How to Stay Civilized at a Wedding Buffet

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What is it about a wedding buffet that turns well-mannered guests into slathering cavemen? Are they itching to unleash their primal instincts on the prime rib? Assert their alpha status by getting in line first? Whatever makes people get primitive at wedding buffets, there is a way to eat like a civilized human being, by following these five buffet etiquette tips:

  1. Pace yourself. Now is not the time to show off your competitive-eating aspirations! It’s OK to try a little of everything in the buffet, but your arms should not be shuddering under the weight of your plate. So exercise some self-control on your first go-round to make sure everyone can try the chicken tetrazzini. You can always get seconds after everyone has had a chance to get firsts.

  3. Wait your turn. Most emcees release tables in a designated order, beginning with the bridal party. They do this to avoid an unsightly stampede to the buffet table. And depending on where you sat and how long the toasts were, your rumbling stomach might be waiting a long time. But that’s no excuse to cut into the line before your turn. (And it’s not like you can hide being the only person at your table with food.)

  5. Hold your utensils in your left hand. Tuck your fork and napkin under the plate in your left hand, so your right hand can do the serving. (This also means you never take your drink to the buffet line.) It’s faster than having to pick them up and put them down at every station.

  7. Don’t eat in the line. It’s unsightly and unsanitary to eat from your plate while you’re going through the buffet line. Yes, Uncle Lou’s speech didn’t help your starving stomach, but you can wait another five minutes, right?

  9. Come back for dessert. As a general rule, you should never carry more than one plate through the buffet line. So load up on entrees and sides on your first pass, and come back for a clean plate and dessert.

Next time you see a buffet line, hold tight to your modern manners and save the caveman for the dance floor!

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