Does a buffet style dinner count as catering?

The wedding venue I was looking at doesn’t allow outside catering but do you think that means I can’t bring in my own food for a buffet style dining where guests serve themselves?


Yes,it means you have to use their food provider.

A Hunch

A buffet is how the food is served. It has nothing to do with who makes the food. Who makes the food is considered "catering". You cannot bring your own food into this venue.

g: That's exactly what it means

That's exactly what it means: catering = food, dear.


Catering refers to who does the food and drink. So that does include a buffet or even just canapés and a cake. For one thing, it means more revenue for the site, not to mention they do not have to deal with a lot of unknown people handling their equipment and supplies. You have to go with whoever they use.


Yes, it means you can't bring in outside food.

Common Sense

Catering is the delivery of pre made food to a location where it is not prepared or cooked. So, yes, any food you bring into the venue would be considered as catering. Food profits are the way the venues make their money. They supply the food or they would not make any money from the event. If you wish to bring your own food and cater your own party, then find a place that accepts outside food. Usually a VFW, an American Legion, Sports and Game Club a local park/pavillion or similar places would accept an outside food source be brought in for your event. The way most venues work are much like a restaurant. You go there to eat their food. Just like you cannot bring in your own chicken breast into a restaurant to have a chef prepare it and cook it for you. There may be venues you can rent but would have to have a licensed caterer who has certification in food safety expertise. This protects the venue from "serving" foods that may be contaminated due to improper handling.


It means that if there's food, you have to get it from them. That's how these venue's make their money, by selling food.


This means you can not bring in any kind of food or drink. They must be provided by the venue. This is rather standard


Any food not supplied by the venue is considered outside catering, regardless of the meal type and many venues offer both buffet and plated meals. If your venue doesn't allow outside catering and you bring it in, they can shut down your event as you've breached the contract. Catering is a big chunk of their business and where they make the most revenue. Reception or event venues often do not allow outside catering. Places like halls that let you rent the facility usually do allow you to bring in your own catering. That can be a catch 22 though, their upfront costs may be cheaper but many require you to hire a security guard if you're serving alcohol (and more than one depending on how many guests you have) and also a professional bartender (someone who will know when to stop serving someone). They also quite limit what you can do decorating wise (things like battery operated lights only). They may also require a professional cleaning crew. A reception/event venue generally provides all of that in their fee. After paying all the extra stuff, plus food you may be paying just as much, if not more than a reception/event venue. It really will depend on how much the caterer charges per person (it's per person whether it's plated or buffet). As far as making the food yourself, unless you're actually a caterer that's all around a bad idea. A professional caterer has liability insurance in the event someone becomes sick from the food, it's to cover medical expenses and anything that might come with that (like being sued), they have people to stock the food, they know how to keep it at temperature (hot/cold), they have someone to serve the food. In my state you have to be certified to serve food at a public event (this is considered one). You will be too busy to do all of that. While you can ask friends/family to do it, at that point they're working for you.. they're not able to enjoy the event then. If the catering is expensive and you're inviting kids... ask about kids pricing. Most venues and catering companies charge per head, not the ages of the head. Most have kids pricing but won't tell you because they make more charging you the same thing for a kid that they will an adult when they won't eat half as much. Many even have a separate menu for kids, foods kids will actually eat. We invited kids to our wedding and they had a separate menu. There's also usually a separate bar package for drinkers vs non drinkers.


it means you cannot bring food in from another source other than the venue.


Yes it counts. It's all about liability. That's why most venues refuse outside food, sometimes even including the wedding cake.


Yes, "no outside catering" means you must use the catering service the venue uses (and likely gets a huge kickback from).


Yes. That usually means that you cannot bring in any food from any source at all. You need to speak with the venue manager.


You need to ask your venue contact if that violates their rules.


it does not mean this


No outside catering means no outside food, even you cook it yourself. If that isn't what you want, look for someplace else.


Yes, it does. My wedding dinner was buffet-style (and actually provided by a caterer). It doesn't matter who makes it, if it's not food prepared by the venue staff, it's outside catering.


You may bring your own food. They don't allow "outside catering".. meaning if you are having the meal catered, it must be through the venue.




No, a venue certainly won't allow you to bring in homemade food if they do not allow "outside catering." Homemade food has even more health risks than catered food. If a venue says "No outside catering," then it means you are obligated to use their in-house caterer. It has nothing to do with homemade vs another caterer/restaurant, or buffet vs. waiter-served. "Catering" is WHO provides the food, not what kind of food or how the food is presented. If you don't like this agreement, fine, but then you need to find another menu that allows you to use the catering service of your choice or bring in your own food. Read all the rules and ask your questions before you sign a contract.


Buffet style would be find if you got the food from the venue. Outside catering means any food from the outside. Plated or buffet. Homemade or cater.




You will have to ask that particular venue establishment about that -- only they know what their rules are.


Ask the venue, no one on here can give an accurate answer because we dont know the venues specific guidelines.


A buffet style dinner and catering are two different things. You can have a buffet style dinner without catering, and you can have catering without a buffet style dinner. They can be joined if the caterer gives a buffet style dinner. Catering is when a company prepares and serves a dinner at a venue, like a wedding, and they prepare the room, the invitations, etc., too. A buffet style dinner is just the type of dinner served, as opposed to Mexican food, seafood, one plate meal, two plate meal, appetizers, etc. You can always ask the caterer to serve a buffet style dinner. I never heard of anyone having a caterer do that type of dinner. But, you can always ask.


If there is some reason you have to bring your own food, then do it and eat it. Not sure why you have to go to the buffet area if you have your own food with you

Just Mopar



You will need to talk to the place about what kind of food would be allowed and how the set up would be. I would think a buffet style would be fine but its their facility.


Maybe yes

Moya can be cheaper as well