(Closed) Catering Our Own Wedding?

posted 5 years ago in Food
Post # 2
265 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

I was scared for you at first, BUT if you’re hiring culinary students then I think you can definitely pull this off! I would just make sure to be VERY organized, make sure you have enough food, and the students are on task and set up to do well. And also above all, make sure you are following all guidelines on food safety.

I think being well organized and making sure everything is well set up will help you relax on the day. Double check and aspect and try to think of anything that could go wrong. Make sure the students understand fully what they’re expected to do. I’d also suggest having one student, perhaps a more senior one, be in charge the day of so that there’s someone who can make sure everyone is on task and that person doesn’t have to be you.

Post # 3
838 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

honestly I dont really see how that can possibly be cheaper than 25 $ pp… not to mention the serious headache of the labor. Is it really what you want to be doing on your wedding day/the days before? Do you have access to an industrial kitchen? If it was 20 people id get it… but 130 people?? Yes, you are crazy, dont do this!

Post # 5
853 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

sparkleawlays +1

I personally think this is a horrible idea. Even if you love to cook, you will be SUPER busy before the wedding and having to cook or babysit culinary students (who are not professionals) then clean up and everything is just way too much. Also, food poisonning is a very real thing.

Post # 6
7983 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

I love to cook, too, but can’t imagine trying to do it for my wedding–there are just so many other things that will require your attention and you do want to be able to be present in the moment with your guests vs worrying about playing caterer. Is there any way the culinary school can cater for less?

Post # 7
1744 posts
Bumble bee

Think through where you’re going to hold (refrigerate / freeze) at home all of the pre-made food.  how many pans in your fridge … how many in your moms … how many in your sisters etc.  Have a good check off list for timing / loading (I once forgot 1 big bin of chicken skewers which got pushed to a back corner of the fridge when packing the car).  Try to think through each step.  How many ovens are needed to cook/warm the pans of lasagna, when will the culinary students have to start to accomplish hot food on buffet at a certain time.  Your cooking at camp will be a great help. 

Post # 8
2176 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

usually my first question to someone who wants to do something like this is have you ever held a holiday for 40 guests or so? if you haven’t then I wonder if you realize the amount of time and work it will be to prep all this food…

so take the lasagna – ok yeah not terrible to make in advance (and can be very cost effective) but do you know someone with an empty freezer that can hold about 10 lazagna pans? and then has fridge space to defrost them the day before and then about 4 ovens to heat them up in? who will be in the kitchen doing this? you mention culinary students… with a teacher to oversee them? is your family ok having them alone in their homes when they aren’t there (since you will be literally walking down the aisle when this needs to happen) where will the heated ones go to stay warm while the heat up the next round? will these students be moving hot food from house to house? in their cars?

ok so now if you have that covered… what about all the chicken that needs to get heated up? (again assuming that you make it all ahead of time and have somewhere to store it) and the seafood really can’t be done in advance since it will get rubbery when re-heated…. there are a lot of moving parts in this plan and writing is all down may sounds “easy” and you can do it all ahead of time and it just needs to be heated up but in the end its not exactly that simple

also I think you need to be honest about food prices cause I am not sure that you will do this yourself for much less than $20 pp (especially when you end up paying for rentals, dishes, students to set up etc)

Post # 9
1569 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

OK, I’m not even going to try to talk you out of this, but here are a couple notes:

– Nix the seafood dish. Seafood sitting in a chafing dish all day after being prepared by students is a recipe for disaster. Just plain alfredo would be fine, especially if you allow the option to add chicken.

– Can you reconsider the chicken? I know the premade chicken burgers are easy, and maybe a little cheaper than properly preparing the chicken. But the difference in taste/quality is substantial. A breaded chicken burger patty with tomato sauce =/= chicken parmesan.

– I would definitely add the garlic bread. I think it is a minimal cost for great benefit.

– I don’t understand how the nacho bar works? Do you have access to those cheese machines?

Post # 10
5778 posts
Bee Keeper

My Fiance and I are both avid cooks and our guest count is approx yours- about 120 adults/ 20 kids – but I got exhausted just reading what you plan to do. Admittedly your menu ideas sound far more appetizing than the basic chicken-&-side catering option you mentioned, but I think you’re being over-ambitious in what you’ll be taking on. Even if you hire a couple of culinary students, it still sounds like you’ll have a ton of stuff to do- ditto your relatives.

You may know your way around a kitchen really well and have experience cooking for large groups- but you weren’t having to get ready for a wedding at the same time! Even if you love cooking, won’t you want to focus on getting dressed/ hair/ make-up etc. Plus, if you don’t have a DOC you &/ or Fiance may have to deal with other last minute details as well. 

Would the culinary school allow a group of responsible & enthusiastic students take over as caterers? This would minimize your role, still give you over-seeing of menu choices etc, and possibly the use of the culinary school’s kitchen for prep? I’d rather go this route, even if the extra expense meant dropping a few items from the menu

Post # 11
3895 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2017

View original reply
thepurplegirl:  I admire your enthusiasm I really do…we were thinking we can do it and have a backyard wedding but after careful consideration we decided not to… we decided to have a cottage wedding and get BBQ catering, their prices start at 15-20pp for the BBQ, we supply our own alcohol so we can buy in bulk.. i figure with catering, booze, cake… we should come in at under $50 pp knowing our famy and friends… we will easily make that money back in gifts as most gift cash anyways..

Post # 13
2027 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

This sounds like a very foolish idea. $21.95 is a good price for a meal per person. 

A $20 cake from Costco will not feed 130 people.

Is this happening at your home? If you are at a venue, chances are you will need a license to serve food. Even bringing in desserts, most venues will require that they are from a licensed bakery.

Post # 14
211 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

 I helped a friend plan her wedding, at first we were thinking about doing the cooking ourselves, then I callEd around a few restaurants that do catering and they were much cheaper than I thought. There is a restaurant called Buona beef, near me and she will be able to feed 150 people for $600. And that will include Italian beef sandwiches which will be 3 inches,  mostaccioli with marinara  sauce,  and Mostaccioli with meat sauce , and house salad. She went to Costco and got the fancy paper plates and utensils, snacks, soda, water, and the heating source for the chaffing pans.   So for everything it was about $1000. She is having her reception in the church fellowship hall so it didn’t require any sort of special license or anything .

Post # 15
7579 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

View original reply
thepurplegirl:  I think when it’s all said and done, you’re going to be WAY over $22/pp trying to do it yourself. In all honesty, and I say this as a wedding vendor, $22/pp is probably one of the most reasonable prices I’ve seen for a meal that was not just drop off BBQ. You have to remember that you are not just paying for the food but the labor invovled in prepping, cooking, serving, etc. I personally think self catering for 100+ people is insane and I’m scared for you…even with the help of culinary students. I’m not trying to be a debbie downer on this, but it’s soooo much more involved than I think you’ve really considered. Have you even considred all the prep aside, how you will manage to cook all that food in a timely fashion while keeping things warm (without being overdone?).

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