(Closed) Did you cater your own wedding?

posted 6 years ago in DIY
Post # 2
254 posts
Helper bee

Tagging in as I plan on doing so for our after elopement receiption. So far it seems impossible to me because it’s not only making the food for a huge crowd but also renting all the dishes and those things you put the food in to keep it warm if you do buffet style. And since you don’t have a caterer you will have to clean everything up. 

If your wedding is super informal you could just ask your guests to each bring a salad (also pasta bor potateosalad) or some good old party food. Or have huge pots of chilli con carne ready or something like this. But all that is zero elegant or impressing. It’s more like your typical way of feeding a crowd on a birthday.

My plan (not set in stone yet but love the idea) Raclette! I know you US Bees don’t know it too well but here in mid Europe it’s a big hit in the winter. It’s a very heavy cheese dish where everyone can create it’s own pan. You basically have an electric table top grill with small pans. In those you throw all kinds of food you love. Veggies, fruits, fish, meat, chicken you name it. Then you cover your pan with a slice of the most delicous cheese and put it into the grill until it’s all melted. It’s such a favorite because everyone can create what he craves and you try around a lot. It’s pretty entertaining and usually take 1-2 hours. So far I have the idea of renting around 20 raclette grills (one for 6-8 guests) and setting up a huge buffet with whatever food comes to my mind to put in where guests go and grab what they want for their next pan. Or I just place the food on the tables, that’s the way it’s usually done.

I imagine it to be a lot of fun and something very different. It really is only a winter wedding idea because it’s a very heavy dish and you get very warm from those grills. Not so perfect on a warm summer night…

It’s only a idea with much I have to still figure out like cables that need to be set up. It also makes centerpieces useless, which I love and hate.


Post # 3
80 posts
Worker bee

I’m following! I plan to do this for my wedding. I’ve been reading up on Freezer Cooking, where you cook meals in advance and freeze them til the time comes to heat them up and serve them. We will be putting our deep freezer to use, im just hoping this doesn’t take too much away from the quality. I plan to start in 3-4 months in advance. I’m looking forward to hearing advice and tips on this topic as well as hearing some success stories!! 

Tell me what you think about Freezer Cooking.

Post # 4
47 posts
  • Wedding: June 2016

I think we are planning to do a BBQ. 50 ppl or less right now.

We are thinking about having 3-4 huge pots of chopped brisket, plenty of buns and rolls,several side dishes like potato salad, coleslaw, beans, and corn on the cob. Everyone that’s coming is very close family and friends. It will honestly be more of a cookout after we exchange vows. Very non traditional.

Post # 5
347 posts
Helper bee

I self catered. We had spaghetti/salad/bread. Our wedding was super informal and low key. I made the sauce the day before, and my aunt/family pitched in and did everything the day of the wedding. It was really stressful though because I didn’t specifically delegate tasks. The punch didn’t get made properly and wasn’t very good, but everyone loved the food. If I had the money I would have preferred to hire someone to cater. 


Edit: Sorry, I  forgot to answer your other questions. We had about 60 people, and the food was probably under $500. That’s including plastic utensils/plates/cups/pop. The pros were that it was cheap and since it was my recipe I knew it would taste great. The cons were that it’s a huge hassle.

Post # 6
6259 posts
Bee Keeper

Number of people: 38 including ourselves

Food served:  Rehearsal – taco salad bar, DIY, including locally made tortillas and homemade pico de gallo.  The chicken was prepped and frozen a month ahead of time.  Everything else pretty much came out of a bag.  Homemade cookies for dessert.  Our rehearsal dinner included all guests who wanted to join us – probably 2/3.  Wedding day – Santa Maria Tri-tip grilled by my husband on the day (his request), grilled french bread, salad (leftovers from night before plus a ton of additional toppings.  This was also DIY because I’m pretty picky about my salads and thought it would be best if each person got to put on what they actually wanted to eat.  Strawberry shortcake (DIY) for dessert – several flavors of pound/angel cake, the berries and homemade whipped cream.  Also leftover cookies.  Drinks for both:  homemade lemonade, local beer and root beer, coffee, tea, water.

Cost – beats me – I didn’t do well keeping track.  Less than $1000 easily. Probably less than $500.

Help – The girls’ side of the bridal party (sister, best friend), my mother and his mother did all the kitchen prep (plus one very nice guest and my aunt occasionally).  His buddies helped him with the grill.  All technically voluntary but in our family one wouldn’t expect anything less.  Plenty of people kept us company as well, especially out at the grill.

Pros – cheaper, food just how we like it, got to share a meal that was local to him with my family, his side got a kick out of watching my side “eat it wrong”

Cons – You’re in charge of cleanup – I have no idea how our place got cleaned but I can just about guarantee it was mostly my mom and aunt, which was lovely of them – we were just going to deal with it later.  If your help doesn’t actually want to help, you’re stuck on your own.  You can’t require it of your guests.  There was an hour where my brothers’ in law turned out to be joyriding when I really could have used their help and that was disappointing, though understandable.  Last that I can think of off-hand, you have to get your numbers right.  Luckily that wasn’t a problem with such a small wedding – we did very well in having few leftovers and getting rid of them easily the day after – lunch for anyone who happened to still be around and wanted it.  I wouldn’t do it for a big wedding for sure… too much stress!

I have never attended a wedding that someone catered themselves.  Best wedding food I ever had hands down was at a restaurant, so the food was all fresh and hot.  No room for error there.

ETA: this is so long, sorry.  But I wanted to add that timing is an issue as well.  we wound up serving salads first b/c the meat was taking so long to cook.  Our guests were lovely about it (mostly family, but even so!) but it wasn’t the most elegant, well timed meal.  Also we had grilled potatoes which I just remembered.  They also didn’t cook well so got put in the stove and I believe half of them burned b/c we forgot about them.

Post # 7
6259 posts
Bee Keeper

View original reply
Zimtstern:  I totally want to try this raclette thing someday!

Post # 8
355 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

We self-catered for our wedding. 80 people. My dad did all the cooking- slow-cooked pork roasts and ribs. Green beans, corn, roasted potatoes, salad, bread rolls. Variety of pies and two chocolate mint cakes. We broke it down like this-

day before the wedding my dad prepped all the food that he could. I had made the pies in advance and froze them. Mother-In-Law made my cakes. I bought the dinner rolls. Day of the wedding- dad started the meat in the AM, was able to relax for a bit midday and during the wedding (3pm). After the ceremony and pictures, dad went back to the kitchen to get beans and corn going and sauce the meat and shred it. It was a buffet dinner. A few friends brought salads and it was BYO drinks, apart from water, iced tea, tea and coffee. All the dishes were borrowed from a local dinner theatre group we are a part of and family and some friends helped with the cleanup after the reception. It was amazing how everyone came together to help us out and people still talk about how good the food was three years later. I think it helps that my dad and I are good cooks. 🙂 All the meat and veg were donated by my husband’s family, so no cost there. I think we maybe spent $75 on condiments and bread rolls. I’m serious. I don’t know how much I spent on the pies (made 9), but it was spread out, so not too expensive.

Post # 9
337 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2016

I’m not planning on it, but my cousin totally had a potluck for her wedding. It was sort of questionable (her mom literally called my mom two weeks before and asked her to bring a casserole), but honestly, the food was amazing, and while people were surprised at the request, I don’t think anybody really minded in the end.

Post # 10
92 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

We self catered. There were about 65 guests. We kept it pretty easy with bbq, which fit out farm wedding pretty well. The food was delicious. My mom made pulled pork, and my uncle smoked a brisket. I made pulled jackfruit as a veggie option, which was a hit! As for sides, we kept it pretty basic- potato salad, baked beans, green salad, an avocado black bean salad, cut up fruit. There were also plenty of rolls. Rather than rent equipment, we put the pulled pork, jackfruit and beans in crock pots, while everything cold stayed in the fridge until right before serving.  My aunts made the appetizers, which were veggie platters with fancy dips, cut up fruit, and a meat, cheese and cracker tray. It wasn’t fancy, but it fit our cozy farm party perfectly (not to mention it was delicious)! It was super easy, most of it we prepared beforehand, and it all came together nicely.  

All in all, we paid around $350 for everything, most of the cost being the meat. We bought from a local,  family owned farm/butcher. The prices were phenomenal, and the quality was amazing!

  • This reply was modified 6 years ago by ashes88.

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