How to Host a Successful Buffet {Friday Foods}

2014 Apr 11 - by Shriya
Indian weddings are known for their bright colors, family goodness, and of course - amazing food selections at the reception! Many couples opt to have a buffet-style reception just so they can serve more delicious dishes and offer an irresistible dessert buffet to their guests.

There are many perks to having a buffet-style dinner after the wedding ceremonies - but there's still a lot more precise planning to be done and decisions to be made! Here are some handy tips to keep in mind when organizing your wedding buffet:

{via Modern Luxury Weddings Show at The Ritz Carlton}

1. Don't Play It Cool

{via Alok and Venu's California Wedding}

The biggest risk with a buffet-style dinner is that food won't be evenly heated as it sits out for up to a few hours as guests serve themselves. Fortunately, caterers have this covered easily by having warming vessels to place trays in - but for smaller appetizers that may not come with these devices, tea candles (similar to what you might use in a fondue) would do the trick.

It's important that your carefully selected menu items get the hot and proper treatment they deserve in order to be thoroughly enjoyed!

2. Timing is Everything

{via Victoria & Mandeep's Buccolic Swedish Wedding}

Without a waiting staff or formal setting to schedule each course of the meal, a buffet reception will have to time itself. Make sure you allocate enough time in your festivities to account for guests mingling, chatting, but still enjoying their meals and eating to their hearts content!

It's best to plan speeches, dances, games, etc. after most guests have already served themselves, so they can be seated and pay attention to what's going on. It's even easier to schedule such events after the guests have sat down with dessert as they are less likely (read: too full!) to get up for seconds. Of course, you should expect some movement around the buffet table regardless.

3. Arrange Wisely

{via Victoria & Mandeep's Buccolic Swedish Wedding}

The placement of each buffet item is very critical to its success! For example, if you place too many appetizers and small bites in the front of the buffet line, guests will be tempted to fill their plates with those foods instead of loading up on the main dishes.

My advice would be to organize the dishes logically: a few small items first, followed by main dishes, followed by accompaniments such as rice and naans (you don't want the naans to get soggy if grabbed first and forced to soak underneath subsequent heapings of subji!). It's best to leave condiments such as chutneys and dahi towards the end so they don't mix around as easily and guests can season to their liking.

Your caterer will be a huge help in setting up the buffet table, but make sure you outline and check the final layout yourself too!

4. Cleanliness Control

{via Alok and Venu's California Wedding}

You can't expect to have a perfectly clean white tablecloth at the end of a buffet dinner, of course, but you can have your cleanup plan ready to go after the inevitable spills and messes here and there.

Make sure your guests have a place to leave dirty plates and utensils, whether it is a trash can for disposables or a bin for silverware. These should be easily accessible to each table so that misplaced utensils don't force you and the catering staff to play a not-so-fun game of treasure hunt later!

Also, provide LOTS of napkins - spills are inevitable when that many people are loading up their limited space of plate with heaps of delicious food! It might also be best to use a tablecloth that is easy to toss in the washing machine and isn't that precious to you (stay away from silk!)

5. Food, Food, Food!

{via 31 South Asian-Western Fusion Ideas}

At the end of the reception dinner, your guests are going to remember the good times they had with friends and family and the tasty food they enjoyed - so make it count!

When selecting dishes to offer at the buffet, use the format to your advantage - you can choose multiple subjis and dals to offer guests! However, take care not to be redundant. You don't really need 5 types of naan and only 2 subjis, and you probably don't need to serve both paneer makhani and palak paneer. Keep your dishes diverse in terms of vegetables, meat, and main ingredients so that every guest can find something to his/her liking.

And also keep in mind your own favorites - after all, it's your wedding and you can literally have your cake and eat it too!

Buffet-style receptions are a stairway to heaven of sorts in that each delicious step brings you closer to one amazing meal. Choose your food wisely, plan ahead, and most of all, get excited for the yummy goodness that is to come!

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