People on the West Coast seem to be notoriously ill-mannered when it comes to responses to wedding invitations. I have found that approximately 75% of guests invited will attend, whether or not the wedding party receives the corresponding RSVP. Some brides will put the word “only” on the outside of the invitation envelope to discourage bringing an uninvited guest. Others send out an invitation with the phrase “We will miss you if you cannot RSVP by ______” and suggest a date that will allow for time to communicate effectively with the caterer. Other bridal parties rely on the telephone and the internet to track the guest numbers more accurately. Buffets are readily stretchable and it is not imperative to have an exact headcount.
We will coordinate with the master of ceremonies or DJ to announce the buffet. It is typical to have the bride and groom start the buffet followed by the wedding party, then the family members.
Buffet Etiquette “Do’s”:
- Use common sense to determine whether you should retain your plate or ask for a new one.
- If there are still clean plates remaining on the buffet, you can help yourself to another.
- Even though people will be sitting down to eat at different times, it is polite to keep pace with others.
- If you need to leave your seat and are not finished with your plate, place your napkin on your chair. Wait to put your napkin back on the table until you are leaving for good and are completely finished.
- If you are attending a stand up buffet or a cocktail party, avoid overloading your plate so that you can circulate as well as maintain your balance. Keep your plate in your left hand so that your right hand will be available for handshakes.
Buffet Etiquette “Don't's”:
- If a dish is in short supply go easy on it.
- It is acceptable to ask to have a dish replenished at a hotel or restaurant, it is not proper at a private party.
- It is not considered proper etiquette to overload your plate or to take food back for others at your table.
- It is not proper to go back for seconds until after everyone has been served.
- Needless to say, it is not proper to cut into the buffet line.
- Never scrape or stack your plates at the table when you are finished.
- Remember that social meals, parties and receptions are occasions where good manners are paramount.
- Do not take food from the buffet before the line is open.
- Do not take more food than is reasonable.