(Closed) my DIY food estimates – input please

posted 11 years ago in Food
Post # 18
190 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

tips: try to find a local caterer who would rent you the chafing pans, that’s a lot of money and storage space you’d be putting up for 8 of them. 

also, i bought 4 16oz bottles of salad dressing for my 50 person reception and over half of it was leftover.  i also got 7 lbs of lettuce greens and way more than half of it was leftover. 

if you are really going to plan this out, do your food stuff by weight, that way you can easily get a spreadsheet together and compare prices by oz or lb, not unit.

if you are doing a buffet get at least 2 sets of utensils for every person and 2 of every size plate you are doing (main course, app size, dessert size).  people aren’t supposed to re-use their plates when they go through a buffet for seconds, and utensils tend to get thrown out, dropped, etc…

if you want to cut costs with your caterer try to find one that would supply only the mains, and would be willing to put their food alongside side dishes that you and your family make the day before.  they will not all do this for liability reasons.  you could also make your own cold appetizers the night before by making a nice fruit or snack meat and cracker tray. 

i’m not sure why you’re thinking about this if you are hiring a caterer.  even if you have a plan it couldn’t be executed well at the drop of a hat.  are you expecting your caterer to drop out at the last minute or something?

Post # 19
1585 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2010

The wedding I did the food for had 2-3 extra fridges I would add that cost in too!

Post # 20
1337 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

Another thing you should keep in mind is the “cost” of your mom’s time to prep and cook all of this. I don’t know if she would need to take time off from work or what, but it’s going to take a while to prep all the food, let alone cooking it. Her time is worth something, for sure!

$15/pp seems like an amazing deal to me personally – I would definitely jump at that deal.

Maybe even on top of costs, you could also just say to your mom that this is her daughter’s wedding, and you want to see her that day, and don’t want her to miss a moment, which she will if she tries to cook for 100 people, and is constantly worrying about and checking on the levels of food. Peace of mind on that day for both you and your mom is definitely worth factoring in too.

Post # 22
190 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

ah, ok, i wrote a whole thread on mine for 50 people.  if you haven’t read it it’s here:


also, i agree with gabrielle, $10-$15 a person is a great price if the food is good and the business can provide solid references.  and ditto on the fridges, also-ovens.  my venue had 2 fully equipped kitchens for us to use.  one oven is definitely a limiter for that much food.

Post # 23
142 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2004

I think you’re missing a lot of little items, like sternos, napkins, extra storage, foil and plastic wrap, serving utensils (what about beverage napkins, plates/utensils for appetizers and dessert, more cups if guests have more than one drink, etc.)… And I agree that the beef price sounds low (as does the estimate–I usually buy about half a pound per guest), and the “extra” $100 sounds way low, too–all of the extra ingredients really, really add up.

Any time you cook for a ton of people, there are a million things that you forget that wind up costing a large chunk of change. A caterer has most of these things already; for so many reasons, I would definitely go with a caterer!

Post # 24
946 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

We did partial DIY food for our wedding with 85 guests. Oh my gosh things add up. And I think for 100-125 ppl some of your quantities are a little low.

We had two fridges at our park venue to store things to keep cold.

We had pans of BBQ prok, BBQ chicken, salt potatoes, macaroni salad, and rolls delivered. We made sangria and lemonade. We prepared cheese and crackers, fresh cut fruit and dip, and veggies and dip for guests to eat the hour before dinner. We purchased the chafing dishes and sternos for the delivered food, as well as salad bowls, tongs, smaller tongs to serve hors’deurves, serving utensils, napkins, plasticware, and many, many more things to prepare and serve our food.

We hired a Day of coordinator and her friend to manage the hors’deurves, buffet, drinks, and dessert table.

You mom cannot cook food for 120-125 people. You DO NOT want to be helping her the night before of the day of your wedding. There are restaurants that offer alternatives toa  full on catering package, so I’d look there. Maybe your mom can do some extra things, or things that don’t require a lot of prep, but cooking an entire meal for that many people will be a disaster. I don’t say that to be mean, just realistic.

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