Am I crazy to self-cater?

posted 3 years ago in Food
Post # 3
1626 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

@lala3005:  We are only having 54 people, and we hired a caterer for a full meal at $17pp lol (yay self liquor license and bulk discount ordering!), so I am not in your shoes.

That said, where do you plan to cook this food? And store it? And when? Are you going to pre-make it and then warm it? Are you expecting people to have it freshly made the day of? That is a lot of work. Do you have that much fridge space between you? Who would be transporting it and setting it up? Would you cook it in batches? Would all three of you cook it (thus risking it tasting slightly different from each person)?

I feel like that would be too much of an undertaking for me, but if you are up to it and plan it well, I don’t see why you couldn’t do it.

Post # 4
2878 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I wouldn’t do it. Not worth the stress. 

Post # 5
2103 posts
Buzzing bee

@lala3005:  “My aunts and grandma also routinely cook for their church and recently did a graduation party for about 100

I’m not a grandmother (or even a mother) but I’d love to sit down and enjoy watching my granddaughter get married.

Would she be able to see the ceremony? They’d all have to either skip it or leave early to go start setting up for everything. 

Post # 6
9526 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

I don’t think it’s insane! It will take planning, but you can do it. But I would plan it so that you have no responsibility on the day of. Aunts and grandmas could help out the day before or early that morning. But you’re right that you’ll need someone not directly involved in the weddingot be in charge of food at the reception. You’ll also need someone to bus tables as most people aren’t used to bussing their own able at a wedding. And have you thought about drinks yet? So there are a fair number of things to do. Perhaps consider a DOC to help orgaize all this? And maybe hire some high schol kids to help with running and bussing and such?

Post # 7
2057 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014 - British Columbia

OP, if I was in your position, given budgetary constraints, I’d be looking at providing our own food too.

It will take a lot of meal planning, prep work and help coordination, but it is completely do-able. Oven and slow-cooker friendly recipes are your best go to. Example: pot roasts, turkey to feed many people. If you can make freezer-friendly meals like lasagna, that would be less stressful too.

Mac and Cheese is really easy; my version is:
Boiled noodles
Cheeses of your liking (different kinds)
Canned creamy cheddar soup

If you are looking into catering, you probably wouldn’t want to worry about the cake. Cake decorating on top of catering would be pretty stressful.

If you are looking to save money, you could also look into getting candles/desserts as centre-pieces.

ETA: Could you see if the venue you are renting will provide long tables to set up as a buffet-style? Buffet-style is great if you’d like your guests to mingle with one another before they sit down and eat.

Post # 8
8518 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2014

I dont think its completely ridiculous. My mom and her friends offered to cook for our wedding and we thought about it for a while, but ultimately decided not to go that route. We’re only having about 70 guests and we found a pretty cheap caterer, so it would be about the same price anyways. 

But yeah, if it would save $2000, I’d do it. I’d rather save that much money than be a bit stressed.

Post # 9
1234 posts
Bumble bee

Not crazy, especially since you’ve had so many offer to help. My only suggestion is this: DO AS MUCH AS YOU CAN AHEAD OF TIME!!! Go ahead and shred the chicken and pork; make the potato salad the night before; have the beans ready to throw in a crock pot. You will save sooo much stress if pretty much all that’s left is to warm the food up and put it out on the day of. Also, food safety. It may seem tempting to put out a huge pan of potato salad at once, but it may be safer to divide it into two batches and keep one in the fridge. Don’t let food sit. Look up “growlies” on google- there’s a wonderful website called something like “dayles growlies for groups” (the url is something like lotsofinfo.tripod) that is absolutely amazing. Everything from food/beverage amounts, recipes to feed 100 (most of which you can make ahead), food safety tips, menu ideas, buffet ideas. Even if you know your menu, check it out- it’s such a valuble resource!

Post # 11
4638 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

In a word YES! But, it really all depends on your personality and how many people you have to help. I’m anxious, so I wouldn’t be able to do it.. If you can handle it, go for it.

Post # 12
450 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

@lala3005:  My sister’s wedding was self-catered, and it was totally fine! She had the reception at my mom’s church, and several of my mom’s church friends volunteered to help with the buffet (switching out dishes into the chafing dishes, etc). They were happy to help out (and still got to enjoy a lot of the festivities). If you’ve already got volunteers (your friends’  moms who want to return a favor to you), then I think you’re golden!

Post # 13
308 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

I think you can do it as long as you stick to a regimented schedule as far as advance prep is concerned. As you have already said, you could make the baked beans ahead and reheat them in Crockpots, and I think you would be fine making the potato salad start to finish a day ahead. The only item that gives me pause is the macaroni and cheese – bechamel is pretty temperamental and once you have added the cheese, it does not take well to reheating or sitting around. Unless you do several large pans of baked macaroni and cheese, have the oven capacity to simultaneously reheat them all, and can serve them immediately, I would be cautious.

Post # 15
774 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

We bought all the food for our 150+ guest wedding. Our moms and some family members helped with the prep in the days leading up to the wedding and on the day of the wedding MIL had this awesome group of friends who took over the kitchen and set up the food. We had met with this group of ladies a few weeks before and talked about everything. Everything went incredibly smoothly! 

We served pulled pork and chicken salad sandwiches. We had the usual baked beans, potato salad, veggie trays and dip. I can’t remember what else but it was a lot of food and we had leftovers forever. 

We even saved enough on catering that we were able to rent a chocolate fountain from a local catering company. It came with all of the food to dip and a caterer to run it all night. 

I was very pleased that we did it ourselves. Good luck! Hope it turns out wonderfully!

Post # 16
1 posts
  • Wedding: June 2014

You have no idea how relieved I was to read this!!!!!! I have been battling with the idea of self catering too because I just cannot afford a caterer unless I cut the guest list down much further than Im comfortable with. Our venue holds 225 and though my MOH self catered her wedding of 300 people, I’ve still been wondering if Im crazy.

What I’m trying to do is keep it really simple by sticking with foods that just need to be heated. Ive been told about these frozen chicken kiev entrees they sell at Sam’s Club that are pretty good so I think we may try those. Im also considering lasagna as another option. Im trying to avoid a ton of prep (because I dont want this wedding to be extremely stressful for anybody helping me) while still being able to serve decent food.

As long as you’re extremely organized, I think you can definitely pull this off! Best of luck to you and thank you for letting me know that Im not alone 🙂

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