Post # 1
Fiance and I are planning on an early October wedding held outdoors- some friends of ours have offered to let us use their backyard for the civil ceremony and then to hold the reception, which will be small at about 40 people. I’m still looking into how I’ll arrange seating and tables, tents, and lighting, but I’ve got a basic idea of what I want to do for centerpieces, music, and decor. We want to keep things as inexpensive as we can- we are laid back and pretty non-traditional and we want our wedding to be the same way, but classy and pretty of course!
I was looking into catering, and all of it is just too expensive, not my taste, or not enough variety. We also want it to be entirely vegetarian because of our moral beliefs, and not many places can work with that. I thought since we want such a small wedding, maybe we could get some close friends to help us cook and prepare food for the reception. Has anyone ever done this? What did you do and how did it go over? If we end up doing this, any thoughts on what some good dishes would be to make? Thanks in advance!
Post # 3
@shyviolette:For a small affair, I see no harm in making food for that many people. I’ve never done it, however I’m thinking of possibly doing my own apps (won’t be anything extravagant) and/or some type of dessert besides cake.
Post # 4
I did! We had about 70 guests. My mom helped, but I did most of it. We made ground beef and carnitas for tacos, with layered bean dip, chips and queso, 2 different homemade salsas (a regular tomato and a black bean and corn.) I made sure we used vegetarian refried beans for those who don’t eat meat. We had all the regular fixings…soft shells, hard shells, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, onions….We also made a veggie and fruit tray. We kept it all warm with crockpots, I bought some chafing dishes on super sale at Macy’s, but we never actually used them. It was just easier to keep the food in the crockpots. I wasn’t too concerned about the appearance at that point.
We prepared all of the food the day before the wedding and just heated it up the day of.
Post # 5
I’m having a reception on a private family estate and we are buying bulk and preparing most of the foods ourselves and some is pre-made. We did a trial run a few months ago with a party for something non wedding related of around 30 people and it worked out well
As far as serving plated dinners and course meals by yourselves, it could get dicey with hiring people to serve it or I guess just figuring out how to arrange things with your friends helping you.
We chose to do it more buffet style and have casual open seating for mingling.
I’m sure its doable! Go for it!
Post # 6
Yup yup, we are doing the sweets all by ourselves. I started collecting favorites of FH and also mine a few months ago. Cookies, etc. If you’re looking for new and easy ideas you can make ahead of time, I’d suggest the Cake Doctor book. There are a billion different ideas on what kinds of new and tasy desserts you can make from a cake mix… easy and efficient in my book!
I’m making rum balls ahead of time and freezing them as well as cupcakes and cookies.
Post # 7
I was originally going to cook for my wedding and I was going to do pasta. It is something you can buy in bulk for cheap, and there are many different ways to dress it up. You can prepare different types of pastas and toppings, then do a sort of pasta station, where everyone gets to design their own meal. You could have:
Steamed broccoli (maybe a few more veggies) with olive oil drizzle
Tomato or Marinara sauce
Then, you could make a bunch of tossed salad and have breadsticks.
Post # 8
My favorite blog has a few posts on self-catered weddings: http://apracticalwedding.com/2010/07/cara-andys-do-it-together-self-catered-wedding/
I just went to a self-catered reception, and everything was a hit. I found that the ease of their catering was in having a limited amount of foods that required cooling/heating: like watermelon gazpacho, or grilled asaparagus and couscous. Good luck!
Post # 9
We are doing our own food, but we have several friends/church members who are doing a lot of it. We are having someone bbq chicken and tri tip and then we are having twice baked potatoes, green beans, green salad, fruit salad, and rolls. It’s not the cooking that’s the hard part. It’s finding a way to serve it and keep trays/serving platters filled while you are mingling with guests. It’s well worth it to find a couple of friends willing to be in charge of this or hire someone just to do this part. My aunt hosted a semi-formal graduation party for my cousin. She did the food, but hired a couple of people who charged $15/hr to keep the food and drinks stocked. It was well worth it.
Post # 10
I think you could definitely pull it off with a wedding of that size. Given your style and the fact that you’re vegetarians, you may be happiest with that anyways. Plus if your friends and family help, everyone will love tasting the favorite recipes everyone has.
My FI’s Mom did a graduation party for his sister for over 100 people, and plenty of friends and family pitched in. The hardest part was probably the amount of time it takes to prepare certain things – fruit and veggies, baking (only so many things can go into the oven at once!) and making everything ready at the same time. Those things will be even harder for a wedding day, but if you choose the correct dishes and have help it sounds like it could be an awesome idea!
Post # 11
We had friends that did their own reception of about 70 people. They had gotten married in Jamaica and made some of their favorite dishes from their stay… it was more like heavy appetizers and everything was SO good!
It’s definitely possible! Goodluck =)
Post # 12
Just remembered another favorite blog of a couple that had similiar vibe to yours- they also self-catered and have a few tips too: http://www.younghouselove.com/wedding-album/
Post # 13
We’re doing our own food for a reception of around 100! We have a lot of help from my MOH’s aunt who LOVES to cook and has hosted big parties before. Fiance and I also love to cook, so we’re going to go help in the days before the wedding.
We’re doing all cold food, and things that can be prepared a day or two ahead.
We don’t have a set menu yet, but our ideas for our “picnic food” style reception are:
-Pasta salads (one traditional, one Greek-inspired)
-Regular green salads (traditional, Greek, Caesar)
-“Build your own” croissant sandwich bar, with tuna/chicken salad, lettuce/tomato/onion/cheese slices, etc.
-Watermelon slices and/or a fruit salad
It’s not going to be anythig fancy, but who the heck doesn’t like a good summer picnic, right?
Post # 14
We’re doing something similar-everything can be made ahead.
BBQ Pulled Pork
Onion, Potato, and Sweet buns for the meat
Im sure some other random stuff.
Mousse (several flavors)
Mini Whoopie Pies
Mini key lime pie
Mini kiwi tarts
I cant remember what else….
Mini Crab cakes
Potato Skin bar (plus numerous toppings)
Mini Smoked Sausages wrapped in Garlic Pastry
Inside Out Chiles Rejanos
More Veggie Trays
Stuffed Campari Tomatoes
Who knows what else…..
(I sure hope I have some help with this…)
Post # 15
@sulaii211: Thanks for the younghouselove link- that’s A LOT like what I envisioned for ours- with different decor and colors. Thanks for the inspiration!