So, you’ve opted for a plated meal? Great choice! We love a perfectly plated dish There are a few more details that go into this type of meal service vs. a buffet, and we’re here to share all the details.
These are essential for successful service. Place cards should include the guest’s first + last name, their table number, and a meal indicator.
What’s a meal indicator?
This is usually an image or word on the place card that lets servers know which entree guests have chosen. These should be clearly marked and easily recognizable. Some of the easiest options are simply the first letter of the protein (B for Beef) or a cute little image like a cow, chicken, fish, etc.
Guests will pick up their card during cocktail hour and then place it at the head of their place setting.
*Pro tip – your caterer will also want a full seating list with guest’s names, table numbers, and meal choices. They’ll look this over prior to the event to ensure it matches the numbers of entrees order properly.
How do guests know what their meal options are?
It’s best to include the protein options on your invites. Don’t worry – if you haven’t selected your final menu when these go out, simply list something like Beef, Chicken, Fish, etc. It’s common for couples to offer a choice between two proteins and include a section to enter dietary restrictions. Think things like Gluten Free, Dairy Allergy, Vegetarian/Vegan, etc. When a guest RSVPs, they simply mark their entree choice on the reply card.
The Place Setting
Renting flatware? You’ll need a few specific items:
Dinner Knife (be sure to order steak knives if you’re serving this entree)
Serving a soup course? Don’t forget spoons!
*Pro tip – if you’re ordering flatware, we recommend ordering butter knives and dessert forks. This ensures all your flatware matches and looks cohesive in photos. Also consider ordering 15%-20% extra (someone is bound to drop a fork)
When it comes to china, you’ll want to keep plate covers in mind. These are a must as they allow the catering team to stack meals to deliver to your guests. If you’re not using the caterer’s provided china, you’ll want to rent plate covers that fit the china you’ve selected. The caterer’s covers will definitely fit their house china, but there’s no guarantee it will fit other plates.