Reception Food and Pseudo-catering?

posted 3 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
Member
3519 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2012

@FutureMrsMCT:  I would start looking at local restaurants that cater.  We had an outdoor afternoon wedding and our BBQ lunch was $12pp and an additional $400 for 2 servers, a grill cook, and all of their rentals.  They did EVERYTHING, including cleaning up the drinks and dessert table that we provided.  Ask for pictures of their previous events so you know what level of service they can provide.  Sometimes even small places have extensive catering experience.

Post # 4
Member
1234 posts
Bumble bee

@FutureMrsMCT:  I like the pseudo-catering idea (maybe because that is what I’m considering). I think for that the best thing is a buffet, as it saves you the cost of wait staff. SO and I have discussed a nacho/taco bar that we cook ourselves and then hire a couple of college kids or temps to set up/clean up. All of the ingredients just need to be chopped/kept cold (bell peppers, onions), kept warm in a crock pot (cheese sauce), or cooked ahead/reheated (meat). Overall, an easy set up (obviously, there will be many more toppings to choose from). For dessert, we’d have fruit, baked goods, and wedding cake (it isn’t really nailed down yet), and for alcohol instead of a full open bar, offer beer, wine, and a couple of signature drinks (probably margaritas, and one or two others). Of course we aren’t engaged yet so these are just ideas we’re tossing around. 

We also considered a pasta bar or barbecue menu. The pasta bar would be a little more involved because thepasta has to be stored and prepared a certain way to prevent it from being sticky or mushy (I can provide extra details if needed). Then we’d offer an array of sauces, meats, and veggies such as mushrooms for toppings and let everyone make their own pasta dish. 

With a barbecue (or similar menu) we thought about having the main dish catered from a restaurant and making our own sides. Potato salad, cole slaw, or pasta salad can be made ahead and simply kept cold; baked beans or mac and cheese can be made and kept warm in a Crock Pot. 

The best advice I can offer is focus on foods that can be made (or at least prepped to cook) ahead of time. It will save a ton of stress the day of. If you google the term “growlies for groups” there is a wonderful website full of ideas for menus, with tips on how to cook and prepare it, present it, how much to make, etc. There are food ideas from full menus, to appetizers, sides, main dishes, and drinks. I think the url is lotsofinfo.tripod.com

Post # 5
Member
1981 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

@FutureMrsMCT:  my sister has a similar budget and she is doing a full meal! It’s totally do-able! Our family is from Hawaii, so she is having a tropical themed wedding (on a ranch in CA). She is getting catering through a Hawaiian food restaurant and a Chinese restaurant- she will have manapua, Kalua pork, chicken dishes, eggrolls, rice, and a dozen other things. She is renting or buying chafing dishes to keep the food warm. And one of her BMs is a high school teacher and she is hiring some of her high school kids to serve appetizers and keep the buffet food full/ nice/ warm.  These particular kids actually serve as waiters for some school fundraisers, so they have some experience. Plus her friend hires some of them to take care of her dogs when she is out of town so she knows and trusts them pretty well. I definitely worked as a server at a wedding in high school with a friend of mine- I didn’t even know the bride or groom- my friend just asked me to go with her bc they needed more people- and as a teen I was down to make extra cash. My point is you can get creative and make it work. It’s helpful that the Chinese and Hawaiian food is less expensive than the quotes she got for BBQ.  But BBQ is pretty cost effective (I have a friend whose parents catered a BBQ dinner for her wedding- so that’s another options). I helped a friend do a 25 year anniversary party for her parents and we did our own pasta bar- it was a very cost effective way to feed 100 people on a budget! I have another friend who hired a guy who showed up and cooked everything for a taco bar- that’s what she did for her dress rehearsal! It was fun, delicious, a little different, and very economical! I hope you find this helpful- you can totally do it!

Post # 6
Member
230 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

where are you located?

Post # 7
Member
127 posts
Blushing bee

I’ve very interested in people’s response to this because I’m considering doing the same thing!

Same budget, same set up!

I REALLY want to have my mother’s chicken mole and rice for our wedding, but definitely don’t want to have to serve it. It’d be nice to find a company that will do this for you.

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