(Closed) Need advice on self-catering for 50 people…

posted 9 years ago in Food
Post # 3
1896 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2009 - St. Thomas of Villanova Church & the F.U.E.L. House

First off, your menu sounds delish!  And secondly, have you checked in with local restaurants and caterers to see about negotating costs?  Chafing dishes and/or slow cookers would be the way to keep the meat heated, I’d think.

I hope other hive members have more suggestions for you — good luck!

Post # 4
523 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

I cater so if you need to pick a brain I am here for you.  That said there are a couple of fundemental things you can do

One make a list of EVERYTHING you plan to put into the food, I know this sounds silly but do it! everything from Salt to Pepper

Figure out what you will need to take with you (lettuce to garnish the plates, chopped chives to garnish, stuff like that (put an O or something else that will tell you where that is on the list)

Also make a list of EVERY KIND of equipment you are going to use, from spoons to Mixiers and ovens.

Call the site/Inn up and see if they have catering/buffet equipment you can borrow from them Chaffing dishes, sternos, tongs, serving platters, etc.

Once you do all that then the fun begins, if you have made the food before, do you have a time frame of how long it takes? If not, do a dry run with a smaller amount of food and add about 1/2 hour of cooking/prep time for each 50 ppl.

Also see if you can find some highschool students or family friends that can do the day of catering (like platters being filled and whatnot.)

I have TONS more, but that should help you (I hope)



Post # 6
7173 posts
Busy Beekeeper

I friend of mine recently threw an anniversary party for 50-60 and she bbq’d tri tip the day before and undercooked it.  The day off, I trimmed the fat and sliced it.  She made an au jus to keep it moist and then we covered it and heated it in the oven.  It went on the tables in the chafing dishes and was moist and tender.  It was cooked all the way through and I think she wanted to keep some of it rare, but no one seemed to care.

If there is anyone you could hire to help in the kitchen, I’d STRONGLY recommend that.  I was my friend’s right hand person.  We prepped for days and even trying to do things beforehand I was SO exhausted I just wanted to sit down during the entire party.  Many hands make light work, so if you can’t go the hiring route, get as many people to help and know you (or someone) will need to be directing them (so they aren’t standing there, wondering what to do).  Make lists and give people very specific jobs.  The nice thing is friends are always willing to help!  Some just need more direction than others!

Post # 7
296 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2010

Your menu sounds delish!  Slow cooking the braised ribs would be ideal and could be done early.  Maybe you can borrow several slow cookers from family and friends  along with chafing dishes or platters?  Instead of adding dressing to salads in case they wilt, maybe set the dressing on the side so people can add it themselves to their tastes.  In case you don’t want to deal with phyllo dough, Costco and Trader Joe’s have great phyllo squares you can pop in the oven.   You will also need to share the oven with the shells though- so maybe an alternative cold appetizer would work.

Please also make sure you have someone else do the clean up!  No cleaning on wedding night!    

Post # 8
2007 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

Maybe slightly crazy but it’s still totally doable.  😉  

We did a milk can dinner for 150 people.  A family friend was in charge of cooking and a few other people chipped in chopping and whatnot.  One of the reasons it was so successful is because once everything was in the pot nothing much needed to be done after that.  I second making a list of everything that will be used and only doing dishes that can be prepared well ahead of time.  Oh, and DELEGATE.  I didn’t take into account how much time was needed to get ready and so I didn’t get to do as much as I would have liked.  The more organized you can be beforehand the better.  People will tease you about it but just ignore them.  Having everything put together day of is worth being made fun of and they will appreciate it too.  

Have you seen $2000 wedding?  If not, check out these posts:



Post # 9
21 posts

Short ribs are even better the next day – If you can, I would make them the day before, then you can skim some of the fat off before reheating… And butter and cream can do wonders for reheated mashed potatoes.

Post # 10
647 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

I second caitlanc, $2000 Wedding has some really great tips.

Post # 12
1962 posts
Buzzing bee

Question: Did you mean 300 or 3000?  Makes a big difference.  And how many people do you have coming?

Post # 13
45 posts
  • Wedding: July 2010

Hi. Where did you buy your chafing stands, etc.? 

I’m also thinking about going the route of self-catering “plus” — my venue allows any vendors so I’m thinking about getting appetizers from various places and setting them up, then having a local meat carver come to have a station of meats, etc. For dessert we will have an ice cream shop come and create sundaes for people (at $2.50 ea).  By splitting up the vendors, we’re able to come out ahead in terms of costs (actually 2x cheaper than a caterer).


Post # 14
95 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

j.grossman12, i am very interested in your clever plan to make lids for the disposable pans? ive been going between renting some to using disposable and it seems disposable would be way more cheap but i wanted a lid of some sort.

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