Core, Chapter 2: The ‘New Math’ again…

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

     
    Mikulaco Village

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

    Unhappy with McClintock

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

     
    .

    Sports

    Resort openings and tips for skiing attire

    By Jeffrey Weidel | From Page: A6

     
    Chaz Smith brings home gold medal

    By Special to the Democrat | From Page: A6

    First and goal: ‘Out of line’

    By Mike Bush | From Page: A6

     
    Winter leaves quite a legacy

    By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A7

    Roundup: Nov. 25, 2014

    By Democrat Staff | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Prospecting

    Light up the night in Placerville

    By Wendy Schultz | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    At a glance: Riding around the county

    By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B2

    Nicholas Effect has far reaching impacts

    By Wendy Schultz | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    Life as I know it: Paper mills and a GI loan

    By Robert F. Boggus | From Page: B3

    El Dorado County libraries — so much more than books

    By El Dorado County Office of Education | From Page: B3

     
    Federated Church to commemorate World AIDS Day

    By Federated Church | From Page: B4

    Grow For It! How to be a lazy gardener

    By Deborah Nicolls | From Page: B4

     
    .

    Essentials

    Divorces: Sept. 11-Oct. 30, 2014

    By Charlotte Sanchez-Kosa | From Page: A2

     
    DUI Log: Oct. 24 – Nov. 19

    By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

    Weahter stats 11-25-14

    By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Nicolas Kyle Prather

    By Contributor | From Page: A2

     
    .

    Real Estate

    .

    Comics

    Flying McCoys

    By Contributor | From Page: A8

     
    Speed Bump

    By Contributor | From Page: A8

    Tundra

    By Contributor | From Page: A8

     
    Horoscope, Thursday, November 27, 2014

    By Contributor | From Page: A8

    Horoscope, Wednesday, November 26, 2014

    By Contributor | From Page: A8

     
    TV Listings

    By Contributor | From Page: A8

    Shoe

    By Contributor | From Page: A8

     
    Sudoku

    By Contributor | From Page: A8

    Rubes

    By Contributor | From Page: A8

     
    New York Times Crossword

    By Contributor | From Page: A8

    Long Story Short

    By Contributor | From Page: A8