• Tash Heyder

Come Dine with Me! How to Choose Your Reception Dinner.

There are several options for your reception dinner, all with their own pros and cons. However, at the end of the day, you need to choose the one that fits best for the style and theme you're going for to suit the rest of the evening. Some prefer sit down dinners with alternate drop dishes, while others want a super casual affair, with constant roaming canapés and few live stations.

Kent + Leilani | Terralogical

Im going to break down the main dining experiences you can have at your event, and which ones I think are best for each scenario.

Sit down

This is the classic wedding option. In Bali, it usually comes as an option of entree and main, or entree main and dessert. They are served at the table in rounds, and clients can usually choose two options in each category to serve their guests. These options are then served as an alternate drop.

It is also possible to offer your guests a free choice of a shortlist menu chosen by you, but unless you and your guests are super efficient and organised, this can be stressful and time consuming as final dishes and seating charts will need to have been done a lot sooner than normal.

I usually recommend this type of dining for clients who want to follow a more classic format when it comes to their wedding. It suits small weddings right up to around the 80pax mark. I say this because the dishes will need to come out at the same time, so the kitchen will need to have everything prepped at the same time as well as the space to do so. The last thing you want is for one table to just be receiving their entrees while another has already finished and waiting on their mains.

One thing to note, because you usually have to wait until everyone finishes a dish before it gets cleared, this can take time, particularly for larger parties so it will eat into (no pun intended hah!) your party and drinking time.

Nick + Jessica | Diktat Photography


Now I'm sure most of you conjure up those ugly silver bain-marie's in your mind as soon as you hear the word "buffet", but I assure you, they've come a long way since the '60s.

Buffet set ups are so creative now and nearly all caterers can provide you with multiple options so that it suits your decor and theme. From clean lines and white linens to thatched mini stalls serving the food in clay pots. There really are so many choices.

Buffets are great for large weddings. You can separate the stations so that there isn't one massive queue to the food, instead spreading the guests around and creating space. You have six to ten dishes available all at once and can take only what you like and don't like, and you can take as much or as little as you want as they are replenished on the spot.

For smaller weddings I wouldn't recommend this. There's just too much food and it'll end up going to waste.

Kent + Leilani | Terralogical


Cocktail style dining has become increasingly popular over the years, with more and more couples wanting less formality, and more party time.

The concept of a cocktail menu is basically a large selection of canapes being handed around from the time the ceremony ends until about 8pm. Then one or two food stations open up for those who are more hungry or need a bit more to line the belly. Food stations are often cooked live and can include noodles, tacos, satay carts...the list goes on.

These are great for any size wedding, but probably best for those who have a younger invite list. Many parents and grandparents do prefer sitting at a table with a plate and meal served to them. It's also more comfortable for them than sitting on floor cushions or stools.

If you have quite a lively bunch invited to your wedding, who are always on the go, then this would be the option for you. Quick bites as the drinks flow, then a noodle box half way through the night to fill up the drunk munchies.

Adam + Monique | Evermotion Photography

Family/Feasting Style

Personally, this is my favourite type of dining.

This is a bit like a buffet, but at the table. However its also like a sit down menu, as the dishes are served in order, from entrees, to mains to dessert. Each table is given the various options of entrees that the couple have chosen, often about three, and enough is served so that everyone at the table will be able to have a taste. Once entree is done, the plates are removed and replaced with all the mains that the couple have chosen, and this often comprises of about five or six dishes.

This is perfect for those couples who have friends and family arriving from all over the world who may not have met yet. It's a great ice breaker and encourages people to chat and mingle more as they pass the various dishes around to each other.

It does cost a little more than buffets, but it's well worth it in my opinion. One thing to remember though...because all the dishes are served in the middle of the table, you'll have to be more restricted in your table decor choice and abundance due to space restrictions. But it makes room for getting more creative with overhead decor instead!

Rupert + Junie | The Outdoor Escape Photography


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