Post # 1
Hello Bees! I have tons of questions.
We are having a casual, low budget wedding. We’re recent college grads just entering our careers and are pinching our pennies. We’ll have ~105 guests, and ~5 vendors to feed. This is non-negotiable; we can’t raise the budget or cut the list.
The cheapest catered dinner in our area is $15 per person. We love the idea of pizza, so we’ve gotten quotes from reputable wood fired pizza trucks. They look great, and I would love to make this option work. But, due to budget concerns, even $15 per person is high, despite it being super reasonable for wedding food. (We’re vegetarian, so typical cheaper options like BBQ aren’t on the table.)
In order to have fun activites and vendors like a photobooth, second shooter for our photographer, and a DJ, I’ve looked into ways to cut the budget further. It occured to me that we could feed 115 at Papa Murphy’s with take and bake pizza for less than $500, or just under $5 a head. I’ll explain the logistics below.
Can you Bees help me think through any potential problems? Realistically, how different would this be from having a professional pizza truck, other than the classy factor? (We could not care less, and neither could our guests. They’re here for a good time, not a fancy party. Really, truly, we know our people, and tackiness is not a concern.)
- Order pizzas far in advance.
- Pick up the day before the ceremony- store in the multiple fridges provided by the venue. If there is not enough space, family lives nearby and we will be renting homes/cabins nearby for family that lives out of town, and we can definitely borrow some fridge space from them.
- Bake during ceremony/cocktail hour in the two ovens provided by venue. Four racks total, so four pizzas at a time.
- Who bakes it? We have already spoken to locals who have lots of experience helping with weddings, and work for $20 an hour. We figure two people for four hours, for prep and serving cocktail hour and dinner = $320.
- Cocktail hour will have appetizers and a grazing table. (Costco and Trader Joes- I’ve done research and I think $500 for 110 people is reasonable? People have told me they paid less for the same amount of people.) Fridge space for all of that DIY food is my concern. I am collecting quotes for having catered apps so that we aren’t doing EVERYTHING ourselves. Anyone have experience with this?
- Serve in a buffet.
- We’ll need to find pizza plates (the big metal ones), DIY some labels, and do everything else to have a smooth buffet line. If any side dishes, they’ll be simple (and hopefully room temp to avoid oven/fridge issues. Suggestions?)
So…can anyone find any holes in the plan?
The questions/concerns I raised above are:
- Potentially running out of fridge space
- We do have 4+ fridges at our disposal though, two of which are idustrial, so there’s a lot of room.
- Having too much DIY food between dinner and cocktail hour
- Nothing would actually be made by us; it would be frozen food from Costco or easy-to-assemble cheese and cracker plates from Trader Joes. Still, it’s a ton of work.
- We have tons of family nearby who would be glad to help and have already offered. But we want our guests to be guests, not servers/caterers. Work done the day before is fine, but not day of.
- Caterer ONLY for appetizers? Anyone have a ballpark of what this might be per person?
- Suggestions for room-temperature side dishes or appetizers that don’t need fridge or oven space?
I know this is a ton of questions! Forgive me if I’m breaking WeddingBee ettiquite- this is my first post. 🙂
This topic was modified 2 years, 6 months ago by everwoods. Reason: Typos and clarification
Post # 2
To me, feeding guests a good meal is essential; a second photographer and photobooth are not. There IS a taste difference between Papa Murphy’s and a pizza truck, there really truly is.
Post # 3
Cut the second shooter and order real pizza. Splurging on something so unncessary but cutting out something major from the guests is backwards IMO.
eta – $15 per head is $1650 incl vendors. You’re already spending $1320 on your DIY idea. I would seriously try to cut $300 elsewhere and avoid this for the hassle and your guest experience.
Post # 4
i had 1 photog for 120 guests and it was fine. he got every shot i wanted.
if you are really pinching pennies, a photobooth and 2nd photog are not neccessary.
you can do a DIY photobooth.
or how about pizza from costco? i hear it is pretty good. we use them to cater sometimes but haven’t done pizza yet.
Post # 5
This seems like a lot of work and possible hiccups. I would cut the photobooth (this is something you could DIY), the 2nd photog, and possibly the DJ. How much does your DJ cost? Could you DIY this also and make your own playlist?
Post # 6
A couple things:
1) You always need more help than you plan on. 2 ppl doing the in/out of baking, cutting, running pizzas in and out of a back room might be too much for just 2 ppl and you run the risk of a pizza getting left behind haha. So, I’d budget for another set of hands and delegate who does what and at what times. Person A is nothing but cleanup and refills of trays, Person B assembles, Person C is on oven and miscellaneous tasks duty or however you decide to split that out
2) One thing I’ve learned with Papa Murphy’s is that my oven cooks a pizza differently from my sisters oven to literally any other oven– so I’d test out the 4 pizza theory and get the timing down perfectly, or as close as possible so you know really if it’s that lowball 12 minute oven time or closer to 20 minutes. If it IS closer to 20ish minutes per 4 pizzas, maybe go ahead and have a batch made and look at renting or using some warming lamps.
As far as app suggestions outside of the usual cheese, crackers, grapes is maybe some hummus and pita stations, a serve yourself salad bar with some pasta salad or fruit salad options, too.
Post # 7
Food is the wrong place to DIY here. So many other things you mentioned, you could DIY for a larger cost savings.
1) Photobooths are (or at least were when I got married!) expensive and are super easy to DIY. That DIY can be done in advance and makes it more personal. Also, I’ve been to a lot of weddings. I also think this is a thing no one will really care about if you cut it entirely.
2) If your venue has a good sound system, you can really get away without a dj if you have a great playlist set up. Most weddings I’ve been to have done this and as long as you have someone who can announce things and press play on the computer, it works decently well.
3) You can stil DIY apps without DIYing the whole meal if you want a compromise option. You’ll still need someone to put these out and you’ll have to manage getting them from the store, but it’s much lower risk than cooking your own pizzas.
Post # 8
Besides taste and quality and doing it professionally for a living – the main difference between your plan and those trucks is that pizza cooked in a quality wood-fired oven takes about 90 seconds. So they are churning those suckers out to keep up with demand. Those ovens run around 800 degrees and they are professionals – they can likely churn out at least 3 times as many pizzas in the same amount of time you take to cook 4 Papa Murphy’s pizzas in an oven.
I have been to those DIY weddings (one even helmed by a guy in the restaurant business who should know better) and they have been horrible. Food was poorly timed – we were waiting in line for 45 minutes and the food came out piecemeal, etc. One wedding, the bride and groom finally gave up and called three separate pizza places to get as much food as possible asap (which was appreciated, but sucked because they had an awesome heavy apps menu planned that just failed miserably due to poor planning, too little cooking space in the venue and not hiring enough catering help. 80% of their food never even it made it onto the buffet.) The other one, guests left early. Really early. I saw many of them in Taco Bell, which is where we all stopped on the way home.
Food is not the place to skimp. There are three things people remember about weddings – good food and drink, good music, and good surroundings (as in everyone has a seat and it isn’t too hot, cold, rainy, windy, or hilly). People don’t care about photo booths if they are hungry. Your wedding will be remembered for all the wrong reasons if you don’t have well-organized food and plenty of it.
Post # 9
I think food is one of the most (if not the most) important parts of the reception. Nothing kills a party faster than hungry people. The best DJ or photobooth in the world won’t make guests have a great time if they’re hungry.
I think you are discounting how much work baking/serving pizza for 100+ people is. You’d need all the pizza to be pretty much ready at the same time and be hot. Guessing it takes 15 minutes for the pizzas to bake, you can make 4 per batch and about 16 per hour, for about 130 slices per hour. I think you prob need to assume 2-3 slices per person, which means you’d need about 2 hours to bake all the pizzas. I don’t know how you would keep the first 4 pizzas hot while the rest bake. Plus, you will start running out very quickly on the buffet line and you will need more than 2 people to be running new, hot pizzas out to refill the line.
Plus, if only 2 people are helping, one person is running to a cottage to get the other pizzas while the other one is doing all the apps, serving the food, baking the pizzas….I just don’t see how it works.
If dinner ends up running long, because they are still baking/putting out the pizzas, you’re wasting DJ time and DJ money. I don’t think most people would dance while they waited for dinner, they’d probably just sit at the tables or stand in the buffet line.
IDK if any of your guests are GF/DF, but that could also be an issue.
My best suggestion would be find more money in your catering budget by cutting somewhere else (DJ, photobooth, etc).
I think a vegetarian pasta from somewhere local (even like a papa romanos) with salad and breadsticks could be a really affordable option that requires 0 prep and can just sit in warming ovens/on bunson burners or in the fridge while you wait for dinner. It’s easy to refill a pan of pasta or salad or put out a new bread basket (bread baskets could even be on the table to eliminate that part).
Post # 10
I love pizza, especially Papa Murphy’s actually but it sounds like a logistcal nightmare. a DJ and photobooth are not necessary, I’d cut them and do something different for food.
Post # 11
You’re better off just buying frozen pizzas if you’re going that route. It’ll be cheaper. I would not be pleased if I got any sort of pizza at a wedding, especiazlly delivery pizza.
Post # 12
We didn’t have a low budget wedding, but we skipped the second shooter, photobooth, and DJ anyway. IMO they’re all totally unnecessary. I’d certainly cut those things before you cut back on food.
Our photographer didn’t have a second shooter and he got every shot we wanted. It wasn’t even a compromise on our part, he just said, “normally I shoot by myself” and we trusted him. He came through 110%.
We opted not to do a photobooth — but if you want one you can DIY a selfie station easily and cheaply.
We DIY’d our playlists and borrowed professional speakers. One person was in charge of setting up speakers and queueing up the music. It all went smoothly.
Post # 13
- Wedding: August 2018 - Location
No this is not acceptable. Is your only food option pizza?
I have never seen photobooths even be used that much at the weddings I’ve been to, it is a waste of money if you can’t properly feed your guests.
Post # 14
I loove pizza, but as another poster said – it sounds like a logistical nightmare.
Serving over 100 people ANYTHING all at the same time requires a lot of coordination and specific timing. 2 people with no catering experience is not going to cut it. It’s not about it being tacky, it’s about it being cooked properly/still warm/served in a timely fashion etc.
You can still go with something cheaper and simple, but let professional caterers handle it. The other extras (emphasis on the word extras) you mentioned are much easier to DIY than the food.
Post # 15
Love pizza. Did pizza at my wedding. Hire professionals.
No one will care about a second photographer or photo booth. Dj would be nice. But a lack of timely food? Really problematic.