If you want to be generous when it comes to food, or if you don’t want to hire many wait staff, a buffet table setting is ideal for you. There are actually three ways to go buffet. According to Town & Country Elegant Entertaining, these are standing, partially seated, or fully seated buffet arrangements.
Standing buffet is also known as lap service. This is the most common and the most casual of the three types of buffet table setting. Here, guests will have to help themselves with the plates and the silverware, which are usually wrapped in napkins. “The dining room is usually where the food is served. Guests meanwhile don’t dine here; they could freely move around the other parts of the home, where they can enjoy chit-chats with other guests,” explains Anthony Franco of Better Cater, a leading catering software company. Guests have the liberty to stand or feel comfortable on a couch or sofa while eating–indeed, everything is casual and informal. Guests could place their food on their lap or on nearby surfaces. While it could be awkward at times, a standing buffet actually provides everyone with a luxurious feel and the freedom to choose a dinner or companion. In short, they can relax and feel at home while enjoying the meal. Menus are usually dishes which require fork only. Desserts come in a wide array, usually passed on trays and are accompanied by cocktail napkins.
Partially seated buffet
Partially seated buffets meanwhile involve the addition of make-do seating, small tables, and chairs scattered around the venue. Rental companies provide round tables or bistro tables for this purpose. A rule of thumb here is to offer seating for at least 30 percent of the guests. Once you over do it, you leave an impression that you have unintentionally left the other guests unseated. Tables are not set and sparsely decorated and menus are fork-only with the plates and silverware stacked. Again, guests will have to help themselves. Desserts could be served either buffet style or prepared on plates already.
Fully seated buffet parties are considered the most formal of the three styles. Each guest must have a seat. Tables are well-decorated and cards are placed to inform guests that the seat is reserved for someone. But compared to a formal, seated dinner, guests will have to go to the buffet table to get the food. Salads and desserts, meanwhile, are plated and are served by the staff. Since every guest has a place to sit and formal dinnerware is needed, the menu is not limited to fork-only menus.