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Planning the Perfect Buffet for Your Next Event

Whether you're hosting a fundraiser, birthday party, wedding, or celebrating another special occasion, coming together with family, friends, and coworkers is always a blast. After weeks and months spent planning, finally enjoying the special event is always well worth it! If you're having trouble deciding on how you're going to serve the food, we highly suggest having a buffet. They're easy, the food stays warmer longer, and they are efficient. 

When planning your event's buffet, keep an open an open mind. Buffets are extremely customizable for all of your event needs and they can accomodate a large number of people in the easiest way possible. Here's how to plan the perfect buffet. 

Timeline

When it comes to buffets at an event, timing is everything. Always allow at least an hour for guests to arrive and mingle before serving appetizers. Once appetizers have been served, you can begin to orchestrate the buffet line to let guests know that food is being served. If you're also serving dessert, give guests an hour or two after eating their meal to enjoy the event before bringing out the sweets.

Food

  • Are your guests going to be sitting at tables after they get their food, or will they be eating while they stand or off their laps as they mingle? Depending on the eating process, you'll want to plan what food you will be serving accordingly. If their won't be many tables set up for guests to sit, avoid tough meats and opt for pasta dishes instead. Bite-sized finger and fork foods are also a great option.
  • If the event is more casual, opt to serve foods that can be served at room temperature if you don't have chafing dishes and servers available. To keep leftovers at a minimum, account for one extra serving per guest. 
  • Try to serve foods that are easy to cut and that you can prepare ahead of time. 

Seating

It's crucial to figure out the plan for seating before the guests arrive to avoid chaos. Here are some tips for making seating plans. 

  • There should always be one seat available, per guest. Even if they aren't all utilized, it's important for guests to know they don't have to balance their plates on their laps if they don't want to.
  • If the event is being held at a house, arrange furniture temporarily in different rooms of the house that accomodate small groups that want to participate in conversation before, during, and after they eat. If you have the space, having a place for people to set drinks while they eat is always a plus!

Set Up

Depending on the space you're having your event, setting up your buffet on a large surface such as a dining room table, kitchen counters, a sidebar, or a buffet table is the easiest option! By creating a buffer between each item, you'll be creating a comfortable environment for your guests to get food and slip in to grab seconds. Keep your bar area and food separate to allow for extra standing space and to avoid your guests feeling cramped.