Place setting at a table with a round card sitting vertically on the plate showing the menu to be served

Many people include a choice of meals on the RSVP cards. They let people choose their entrée ahead of time if they’re offering a plated meal at the wedding. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of meal selection via your RSVP cards and a few alternatives.

Benefits of Include a Meal Selection on RSVP Cards

If guests choose meals when they RSVP, you’ll know how many of each meal to request from the caterer. This can limit waste and lets people opt for the entrée that best suits their dietary requirements and tastes. Not every vendor will require a meal count. This makes it so including a meal selection on RSVP cards may not be necessary. These caterers allow people to choose at the table. However, this service is more expensive and makes the dinner service longer. It’s still a good idea to ask people to note any food allergies. Make sure they receive a meal they can safely consume.

Potential Considerations Involved With Including a Meal Selection on RSVP Cards

Someone will need to track who requested which meal. The place cards or escort cards need to show which meal the person chose. Otherwise, people may forget which option they picked by the time of the wedding. Then, some people might take the wrong meal and leave others with meals they didn’t choose. You may also need to allow for extra meals for people who come to the wedding without RSVPing. You may need to call people who didn’t RSVP to find out whether they’re coming. You’d probably want to do this anyway.

Alternative #1: A Buffet Meal

There’s no need to ask people about their meal choices with a buffet. Include options for those who are vegetarian or need gluten-free meals in the buffet selections. Just be sure to label everything so people know what it’s safe for them to eat. Include a note on the RSVP card asking people with allergies to notify you ahead of time. Keep allergy-friendly dishes separated from other dishes to help prevent cross-contamination. However, a buffet meal may cost more than a plated meal. The caterers must prepare extra food to make sure there’s enough of everything. This also isn’t an option typically used with more formal receptions. Having multiple fancy food stations could work in this situation.

Alternative #2: A Duet Entree

Another less common alternative comprises having a duet entrée. Instead of choosing, everyone gets a plate with a small amount of each entrée. This can look very elegant. It reduces the need to track entrée requests and prepare extra food. It is slightly more expensive than having a choice of entrees. Think surf and turf as one example. With everyone getting the same meal, service is faster.

Alternative #3: Home Style Service

With this style of service, servers bring each course to the table. People serve themselves the amount they would like. This is one of the more informal types of meals, but it encourages interaction between the guests seated together. As with buffets, be sure to have several options to suit different tastes and dietary needs.

Alternative #4: Heavy Hors d’oeuvres

Some people don’t offer a full meal, instead opting for lots of appetizers. There should be at least 7 to 9 different offerings. Three or four appetizers should be hot if you go this route. Offer plenty of each appetizer for people to eat their fill. People are often very hungry by the reception if it’s occurring at the dinner hour. This may be a better option for receptions taking place in between typical meal times. It may sound as if heavy hors d’oeuvres would be less expensive. However, some hors d’oeuvres can be quite time-consuming to prepare. This can add to the expense. This style of service encourages mingling instead of staying seated at a single table.

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