Can Guests Ask for Seconds at Dinner?

Etiquette, Food & Drink, Planning Tips

Wedding menus aren't what they used to be. Dry chicken and bland, soggy vegetables are a thing of the past, replaced by gourmet meals that represent the couple's tastes and experiences. Who wouldn't love to celebrate with perfectly seared elk loin or the groom's grandmother's meatballs, served family-style? And with food that tasty, it's hard not to want more — but can guests ask for seconds? Our experts weigh in.

It might be tempting, but the short answer is no. "Think about the last time you ordered a meal at a restaurant," says Leslie LaSorsa, catering director at Crave Catering in Austin. "You wouldn't ask for a second serving in that scenario, and it wouldn't be proper etiquette to do that at a wedding, either."

Your caterer will probably have a few extra entrees on-hand as a precaution, in case an extra guest arrives or someone changes their menu selection. "However, those additional plates are prepared as back-up, and aren't intended to be served to guests who have already received a meal," LaSorsa explains.

"We have had guests ask for seconds, but it's extremely rare," she continues. "If you've planned well and have ample offerings during cocktail hour and as part of the dinner service, guests should have plenty to eat throughout the evening." If a guest really insists, protocol is for the server to remove the guest's plate and provide an additional serving on a clean plate.

If you're serving a meal family-style, you might wonder what happens if one of the dishes runs out. "In that case, we normally provide platters with more servings than each guest will take, but we do have additional food in the back, should something run out at the table," says LaSorsa. So there should be more than enough to go around, but if the mushroom risotto is just too good to be true, there should be some extra available.

See more: 6 Cool Food Trucks for Your Wedding Reception

When it comes to your budget, don't worry. "As long as you're hiring a caterer who is well established and has experience working with your guest count, you shouldn't have to worry about the quantity of food," LaSorsa says. "The only time you should worry about having enough food to feed your guests is if the pricing seems too good to be true [which means they may not be able to provide enough food for what you're paying] or if there are reviews that suggest the caterer has run out of food during past events."

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