Post # 1
So, we’re doing a DW for 30 (all staying in one house) and I keep toying with the idea of self-catering it. It has an awesome kitchen (two ovens, two dishwashers, 6 ft fridge) and I love to cook. My best friend is telling me that I am out of my mind to add that pressure to my plate.
Affordable (For 30 people, I’m getting quotes upwards of $1,300)
Tasty (I’m a pretty good cook!)
I would add stress to my place
I would hate it if my family tried to pitch in to help and didn’t enjoy the reception.
Would you attempt it? If so..
What could I make that I could do a lot of the prep in advance?
(If I did this, I would hire 1-2 people to warm, serve, help with trash, etc)
Any wisdom or advice would be great!
Post # 3
So, FI cooked both our rehearsal dinner and day after brunch both of which were for about 30 people. He didn’t actually do the reception as we hired an excellent caterer (we had over 100 guests).
For the rehearsal he did prime rib, roasted potatoes, green beans and salad. He prepped alot of it before hand. He was able to golf with his buddies and relax that day, put the food in right before we left for the rehearsal and it was perfectly cooked when we got back about an hour later.
I know it’s not the same as cooking on your wedding day, but he did a fantastic job and it was just as good as what the caterer made.
ETA: If we had chosen to do a smaller wedding, less than 50 people, my FI would have catered it.
Post # 4
- Wedding: July 2012 - Baltimore Museum of Industry
What else are you planning on doing around the wedding? Meaning- are you doing DIY flowers? The cake? Doing a spa day, the day before? What else is going to be on your plate?
I think it’s possible- I was watching the Barefoot Contessa last night, and when she caters for small groups, she keeps it simple and small- maybe 4 things. So you could do 2 apps, a salad, entree and dessert. You could do lasagnas, casseroles, etc.- all the prep the day before, and just pop in the oven.
Would you have helpers the day before, as well?
Post # 5
I would do it, but I am nuts like that. If you were able to do stuff that you could have prepared ahead of time that wouldn’t be so bad and just have a couple family members help out. Like some aunts or something. My family would do something like this but I know it doesn’t work for everybody.
Post # 6
@rebwana: My mom is a florist so she’s taking care of that before we leave, the cupcakes which is outsourced. I will go to the spa the day of though but shouldn’t take me over 3 hours. Nothing else is on my plate except making sangria which takes 10 minutes.
I look her up and see some recipes. That’s a good idea!
As far as helpers, I know that all my friends and family will be eager to help but in addition I will hire 1-2 people to replenish, serve, warm, etc.
Post # 7
I wouldn’t. I’m looking to get rid of as much stress as possible prior to the wedding, not add to it!
Post # 8
I think it’s doable… just don’t get any food splatters on your dress! LOL
Post # 9
@happyface: That’s totally my luck. 🙂
Post # 10
We self catered for about 45 people, but DH and I both have a background in restaurants and catering. I think it comes down to what you want to serve. I would look for a menu that lets you prep ahead of time and heat and serve the day of. Things like soups that can be heated and served in a crockpot, lasagna, casseroles, baked chicken that can be heated in the oven are great ideas. You do all the cooking before hand and freeze the items so they can be heated up the day of. For “fresh items” like salad, veggie trays etc you may want to talk to your local grocery store. You can often get inexpensive trays for this and just transfer them to a pretty bowl or serving platter and serve. Basically you want minimal actual cooking to happen the day of, so it manageable.
Also some things to consider- Does the kitchen come stocked with pots, pans, etc? Does it have 30 dinner plates, glasses, silverware sets etc? Are there trash bags, dish soap, cleaners etc? Who will be washing dishes for this afterwards? At the end of the day you may be better off paying more for catering then dealing with the hassle of packing all the kitchen supplies you need, bringing them there, making the food, and cleaning up.
Post # 11
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
I personally wouldn’t because I wouldn’t want to add to my list of things to do that day. We compromised by using a local BBQ restaurant which sells party packs and trays of food which they will deliver to the reception site with butane to keep everything warm. It’s less than $12 a person. I did party packs for my rehearsal dinner for my first wedding and we were able to feed 30 people for under $200 from the same BBQ place (hence why they are catering my second wedding.) Local Italian restaurants usually sell trays of lasagna and chicken parm that serve 20 for under $30 a tray. I say check around the local restaurants for deals like that.
Post # 12
- Wedding: July 2012 - Baltimore Museum of Industry
You could also get the entrees ordered out- We were looking at trays from an Italian restaurant we love for our RD, and it was going to be very affordable.
Post # 13
I wouldn’t do the combination of a DW and self-catering.
Self-catering at home, where you know where everything is, have all the gadgets and tools, have all the china, know how everything works, know where the stores are, can start way in advance and fill your freezer, and etc. No problem, not even for 30 people.
Self-catering in an unfamiliar location where you don’t know the layout of the kitchen, have never worked in it, don’t know where gadgets and tools live or even what you have, don’t know if that knife is sharp or if the can opener works right, don’t know how fast the dishwasher cycles, don’t know where the stores are, and can’t get started till a few days in advance (if that) = fine for a dinner party of 6. Not a good idea for 30. Really bad idea for 30 when your first opportunity to work is just a couple of days before your wedding.
Post # 14
@nikkialys: Good point. I have no idea about cleaning/dishes/etc..
Post # 15
I self catered for about 100 people. But I had finger foods – tea sandwiches, cookies, cupcakes, fruit, veggies, fruit salads. I bought all the food, made the cookies, and made most of the salads. My mom and aunts cut up the fruits and veggies, and set up the reception food. My sister made the cupcakes.
Post # 16
- Wedding: December 2012 - Hacienda los Agaves
30? with my family that’s called sunday. My mom cooked her wedding food for about 70 people and said it was the best decision she made, however as I bride I really don’t think I need that extra stress, but it’s on you, only you know how much is in your plate and how comfortable you’ll be.
All in all 30 doesn’t sounds like a lot of people to me and if you’re a good cook go for it, it’ll be a very nice add on to say “oh yeah I made that”.