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Colin Cowie's Tips For a Perfect Wedding Dinner

Buffet or Sit-Down Dinner? It's Your Call!

Editor's note: The following is a guest post written by Colin Cowie, wedding planner and lifestyle guru. Today Colin discusses wedding dinner options.

Not every wedding dinner needs to be served with guests seated at round tables of ten or twelve. Consider buffet-style or a combination of buffet-style and sit down. No one says it has to be one or the other. In fact, the combination actually works well; if you have the first course served and the plates are cleared table by table, guests can make their way to the buffet for their next course; naturally minimizing any possible food lines.

To see what else he has to say about buffets, keep reading.


If you are set on having the entire celebration a buffet, at minimum be sure the buffet has a protein (meat, chicken or fish) and a few side dishes, which include a vegetable (salad or veggies) and a carbohydrate. The table should look abundant . . . that doesn't mean putting fish and meat on the same table in order to fill the space; do it with flowers and candles instead.

Meat and fish have distinctly different flavors that shouldn't be mixed, especially if you consider any complimentary sauce that may go with each. If you are having a buffet, separate the meat section from the fish section with florals. You'll need double the vegetables and carbohydrates, but at least the main attraction won't be ruined!

It's up to you to ensure your guests dine on a well-thought-out menu. As we have all seen before at a buffet, inevitably someone piles everything a mile high on one plate.

There is nothing glamorous seeing one of your guests doing a balancing act across room. Do not let it happen. Instead of using a 12-inch dinner plate, use an 8-inch luncheon plate. The smaller plate will encourage guests to enjoy each dish as intended with its appropriate combination of sides. Also, if there are different food stations, each with a different offering, smaller plates will encourage guest to check out what else is being served.

How did you serve your wedding dinner? Share with us below! To get more of Colin's wonderful wedding recommendations, sign up for his newsletter, Colin Cowie Wedding Notes.

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Spectra Spectra 5 years
We had a sit-down dinner because it was a little cheaper. Since we didn't have a ton of guests, it worked out fine. We had a lot of finger-foods and plenty of cake and booze, so everyone was fine with it. The problem with buffets is that some people are greedy and take WAY more than they should and they don't leave any for anyone else.
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