(Closed) Caterer or DIY food?

posted 6 years ago in Food
Post # 2
2953 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

View original reply
Shanekstedt1524:  I think the best way to approach this is to get 3 catering quotes for a backyard BBQ. Here’s why:

1. You’ll get an idea of menu and you can use that info that to price your own DIY menu.

2. You’ll get a price alongside the fare and be able to compare costs to offered items to see if you can DIY it for the same price or less.

3. The price you get may be inline with your budget and you may decide to hand the task off to the caterer.

Post # 3
252 posts
Helper bee

We had talked to 2 different caterers, and for the price of JUST the food, it was going to be about $4000, which is riduculous IMO. We ended up doing most of it ourselves, but family members did a lot of the cooking, and we hired 2 kids from the local tech school to heat up the food that day.

We had a pig roast, with lots of sides and cupcakes, cookies, and cheesecake bites for dessert.

Pig was $350 for a fully cooked pig, we just had to pick it up, cut it up, and bring back the metal container that it came in. My brother cut the pig up for us, and DH picked it up and returned it.

Mashed potatoes – we bought 40lbs of potatoes at the store, plus butter and milk…and had a family friend make them the day before. Then had the hired help heat them up before it was time to eat. So…what? $60, MAYBE?

Vegetables – we had 1 big tin of corn and 1 big tin of greenbeans. We bought frozen at the store, and just had the hire help steam/boil them before eating. Cheap, we’ll say $20

Beans – My aunt made these on her own and brought them

Salad – Bought 4 – 5 heads of lettuce, veggies, and some powdered italian salad dressing. Had the hired help wash and assemble the salad, then add the dressing right before serving. About $30

Mac Salad – Mother-In-Law made this for us, just had to supply the pasta, mayo, and veggies. $25

Mac & Cheese – mom boiled the pasta the day before, just supplied the hired help with the butter, cheese, and milk for melting/mixing/heating up before dinner $50 (it was velveeta cheese, so a little more expensive)

Rolls & Cookies – Ordered at our local grocery store 2 weeks before, picked up that morning. $150

Cheesecake Bites – DH’s cousin volunteered to make them. No cost to us.

Cupcakes – My Maid/Matron of Honor made these for us, just had to supply the ingredients. Mom had flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda/powder already, so we didnt need to buy that. Just had to buy butter, milk, and the cupcake papers that I wanted. Ended up costing us about $50

We gave the hired help $200 a peice, so $400.


In total, we spent about $1200 on all of the food and the help, AND I had what I wanted. That price is kind of on the high side, but its a heck of a lot better than $4000 that I was quoted. FYI – we planned on about 125 people. And there was enough food, and some left over (which we brought on our honeymoon, haha!)

Post # 4
316 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

We priced caterers and got between $3000-$4000 quote for 150 guests and BBQ style.  That was crazy to me so I decided to check out restaurants.  BBQ restaurants I found would cater for about $12 a person average.  Then I found out Olive Garden has their parties to go menu which works out to be about $10 a person.  As of right now we are doing that and doing family style since OG does not actually cater.


Post # 5
203 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

I chose to cater because getting that all set up on my day was not something I wanted to stress about. For around $3300 I get set up take down servers plates silverware napkins and no stress for 130 people.

Post # 6
1413 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

Have you looked into just getting the meat catered and preparing/buying and setting up the side dishes yourself? Cooking meat for 150 people sounds difficult with just a regular kitchen, but preparing things like potato salad, rolls, etc. wouldn’t be too bad. 

Post # 7
833 posts
Busy bee

To me it’s worth it to get it catered just not to have to worry about the stress of making/getting everything and then cleaning up the aftermath. You can actually relax and enjoy the process instead of keeping everyone in the kitchen for days to prep. I order catered lunches all the time for my work and most BBQ places are pretty reasonable, if you do the full meal option with meat & sides they usually provide sweet tea (we’re in the south), the plates, plasticware, garbage bags and will deliver and set up on whatever tables you provide. It’s usually $10-15 per person for two types of meat, sandwich buns, two sides, a salad and cornbread or biscuits which really isn’t bad if it’s set up buffet style and all you have to do is toss the aluminum pans at the end of the night.

Post # 8
417 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

Oh hellz no. I’m not making that much food before the wedding. I’d gladly pay money for some else to do it. Caterers shouldn’t charge much for bbq. Also, if you know a good bbq place near by, you can ask if they cater. Most restaurants do that now (at least where I live). Restaurants are cheaper caterers that pro caterers.

  • This reply was modified 6 years, 3 months ago by kisa15.
Post # 9
6331 posts
Bee Keeper

DH thought about doing our own BBQ for our small wedding, but I reminded him that we needed to spend time with our guests rather than with the grill. Compared to other types of catered foods, catered BBQ can be pretty inexpensive, and the additional service is priceless. 

Post # 10
1821 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

View original reply
Shanekstedt1524:  DIY is only great for decorations but not for food. Do youself a favor and leave it to the professionals and hire a caterer. 

Post # 11
2165 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: NJ

You have to really know how to cook for 100+ people, and have experience, to DIY. Otherwise it is better to give it to caterers, who have the equipment needed.

The wedding I was Maid/Matron of Honor in years ago, the Groom and his mother did all the food. They know how to do it, but I don’t think they slept for 3 days before the wedding.

Post # 12
4176 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

Appetizers and Dessert were DIY- do ahead of time worked out great.

Entree was catered for ease and to make sure it ran smoothly.

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