Lunch reception – does this sound good?

posted 2 years ago in Reception
Post # 16
1514 posts
Bumble bee

I self catered my grandmother’s 100th birthday reception.  Over the course of four hours we had over 150 people come through and wish her well, plus share stories and so on.

I wish I could have had it catered, but her town is TINY!  Think 2000 people, max.  It was a very simple spread and no one got ill – I kept everything in small bowls and replaced as necessary since the hall had a kitchenette with two fridges.  We had pimento cheese, chicken salad, sliced meats and cheeses, and croissants with mayo and mustard.  We also had fresh veggies and dip with iced tea, water and punch.  Plus a cake for her and cupcakes for the masses.  I allotted three per person and didn’t have ANY left over.   

Edited to add – I live an eight hour drive away and my dad’s is two hours away from her.  We just used lots of coolers to transport.  And, I had to put everything together the day before because I worked for an asshat who refused to give me more than one day off even though I put in for a week’s vacation nearly six months in advance (I had four weeks allotted) which forced me to fly.

Post # 17
2019 posts
Buzzing bee

100 people is just a lot of people to self cater with no help. Minimally- do you know some college kids or have some younger cousins or someone you could ‘hire’ for the day to help facilitate? 

That said- I’d cut down on the number of things you have. More room for error the more things you are trying to manage. In my opinion, I’d cut the appetizers (unless you make them like a cheese and crackers tray premade). 

I think if you had crockpots with a veggie soup and a chili, rolls and cornbread plus a sandwich platter is plenty of food for an afternoon lunch. Lots of times I go to Panera and just get soup or maybe soup and sandwich for lunch and I am filled up just fine. 

Post # 19
236 posts
Helper bee

Finding good food and appetizers wouldn’t be the problem, since Costco has a great selection of not only prepared foods / desserts but loads of frozen stuff, appetizers, etc. The problem I see would be getting it heated up, set up, and managed. But if you had some people you could enlist, it could be a lovely spread. Just make sure it can run smoothly so that you don’t have added stress. And don’t have mayo items.

Post # 20
1406 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

My mom & I made everything on my dessert bar except a few decorated cookies. We had cake balls/oreo balls, several types of cookies, several dipped items, etc. We had enough for 100 and we started baking maybe 2 days ahead of time. It wasn’t that bad at all. We also had bought some little cheesecake bites that were frozen from Sam’s (probably can find at Costco too). I enjoyed having something self-catered, as my mom & I love to bake. It made it feel more personal. Having said that it would be very hard to cater a whole meal for that many people. Soup is a good idea if you decide to do that I think, and throw in some veggie/fruit/sandwich trays and it wouldn’t be too bad.

Have you looked around at caterers? You might be surprised at how reasonable they can be. And don’t just look at caterers, look at restaurants as many will cater off-site as well. I know several people around my area get a certain BBQ joint to cater a huge meal for like $10 a person which a good deal.

Post # 21
9972 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

I think you can handle the dessert yourselves. Maybe even some apps.

But catering the lunch seems like the best option.

Post # 22
712 posts
Busy bee

Not a good idea.  

Post # 23
6840 posts
Busy Beekeeper

I would be totally fine with soup and sandwiches for a lunch reception. That said, if you are renting plates, I’d probably cut the soup – you’ll have to rent bowls in addition, plus spoons. For 100 people, that could be $150 just on the rentals. 

Post # 24
326 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

I appreciate your enthusiam but please reconsider your self catering plans.  I am having a lunch reception as well for 48 people in two weeks and there is NO WAY I would do it myself.  Look around for KC Halls, nice restaurants and see what they can do for you on a budget.  I am TOTALLY about the budget (my dress is $60 off Amazon) but please, food is what people will remember – let the pros handle it.  Plus the few days before your wedding will be super busy….do you really want to be making food for 100 people?  You are the bride!!!!  Enjoy your day!!!  Our reception is in a nice restaurant and there is no fee for reserving it.  Options are out there.  Best wishes!!

Post # 25
228 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

If you insist on self catering I would suggest hiring just a few servers.  You cannot be making kitchen runs in your wedding gown!  I hosted a party for 100 last year and had 3 servers and it was the thing that allowed me to enjoy the party!

Post # 26
4982 posts
Honey bee

The people who are ok with the mayo haven’t gotten sick from it. I have. And I didn’t eat mayo for years after. It’s up there in severity with the time I got food poisoning from sushi. Nothing tops that but bad mayo is up there. I’m on the no mayo train. 

Post # 27
19 posts
  • Wedding: December 2018

Hey Bee! Try to reconsider the idea for catering! I would keep the dessert bar, but its your big day and self catering sounds completely stressful. Catering doesn’t have to be pricey! Just do some research on local businesses around the area 🙂

Post # 28
100 posts
Blushing bee

sweatergal007 :  You can get food poisoning from any contaminated food. And that’s likely what happened to you rather than from mayo that “sat out too long”. People tend to get food poisoning a few times in their lives. It happens. It has nothing to do with mayo being out. It has to do with general contamination….such as dirty hands handling food.

So, it still stands that it is a myth about mayo spoiling so fast. A similar myth goes around about eggs needing to always be cold. And also how people believe that if you eat raw eggs, it’s instant salmanela time. False. Alllllll false.

Post # 29
40 posts

cb93 :  I’m not sure what your budget is, but I would suggest looking into a food truck. I hired one for my husband’s birthday party and it was a really big hit and was nice because they handled all of the plates/utensils/etc. 

I was initially going to self-cater his party (~50 people) but once I started totaling up costs of all of the different items i’d need to buy, the food truck was just as cost-effective and NO stress. Even if a food truck isn’t your thing, look into smaller restuarants in your area to see if they do pick-up catering so you just have to stop by a pick it up–it may also be more cost-effective for you!


Post # 30
2528 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

No. No, no no no.

Don’t self cater unless you have under 30 people, MAYBE 40 MAX. 

Hire it out. I guarantee you can find someone. It’s worth it.

If you can’t afford to host people properly, cut your guest list. 

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