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Wedding Place Setting + Functionality

Wedding Place Settings

Today I wanted to take a moment to talk about the all the pretty place setting photos you are seeing. As you know, there is soooo much variety out there, with some place settings simply having a napkin while others include 5 different plates. Now, why is that? Believe it or not, it's not simply for aesthetic purposes, instead, it's for functionality. The number of plates you have pre-set at each place setting needs to match the service type you have chosen. For example, if you are having a plated meal, it doesn't make sense to have 4 different stacked plates at each place settings. Your caterer would need to clear these as soon as your guests sat down and you would need to have another set of plates for your caterer to serve food on. Does that make sense? Now, let's dive into the details of what you need to keep in mind when considering creating that oh so pretty layered plate look for your wedding.

Plated Meal:

Since your caterer will be serving each guest a plate of food, it doesn't make sense to have plates stacked at each place setting. Your caterer would have to clear these immediately and they wouldn't be able to use them for the actual food service.

Maximum Plates: A Charger Plate and Bread and Butter Plate


For a buffet, your guests will be serving themselves and it's therefore okay for them to have a plate at their place setting. Since they will be taking their plate to the buffet, it won't make sense to have more than one plate set at each place setting. If you do want another small plate, ask your caterer if they can set rolls and butter at each table instead of at the buffet. This would allow you to add a small bread and butter plate to each place setting.

Maximum Plates: A charger plate, a dinner plate, and a bread and butter plate

Food Stations:

The idea behind food stations is to allow your guests to get up multiple times and enjoy different types of food. Because guests will be going to multiple stations, guests will use multiple plates and they will be smaller than a typical dinner plate. For this reason, it doesn't make sense to have actually plates set at your guest's place settings.

Maximum Plates: Charger and Bread + Butter Plate

Family Style:

If you are unfamiliar with family style, I want you to think Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's the ultimate interactive and 'sharing' style. Because guests are serving themselves and you can control the number of courses, you can get away with all the layers of plates you want! Keep in mind, that the number of plates will still need to match the number of courses you are serving.

Maximum Plates: All the layered plates

An Alternative

If you still love the idea of layering plates, but don't think it's going to work for your meal services, that's okay! Instead of providing layered place settings for ALL of your guests, just do it for your head table or sweetheart table. This way you get photos of your dream look, but it will save you money and will be functional.

Not sure where to start with your wedding? Don't worry, we've got you covered! Join thousands of other couples and grab your copy of our Ultimate Wedding Planning Guide!


San Diego Wedding Planners

Hey There! My name is Ashley McHone and I am the owner of Always Flawless Productions. I started this little biz nearly 10 years ago and am here to share alllll my wedding planning knowledge with you! ;)

Here at Always Flawless, we are a team of planners who want you to have fun planning your wedding! We want this entire journey to be stress free and we want you to enjoy a flawless wedding day. Trust me when I say, we are here to make all of that happen.


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