(Closed) Catering Our Own Wedding?

posted 4 years ago in Food
Post # 16
5154 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2014

I think a lot here can go wrong. First, theres no way youre doing this with the price of less than $21/pp. $21/pp is a very reasonable price. I just dont know how youre going to do all this the day of the wedding AND get ready. I think you really seriously need to think about this.

Post # 17
171 posts
Blushing bee

thepurplegirl:  Logistically I dont think you could do it if you dont have access to an industrial kitchen. Ive cooked for weddings before but if I didnt have that huge cooking space it would never had worked. It also seems like a lot of food and will probably be over $20/person. Have you looked at grocery stores for catering? I know for a work even we had whole foods cater $15/person which included entree, 2 sides and light apps. Even that is going to be better than doing it yourself Since you dont have to cook or pay students. If you must do it yourself then I would change the menu, streamlining it and such but I dont know how much cheaper under $20/person you can go. If you want tips PM me. 

Post # 18
1149 posts
Bumble bee

I understand that pricing may be a concern, but are you really going to get it under $21/pp after hiring all those people, buying all those ingredients, and renting all the cooking utensils/tools? Honestly I think you’re in over your head.  Even if you do like to cook, do you really want to risk the chance and be cooking on YOUR special day?

Post # 19
1092 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

Ideas sound great in our head when we’re planning them but there’s a lot of things you’ll never think of because you’re not doing this day in, day out. I didn’t read anything about what you plan to do with any left over food (food bags/containers?) And who’s going to take it? Who’s washing all the chafing dishes, plates, utensils, etc?

Even though you know what your vision is and have help, you’ve never worked with all these people before and a lot can go wrong. Professional caterers may cost more but they run like a well oiled machine for a reason, this is their profession. 

After getting quotes in flowers for my wedding almost 5 years ago I decided to do them myself. I’ve worked for a florist previously and had experience and even though I had 5-6 helpers, no one knew anything about making floral arrangements. I had a few prepping the flowers and instructed a few on the basics but I was the one who did quite a bit more. We started at 6pm and they stayed til about 10pm doing the centerpieces and such but I didn’t get home til 3am. I was very happy with the results and dont regret it but my advise is to factor in every single aspect and have a plan of action when things go wrong.


  • This reply was modified 3 years, 6 months ago by  Ill Be Mrs B.
Post # 20
7418 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

I’m a chef and I’ve catered many a meal. I don’t think you’ve really considered what you’re in for if you’re trying to cater for 100 people.  Just cooking the pasta for the lasagna is going to be a nightmare—- in restaurant world, we use a big honkin 80-quart pot of water for something like that, and I think you’d probably need more than one batch.  Alfredo sauce?  Most cream sauces turn gummy and gross before you know it.  Chicken burger parmesan?  Please don’t. Your guests will feel like you really cheaped out on them.  And all these are real show-stopers without even thinking of how you’re going to pull this off without giving anyone a foodbourne illness. You can’t just leave 10 pans of lasagna sitting on the kitchen counter till wedding day.  How are you going to cool it down for storage? How are you going to heat it back up? How will you cook all the spaghetti and reheat it for serving and not have it stick together? Where are you going to wash lettuce for a hundred people and where are you going to store it and how are you going to dry it so it doesn’t turn brown? The industrial size lettuce spinner we use is about the size of a big trash can and costs about $500, and no restaurant is going to loan that to you.

Find the money to pay the caterer. $23/person is not that much more than what you are going to pay for raw ingredients, and you’re going to spend a small fortune on a crapload of containers and packaging for your precooked food, serving utensils and other junk. 


Post # 21
881 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2006


+1 Listening to professional opinions would be sensible. 

If you can’t afford $22 a plate then you need to seriously scale back your wedding and manage your unrealistic expectations. Most venues charge at least $100 a plate so $22 is a steal. 

Why not have a wedding with 40 guests and have a reception at a restaurant? 

Post # 22
13707 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I agree with all the PPs.  This sounds like a terrible idea to me.  I won’t rehash what everyone already said, but they’re all right.  You’re asking for food poisoniong, you don’t have the facilities to properly prepare the food, and $22 per person is a steal for an event.  

You certainly could do a DIY dessert/candy bar to cut costs, and the Costco cake is fine too.  Just don’t do the meal yourself.

Post # 23
3473 posts
Sugar bee

Here’s the link for wedding liability insurance so you don’t go bankrupt after giving all your guests food poisoning:


Make sure you disclose that you are self catering to its not an excluded risk.

Post # 24
944 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

This does not sound like a realistic plan. $22/person is reasonable and cheap in my opinion. I would do that, see what you can add for a little more. I have helped with wedding catering before and it’s a ton of work even with a full staff of professionals. Having to direct family and students sounds awful. 120 people is a big difference from a family dinner of 30. There’s a ton that goes into prep and health and safety of the food. 


Maybe compromise and make the dessert bar yourselves? And nacho bar? Go with a pro for the actual dinner. 

Post # 25
8919 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

thepurplegirl:  I really think you’re going to put in a bunch of time and effort, and still end up paying close to $20 per person or more. There’s a really good pizza place near me that caters and has an option of pizza, pasta, salad, and breadsticks for $6.50 per person. You can add other things like lasagna, chicken bites, etc for a bit more.  Have you checked with nearby pizza places to see if they have anything like that? Even if it’s a little further out so you have to pick it up, that would be way easier than doing it all yourself.

Post # 26
3611 posts
Sugar bee

I agree with the PPs who are telling you not to do this. $21.95 per person is not expensive whatsoever for a catered meal, and you’ll probably end up spending more for self-catering than you would if you just hired a caterer and were done with it, not to mention all the food safety issues involved. Do you really want to risk sending your guests home with salmonella?

Another option is to hire a food truck. I’m looking into one for a late night snack for our guests and they are charging anywhere from $10 for a basic option, like 1/2 grilled cheese or two sliders with fries, to $15 for a slightly upgraded option. This is in downtown Chicago, so I would think it would be cheaper in a small town. Of course, I would go for the most upgraded option if you’re doing this as your main meal — two sliders plus fries might be enough for a late night snack for guests who are already stuffed from a full meal, but it’s definitely not enough for dinner.

Post # 27
1450 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2016 - St. John\'s Lutheran Church

I also agree – do not cater your own wedding. I could barely find the time to show the caterer where to set up during my wedding. 

If you can’t afford to pay $22/pp (which is incredibly cheap), cut your guest list.

I mean, do whatever you want, obviously. You’re a grown woman. But I feel certain that you are asking for trouble here. 

Post # 28
2942 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

My friend self catered their wedding.  They did pulled pork, chips, beans.  Pulled pork was the kind you can buy in bulk frozen and reheat, and the beans were just giant cans of Bushes from costco. 100% easier than what you have in mind.  It still almost ended up in disastor. One of our good friends missed the wedding because she noticed about an hour into picutres that everyone who was supose to help set up the food had forgotten.  Luckily, she had food prep experience and no one ended up sick, but everyone almost went home hungry as well.

What you want to do has so much more room for error than what they did and it was almost ruined. 

Also, if I was served chicken parm that started off as breaded chicken parties, I would leave 100 times more disapointed than having wedding chicken. 

Post # 30
638 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2016

my fiances mother catered his sisters wedding for 120 people with no problem. 

chicken, mac and cheese, corn, meatball subs 

sure it wasn’t your typical wedding food but it tasted good and there was more than enough for everyone. 

my future mother in law, my mom, and my so and I are also doing the food for our wedding. 

Bbq chicken, Mac and cheese, corn on the cob, potatoe salad, corn bread and toss salad

we are just splitting the items up between people so it’s not so much for one person. Also our venue has ovens and warming drawers and fridges so no issue there. 


Just sayin, if it’s something you really wanna do, do it. You can. It’ll be fine if you have enough help. 

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