(Closed) Self Catering a Reception

posted 9 years ago in Food
Post # 3
2853 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

How many people are you talking about? 

In general, what comes to mind is as many dishes that are makeahead and forgiving as possible – baked pastas, like a veggie lasagna and turkey tetrazzini might be good choices. Small sandwiches with shrimp salad, curried chicken salad. Shell out for really good artisan bread and butter if you can. 

Regardless of the number, enlist a small army of people to help you transport things. You’re going to be crazy busy day of.

Post # 4
1733 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2012


Post # 5
881 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2012

Definitely something that has to do with pasta, breads, etc. Maybe a nice chicken parmesan? Cocktail shrimp? Cheese and crackers platter? Chocolate covered strawberries? Veggie trays?

Post # 6
802 posts
Busy bee

Definitely recruit friends and family to help you cook, and plan your cooking agenda well. What you want to cook first, and what you need to cook last … Obviously plan well for the hot foods served in the chafers, but perhaps also serve some cold foods that can also be very pretty. 

Cold foods: I think that pesto usually travels well. When fiance and I travel, I usually make a pesto cream pasta with veggies like tomatoes, basil, mushrooms, corn, and grated parmesan. It’s great hot … but it’s also great cold! Shrimp cocktail is definitely nice, small pinwheels can look very pretty as well. Gourmet sandwiches like salmon and goat cheese with avocado and tomato on pumpernickel. You can quarter them on the diagonal and stick a cute toothpick in each one. 

Make a signature salad. When I was in college, we’d always have an outdoor barbeque on convocation day and they always had the same salad that I absolutely love. Fresh sliced strawberries, dried blueberries, sliced almonds, mixed greens, and maple balsamic vinaigrette. I love that salad so much, that when I graduated and couldn’t have it anymore, I made it myself. I’m thinking about doing that, or doing a mixed green salad with grilled peaches, pecans, and blue cheese in honey-dijon dressing. 

Meat: How about beef beef bourguignon? You can use pearl onions and baby carrots, and serve it with brown rice. It’s easier than doing a beef roast, which you could also do. Just preslice it and layer in the serving pans, and serve the au jus or gravy in a separate pitcher. 

Veggies: Seasonal veggies are the best. Asparagus can be very elegant, fiddleheads are very interesting. I love fava/broad beans. 

Have a bread station? Do a mix of bought bread, and bake some yourself. Everyone loves a soft dinner roll. http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/monday-morning-potato-rolls-bread-10000001880028/ I made these for Thanksgiving, instead of making the loaf I just made them all rolls. They’re incredibly soft and stay that way. Accesorize the bread station with pretty olive oil, and balsamic vinegar bottles, and maybe some gourmet butter, like garlic butter that you can also make yourself. 

Are you open to a multi-ethnic buffet spread? You could serve chicken satay skewers with a peanut dipping sauce, marinated kalbi short ribs, and paella. 

Post # 7
9 posts

@rvhammon:  If you have never self-catered an event, you may find you are in over your head. It takes a huge amount of time and someone/ones will be virtually tied to the kitchen all evening and not get to enjoy the ceremony or reception. They may miss the ceremony because they are getting ready for the reception, then they spend the reception in the kitchen.

Have you considered doing tray-passed hors d’oeuvres early in the reception then following with a lighter meal? Pasta, though it travels well, is definitely not black tie, nor are sandwiches. You may need to either change the black tie to something less formal or rethink your menu. Black tie and self-catering simply do not go together and it is very difficult to pull off well.

Post # 8
210 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

Also to throw this out there, self-catering doesn’t always equal less money. It is a huge stress and emotional job and it takes beyond the amount of work and logistics than meets the eye. Not only the amount of man power it takes to make a large amount of food all at once, (and to get it to your location), but you now will need to look into renting or buying all the serving ware and those chaffing dishes, and do you have access to a kitchen that can handle all of the prep?


Please really research and look into before you decided on this because, if you don’t find the challenge of this fun and exciting, it will become a huge stress. Its your wedding! If you dont find the idea of spend all night the day before you wedding in the kitchen fun, maybe start looking into other options.

Post # 9
61 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

One thing to be aware of for hot food, is if you are using crock pots to keep stuff warm that uses a ton of electricity so you might end up blowing a fuse.  I would definietely check that out before commiting to hot food or find a different heating method.


The topic ‘Self Catering a Reception’ is closed to new replies.

Find Amazing Vendors