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How To Set Up The Buffet Table
At Your Wedding Reception

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How to set up the buffet table at your wedding to avoid your guests having to wait too long for food or even worse run out of food.

  1. The first thing to think about is how the guests are going to come up to the buffet table, at most weddings the top table or wedding party will go up first and then each table will come up. Think about where the buffet table is located and how your guests will approach the table.
  2. If you have a large wedding party it could be a good idea to mirror the buffet table, in other words have two starting points with all of the choices laid out the same either side. Some weddings I have helped organize have used two buffet tables on either side of the room as there were so many guests. Or if you are tight for space think about having an oval table where your guests can walk round the table, if you go for this option make sure it is obvious where you start.
  3. Next think about whether you want the guests tables to be set up with cutlery or if it is more informal will you need the cutlery at the buffet table? If you choose to have the cutlery at the buffet table it is worth rolling the cutlery in a napkin. If you use paper napkins wet the end of the napkin when you have rolled it and this will keep the cutlery all 'stuck' together.
  4. Another thing to think about is whether you will have different courses on the buffet table, starter and mains can get easily mixed up on people's plates.
  5. When you have thought about how to set up the buffet table at your wedding it is worth writing the plan of the buffet table or even drawing it.

Wedding Buffet Table Plan

wedding buffet plan

Start with the plates, then the salads, bread and vegetables for your guests to fill their plates. Follow with the main dishes.

This may seem like a back to front way of doing things but if your guests fill their plates with the cheaper items, you won't need as much of the mains. I have seen so many buffets where the guests have filled their plates with the expensive meats and left very little space for the salad/vegetables. It all ends up piled on top of each other.

If you have pasta with sauce dishes then you will need to have the pasta first and then the sauce. All you need to think about is the order that people will eat their food.

After the food have your condiments; mustard, salad dressings, tomato sauce, mayonnaise.

Don't forget to have serving cutlery too!

Decorating Your Buffet Table

Photo by Eli Christman

When you plan your buffet table you may want to think about decoration. Easy ways to make it look more interesting are to put boxes under the table cloth which you could then put a dish on. Fruit and flowers are a great way to decorate the table and ivy or ribbons on the front of the table are a cheap way to decorate.

Using big mirrors (any mirror will do as long as it is clean)you can display cold meats or seafood and fish, add a few decorative leaves and you have your focal point on your buffet table.

If you plan to have the desserts on the same buffet table after the main courses it is worth having spare table cloths, nothing worse than a splattered buffet table with beautiful desserts.

All you have to think about when designing how to set up the buffet table at your wedding is how your guests will walk through. Put yourselves in their shoes and work out the easiest way to lay out the buffet table. If you can avoid people back tracking then it helps get your guests served more quickly.

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