Some venues give you the option of having attendant-free stations, as a way to save some money, but let me warn you against that. Whatever the place charges for attendants, it’s worth it. Here’s why:
- Attendants make sure that the food displays stay perfect. There’s always that guest who knocks the sushi around with the tongs, messing up the precision-perfect rows, and leaving a mangled mess of handrolls that will not impress other guests. An attendant does the tong-work carefully and cleanly, and cleans up any bites that get smushed or smeared on the plate.
- Attendants deter greedy grabs. Here’s my Heinous Guest story (yes, I have lots of those, too!): At the sushi station, a guest used the tongs to grab the entire ball of wasabi and all the ginger. He must have had an iron stomach to down that wasabi, unless he thought it was guacamole, in which case his karma was going to get him quickly! With a smiling attendant there, no one is going to do as much of a greedy grab as they would from an unattended station.
- Attendants will answer guests’ questions about the food. You might have beautiful food ID cards, but the attendant can assure guests that the dish is gluten-free, or doesn’t have nuts, or is made with goat cheese, not Camembert. Guests enjoy the instant info, and enjoy more of the delicious elements of your menu.
- Attendants get rid of things that fall on, or fly into, the food. At an outdoor wedding, it’s quite common for gnats to love the mango salsa as much as the guests, and for bees to attack the pineapple cubes. Without an attendant there to remove invaders, a guest could grab a pineapple skewer that has a dead bee on it. In addition to insects, another common invader is falling flower petals, such as cherry blossom petals in the springtime.
- Attendants raise the elegance level. Especially if they’re wearing white gloves and spotless uniforms.
- Attendants keep the hot stuff hot. Some venues have rules about their station food: if a platter of zucchini sticks has been out for more than five minutes, it gets replaced by a fresh platter of hot, crunchy zucchini sticks. Each bite is, then, perfect for guests.
- Attendants help prevent injuries. If the wok is steaming hot, the attendant warns guests – and child guests – to steer clear, and serves the plate safely.
- Attendants serve attractive plates of food from each station. They’ll place the perfect amount of pasta on a plate, grate fresh Parmesan on it, and top it with a sprig of basil. They’ll place shrimp cocktail in an arranged trio, and do that gourmet thing with the sauce smear that’s very Top Chef.
- Attendants smile. At least we hope they do. Some of the top venues on New Jersey Bride’s ‘Love It’ list are known for having extremely friendly and eager-to-please attendants, which raises your wedding’s impression level to the greatest heights.
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