Is it a good idea to have your loved ones preselecting their reception meals or not?
Credit: Katie Stoops

Chicken or fish: It's the age-old question posed to reception guests. Friends and family expect to have to choose a meal option at the reception, but what happens when it pops up on the RSVP card? Along with any affirmative response as to whether or not you're coming to the wedding, the couple may expect you to select your meal preference. Often, it's a choice of two (children's meals are separate) but it could also be three options (meat, fish, vegetarian). As the couple, is it worth asking your wedding guests to note their dinner choice on your RSVP card? Consider these pros and cons before you decide.

Pro: Less Waste

By knowing well in advance roughly how many of each entrée to prepare, your caterer can purchase exactly how much they'll need of everything. These means less wasted food overall, which will save you money.

Con: It Can Throw Off the Caterer's Counts

If you didn't mark up the place cards and enough guests don't remember which meal they RSVP'ed for and pick a different one at the reception, it will throw off the caterer's count. That means people who actually requested a vegetarian meal may not get one, or you won't get to dig into that delicious chicken you were looking forward to.

Pro: Guests Have Time to Think

Preselecting meals ensures guests will get to eat something they like. When choosing at the reception, they're often left with little or no time to make a decision. Asking in advance gives them a moment to think about which choice they'd prefer.

Con: Too Far Out

Although selecting a meal on the RSVP card gives guests time to think, how much does it really matter? After all, does anyone really know what they'll want to eat four weeks from now? Even if they do mark their preference, they may change their mind by the time the big day comes.

Pro: Efficient Meal Service

There's nothing worse than half the table receiving their meals and the other half waiting to eat. If you mark each place card with a different color representing which food the guest requested, the waiters will be able to serve everyone more quickly.


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