(Closed) DIY catering??

posted 9 years ago in DIY
Post # 3
Member
147 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

We thought about it but then realized we were totally stressing about it so decided not to.  Once the idea came to mind to have a local Italian eatery provide lasagna and pasta, we felt MUCH better!!  We are going to have someone put out apps we get from Costco (cheese platters, etc) and are having Boves Lasagna, Manicotti, and Pasta / Meatballs.  At $4.95/person WITH salad and bread, we couldn’t go wrong!  We are getting the chafing dishes / sternos / banquet supplies / 2 waitstaff from my uncle who owns a restaurant.  So yeah… we were totally thinking about DIY food but we realized it was going to be too stressful so compromised with this other option.

Post # 4
Member
4 posts
Wannabee
  • Wedding: October 2009

I’m going to self cater my own reception and wedding events, but my situation’s a little different.  I have a culinary background, a small guest list (hopefully 50), and a rustic/casual theme.  What kind of reception are you having (formal, casual, day time, evening)?

I strongly suggest keeping it simple and within your regular cooking abilities.  Some cost cutting options could be:

-Making boxed lunches–here more variety in sandwiches is both do-able and inexpensive

-Buying only the entrees pre-made/catered, and make the sides and salad yourself 

-Pot luck (depends on the vibe and guests)

-All pre-made appetizers/h’or dourves–phyllo dough stuffed with spinach and cheese, satays, meatballs, bread, olives, cheeses, fruit, dips, spreads…. Choosing things that can be served cold or room temperature is less maintainance than things that must be kept hot, which may degrade in quality as the meal goes on.  Also avoid things that are fried or hot & crispy (become soggy from steam).

-Taco bar.  Set out fixings (chicken or beef could be in crock pots or chafing dishes over sternos) and let your guests make their own.  Put hard taco shells under a heat lamp (often attached to a wooden cutting board) to keep warm and crunchy.

 Also, if you’re doing buffet style, remember to have lots of extra plates (never reuse dirty plates!) and more than one food station to prevent long lines.  Having multiple stations all over your venue can also encourage mingling.

Don’t forget to consider the costs of rentals and any hired servers/food maintainers, which may cause your "per head" costs to change as well.

Post # 5
Member
5273 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2009

We thought about it for a quick second, but then realized it wasn’t going to be the best idea for our 100 person guest list. As a suggestion, we found our caterer from an add on craigslist and I found that due to the economy many caterers that are advertising on craigslist really need business so they are much more affordable. Another suggestion would go to Whole Foods or other grocery stores, because their catering is more budget friendly as well. Our limit was $12 per person, but we ended up getting ours for $7 per person!

Post # 6
Member
2293 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

A combination of DIY catering and potluck is really the norm in my family, and the food is always great.  But I have aunts and cousins who are really talented cooks.  If you are going to DIY the catering, I would strongly suggest that you rent a professional kitchen – if you are having the reception in a church hall, you can usually use theirs – and professional cookware.  Making food for 150 is much easier in pans and ovens designed to cook for that many than it is in your own kitchen, and if you don’t have to transport the food it makes everything much, much easier.

Post # 8
Member
2725 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

Our families overwhelmingly volunteered to do the food. At first we were hesitant because we want them to relax and enjoy the party. But we’ve come up with a menu that can be prepared ahead of time. And we are probably going to pay 1 or 2 people from the local restaurant/bar we frequent to help set up and keep things in the kitchen going. So far on the menu is a ham, lasagna (I’ll make my homemade family sauce recipe over the summer and freeze it), hot turkey sandwiches, a vegetable, salad, fruit salad, and cookies. We are having about 100 people. We want simple, good food. We aren’t fancy schmancy people so our menu works for us. The cake is the only thing we are going to have catered.

Post # 9
Member
161 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: December 2009

we are doing a faijta/taco bar.  My dad did this for my brother’s rehearsal dinner and so he feels confident doing it for our home wedding as well.  We are going to buy the rice and beans from our favorite local resturant, and most of the "fixings" are cold, so really we just have to do the meat. 

Post # 10
Member
2205 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

Have you ever seen the blog This Young House?

They DIYed their catering and it looked delicious, and totally fun for those involved!  Depends on the atmosphere and formality you’re looking for, but good luck!

Post # 11
Member
234 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

While I am going to DIY my cake and cookie favors I realized that I have to let go of the food.  We are NOT serving a meal, just finger foods, so I might enlist someone to heat everything up and set it out.  I also found a company that I have used many times for our company luncheons and he does amazing things for 100 people for under $1000.  I’m still up in the air with how we will do it.  My guy is looking to feed everyone, but I’m way too budget savy to spend $30 on a meal for everyone. 

Post # 12
Member
1022 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

At this point we haven’t decided. We are considering a semi-catered event with catering of hors d’oeuvres and then doing our own lasagna.  At my sister’s wedding my family did all of the food themselves. They said that while it was easier on the pocketbook, they really felt bad for those that spent a good deal of the reception in the kitchen.  If we decide to make our own food we will probably hire a couple of people to heat up the food and serve it.   

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