Post # 1
We had booked our caterer a while back with plans of obviously using them for our wedding. We had a change in our budget and are now trying to cut things out to make the day more affordable.
We are considering making our own food for the wedding to save on catering costs. Close family, friends and neighbors have offered to help with the prep work and we would plan on hiring a few people to help with the buffet line. We were thinking possibly grilled chicken with caesar salad and a few other sides or something along those lines, trying to still make it a little on the classy side. We are getting married at a barn so it would kind of work with the atmosphere.
Any advice on DIY food, the menu or tips for doing it?
Post # 3
As long as everyone is on the same page as to who is doing what, it can work! That’s what we’re doing 🙂 – We’re doing BBQ pork, chicken salad, pasta salad, baked beans, etc. Kind of picnic-y food, but still for a nice elegant dinner (theme = elegant country).
You can get great deals online/through Sam’s Club for clear, heavy plastic cutlery, cups, plates, etc too!
Post # 4
We are DIY’ing our food but we hired a family friend, who is a chef, to deal with the food on the day of. Our menu consists of meat/salmon for bbq’ing, lots of salads (potato, greens, coleslaw), mac n cheese (can be made ahead of time), and lots of other stuff. All of it can be made ahead of time, and simply put together on site by the hired chef. We have also nixed anything that really needed to be cooked onsite (except the meat and fish on the bbq) or needed to be kept warm for a long time. The mac n cheese might be the only tricky thing, but we have family a 2 minute drive from the venue who I think would let us use their oven.
I think the key is to have a not so fancy menu if you are planning on catering your own wedding, and designing the menu on the equipment and space you’ll have available. If you can find someone to run the show on the day of, even if you prep all the food beforehand, it will still take a huge burden off your relatives.
Post # 5
I would definitely try to plan your meal based around things that can be prepped ahead of time. A friend of the family had a wedding with a hot main dish, and then the side dishes were a wide variety of cold salads- tomato mozzarella, greek salad, toss salad, pasta salad, etc. She had a bunch of friends get together 2 days before the wedding to prep the salads (though I may be more comfortable with the day before).
I would also price shop around, because, sometimes you can buy things pre made that are actually not that much more expensive than buying all the individual ingredients. Sometimes the cost savings is not worth your time & stress (I found this particularly in the case of desserts- we got half of ours from Heinens, and half of ours from the bakery that supplies Aladdin’s desserts).
Finally, in addition to running the buffet line, you will need people to bus, serve champagne, cut cake, run bar, and all the other responsibilities that usually fall on the caterer. We actually found that hiring a caterer who came with all the equipment & would do all these things for us was cheaper than the sum of all the parts, so to speak. We chose to do appetizers, desserts, and drinks on our own, because I felt I could do them cheaper than the caterer was offering, but the meal itself was actually close in cost to what it would have cost me to do it myself. Our caterer only charged $15 pp, though, so it really depends what’s available in your area.
Post # 6
We’re having a laid back “pre-ception” before we leave for our private DW/HM. We are having a pretty expensive cake though that we are ordering from a fancy bakery.
We’re DIY-ing ours. This is our menu and who is doing what:
Ham- My mom & me
Turkey- My mom & Aunt 1
Pasta- Aunt 2
Scallopped Potatoes-Aunt 1
Green Beans- FI’s mom
Fruit Tray- My mom
Veggie Tray- My mom
Rolls- Aunt 1
Iced Tea- Me
Definitely didn’t turn out to be as cheap as we thought it was going to be lol! The ham and turkey will be around $300. I have never purchased one of these before so I was at the grocery store last week and was like “really? a ham is 50 freaking dollars” lol! But it is what it is. There would be no other way for us to feed 100 ppl under $500 so it works for us.
Post # 7
I don’t have much to pitch in opinion-wise but since I’m considering doing this too, I’d like to know how it works out for everyone. Has anyone done this before? Any regrets?
Post # 8
We’re trying to do something similar to keep the costs down, and since all our guests are ‘unofficial family’ and very laid-back, we’ve asked them (in our invites) to bring a dish to share instead of gifts. We’re supplying a couple of large antipasto (assorted Italian meats, cheeses & olives, etc) platters, roasted eggplant, zucchini, red peppers & summer squash, along with bruschetta. Those, I’m getting catered & picking up the afternoon before the wedding. I’m making caprese skewers (grape tomatoes w/mozzarella balls, drizzled with basil & olive oil) & picking up a few fresh fruit platters from Sam’s club the night before. One friend is making the cake, a mutual friend is frosting it, and I’m putting fresh flowers on it for decoration. The only thing that’s really special are the four jumbo sugar-free cupcakes we’re having for our family members who can’t eat sugar.
Having the whole thing potluck-style works out great, especially since we have friends there who are vegans, vegetarians and diabetics as well as several who have assorted food allergies. This way, everyone can bring something they’re comfortablel eating, and EVERYONE gets to go home with full bellies. *smiles*
Post # 9
I thought about DIY-ing the food but I just didn’t want to deal with the hassle. I cook for large groups all the time (upwards of 60 people) for events like Thanksgiving, Christmas, b-day parties. I love to entertain and I love to cook.
My only advice is try and make the menu moslty room temp friendly…meaning does not need to be hot or cold to taste great. Undressed salads come to mind. Or even pasta type salads and dishes. If you are having the grilled chicken, get a food warmer for the day (or 2) to serve the chicken nice and warm.