What The Fork?
Every wedding is subject to different needs influenced by venue, budget and taste. When perusing the brochure pages of wedding venues and catering companies, you may have noticed ‘finger buffet’ and ‘fork buffet’ menus cropping up from time to time. The difference between the two lies mainly in the level of service and type of food offered at your reception, and the manner in which guests are expected to receive and consume it.
Let’s start with the more well-known of the two; finger buffets. It’s highly likely that you have come across one of these at some point in your life! This type of catering is one that most couples leave for the evening celebrations, in addition to the earlier formal sit-down meal. They usually serve to feed the late-arriving evening guests (and perhaps some of the more capacious all-day guests too!). Largely depending on what time the main reception meal finishes, finger buffets are usually set up at any point between 7 and 10pm.
Finger buffets are informal, and as such, are set up either on a heated table, hotplate or sometimes an unheated surface for guests to help themselves. They consist of bite-size, often quick-to-make snack-type foods, such as spring rolls, sandwiches, bacon baps, chips and various salads.
Guests informally come and help themselves and usually don’t eat at pre-laid tables.
A rather more formal affair than finger buffets, fork buffets generally feature a more ambitious style of cuisine. Fork buffets are usually served as the main feature of the wedding reception, and can be enjoyed in a formal, sit-down manner.
A variety of main course and side dish combinations are separated out into attractive presentations, whether in chafing pans, on hotplates or just set out on a table. Fork buffets usually feature fewer individual items than finger buffets, but guests can nevertheless mix and match food types.
Guests will be invited up table by table, and will either bring a plate with them, or collect one from the buffet itself. Fork buffets are frequently manned with serving staff to assist or carve meat.
Advantages of fork buffets over formally-served plated meals?
A fork buffet will give your guests more choice over what they eat, which can immediately solve many dietary issues. But in terms of service offered, the ease of pre-ordered dishes being delivered to your guests’ tables may win out.
So there we have it! The differences between finger and fork buffets lie in their respective formality, and more subtle distinctions in the manner in which they are served. Fork buffets usually consist of a selection of main courses, whereas finger buffets generally feature snack-type food.