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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My oldest DD is getting married in May. There are 250+ people on her guest list. I'm thinking about half will actually attend the wedding. We have been looking for a caterer (that we can afford). My DD21 keeps saying that we should do the food ourselves. I can not begin to imagine doing food for that many people. I'm stressed as is it and I think I would be a total wreck the day of the wedding. Etiquette-wise, she is getting married in the late evening and we should serve a sit down dinner. When discussing foods with the caterers, it is so confusing to me because they have soooooo many choices. Can someone help me with some ideas? Is it too much for us to try to accomplish this major task by ourselves (I do have family that would help)? And what would be the most frugal foods to serve? Her finace's Aunt is making the wedding cake and groom's cake... so we don't have to worry about that part. That is her gift to them. We just need to figure out all the rest. Thanks for any help/advice!

I left out a bit of information. We are having the wedding at our home... outside...
 

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congrats on the wedding! My ds is getting married july 2nd. They are having about 100 guests.

What is the theme/feel of the wedding? Where are they having it? We have tossed around all these things ourselves, in the beginnning my ex who is a chef was going to do the food, but since he is a chef not a caterer it was going to be too stressful as he was doing it on his own not through the restaraunt he would have had to rent a lot of serving things ect and since he is the father of the groom wanted to play that role instead of chef. He will be doing some stuff for the rehersal dinner thought and is helping with the cost of a caterer.

Some venues won't allow anyone other than a caterer to do the food so you will have to check and see if that is even doable.

There are BBQ places, chicken places and deli's that do things that are more rustic than fancy and some just drop off the food and you are responsible for serving.

If you do it your self how will the food be served? Who will serve it? Depending on how fancy you will have to rent chafers and everything there are a lot of details down to salt and pepper shakers.

You don't have very long that is for sure.
 
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Dh's cousin got married last fall. The family did the wedding food. They had huge roasters of chicken, meatballs, mashed potatoes and all the things that usually go with it. It was pulled off very well. The bride had asked if anyone would be willing to help and lots of us pitched in. It was a nice gift to be able to help!

They did hire someone to keep the roasters, platters etc full and clear the plates etc. They served 150 people without a hitch!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
jas... It is an outdoor wedding at our home. One of my concerns was the fact if the food needed to be kept warm... I don't have things for that. So there again we are renting. I just keep thinking... caterer... I do want to be able to enjoy the wedding and not be stressed over the food... But I don't want to go broke doing it.
 

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jas... It is an outdoor wedding at our home. One of my concerns was the fact if the food needed to be kept warm... I don't have things for that. So there again we are renting. I just keep thinking... caterer... I do want to be able to enjoy the wedding and not be stressed over the food... But I don't want to go broke doing it.
I hear you there! Since it is at home it will/would be fine I think to have it a little less fancy. Have you checked the prices for renting the chaffers? I think here they were renting for about 20.00 each. Depending on how many items you are serving. You can go to Sams or what ever store of that type you have near and they also sell them. You can use disposable pans that hold the food and can buy the sterno there too.

I had a lot of idea for ds's wedding, but the bride had other ideas and well between my ex and her side it was thier choice. I always seem to sound cheap to them. Oh, well money does not grow on any trees in my yard. Ds was okay with anything. Just want a good party and fun. Not much into the details.
 
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From a food safety standpoint, I would not want to be responsible for feeding that many people without professional help. 50 maybe, but more than that, no way!

Can you get away with beverages/appetizers? A BBQ?

Good luck!
 
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Up here we have a grocery chain that has a florist in it. And if you buy the flowers for your wedding there, you get a discount on the food through the kitchen area. Any chance you have something similar there?

That's a lot of people to cook for and a lot of stress when you are supposed to be enjoying your daughter's day!
 

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My dd is getting married a year from May... I have a client who used to own a restaurant in town. She is going to run the kitchen for my dd's reception. Prior to the wedding, we will be preparing the food. Many of my friends are offering to help. We also expect the guest list to be around 250-350. If I were to pay a caterer for that many people and be upset with the food or service....it would make me sick. I would rather have some control of what we are doing. I am already checking into prices and figuring out dishes to be served. Keep me in your loop..I'd like to hear how your dd's wedding turns out...
 

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when my brother got married a few years ago they actually had a pot luck BUT they also hired a caterer to do the serving, cleaning and really being in charge of all aspects of the food, except cooking it. And whether you do the cooking or not you're going to have to rent plates, stem ware and flatware, unless its a very casual wedding and you're doing paper products.

I want to say there was at least 100 people there. It was an outside wedding but there was a barn on the property. The food was in the barn and they rented a tent/tables etc for everyone to sit and eat.

Believe me at first I thought the potluck idea was horrible but in the end I have to say it was one of the nicest weddings I have ever been to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
We have thought about a BBQ. And we thought maybe just appetizers, beverages and a dessert bar. People tell me that we need a sit down dinner with it being after 5:00...?
 

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We have thought about a BBQ. And we thought maybe just appetizers, beverages and a dessert bar. People tell me that we need a sit down dinner with it being after 5:00...?
No problem, provide chairs and they can sit down and eat what ever is served. They can still sit down and eat if it is buffet and is BBQ.
 
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Appetizers and dessert sound like a good idea, because frankly it sounds like you can't afford to feed 250 people a sit down dinner. And there's no reason you should go into debt doing that either. A wedding celebration should be what you can afford, not what you think your guests are expecting.

Call it a cocktail reception. Have a couple of mixed drinks (virgin if necessary) a champagne toast, and a selection of nibbles, plus the cake.

I think 5pm is early enough that people can get dinner afterward.
 

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We have thought about a BBQ. And we thought maybe just appetizers, beverages and a dessert bar. People tell me that we need a sit down dinner with it being after 5:00...?
Honestly? I wouldn't listen to people. Not everyone can afford $50,000+ for a sit-down meal. If people are that hard up for a free dinner, they should go to a soup kitchen.

The focus of a wedding should be on celebrating 2 people joining their lives, not on what is or isn't served. As long as you're completely clear in the invitation as to what they should expect, there shouldn't be an issue.

However, if you feel that you need to stick to what Emily Post says, would the couple consider adjusting the time of the wedding to suit the budget, having it at a time that doesn't "require" a sit-down dinner? Is cutting the guest list an option?

This is exactly why I eloped!
 
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Appetizers and dessert sound like a good idea, because frankly it sounds like you can't afford to feed 250 people a sit down dinner. And there's no reason you should go into debt doing that either. A wedding celebration should be what you can afford, not what you think your guests are expecting.

Call it a cocktail reception. Have a couple of mixed drinks (virgin if necessary) a champagne toast, and a selection of nibbles, plus the cake.

I think 5pm is early enough that people can get dinner afterward.
I agree with this 100%. the trend lately is to do what you want, not what the guests expect.
 

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After marrying off 3 dau's, was always told to expect about half the people invited. Plus with the last dau-exactly what the caterer did. Had about gal of gravy & corn left plus cake. So, whatever you plan to do-start now in preparations! I cooked for 2 dau's & catered the 3rd... but I did make the wedding cake. Good Luck & if you do it yourself.. you will earn your angel wings!! :) (mine sometimes gets in my way) :angel2:
 

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As a bride going through all the planning myself for this upcoming July, the only hard things I'm dealing with are DF not sharing what his exact thoughts are on the whole subject and when he does decide to share its just before I'm about to go speak to a venue - gah! The other issue I have - thanks to my selfish siblings who bucked family tradition - "I" have to do everything they conveniently chose not to do - to honour the family name etc. My dad's a bit of a bridezilla if you ask me ;) But he too blurts out something from left field and last minute and irrelevant to whatever we're all talking about. Oy.

My take on it - the focus should be on your union and commitment to each other. Not the cost or brand name of the dress, nor the food nor where its being held nor who's coming and if they're allowed to bring whomever else that you didn't invite. If you can't afford a lavish catered dinner then don't have one. What you should do is make it well noted on the invite (create another insert into the envelope if need be) of what to expect ie "cake and punch reception to follow" or "light hors doeuvres reception to follow" etc.

I researched around for all the options "I" liked for an after ceremony celebration and I honestly (and still kinda am) toying with the idea of renting a sheltered picnic site in the big local park and hiring an all in one BBQ caterer. They have their own grills, tents, paper plates & utensils etc. The only extras are drinks and servers as well as other food items not listed in their package menus. The price was pretty reasonable per person. Just ask them what their minimums are. A lot of deals are not posted on their website, which is sometimes why its best to give them a call.

If you're having the post ceremony festivities in your backyard, make that noted as well so that guests don't show up in ballgowns with stilettos - you want everyone to be somewhat prepared. This way they can dress it down a bit and wear proper shoes and not get stuck in the grass and end up twisting their ankle etc.


A wedding celebration should be what you can afford, not what you think your guests are expecting.

Call it a cocktail reception. Have a couple of mixed drinks (virgin if necessary) a champagne toast, and a selection of nibbles, plus the cake.

I think 5pm is early enough that people can get dinner afterward.
Bingo!

Honestly? I wouldn't listen to people. Not everyone can afford $50,000+ for a sit-down meal. If people are that hard up for a free dinner, they should go to a soup kitchen.

The focus of a wedding should be on celebrating 2 people joining their lives, not on what is or isn't served. As long as you're completely clear in the invitation as to what they should expect, there shouldn't be an issue.
Exactly!
 

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Honestly, Boston Market has a fantastic catering service that can include white linens and servers if desired at a very reasonable price. They offer steak, their chicken, etc. It's actually excellent food too. Do you have one locally?
 
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We had a night wedding 8 pm under a full moon. We provided cake, drinks (of all sorts), fresh fruit, other dessert type items, pasta salad, and mini tea sandwiches. We had 350+ at our wedding. Outdoors in my aunts back yard. Because it was so late no one expected a full meal but got to snack and eat something anyway. My family made everything from the cake to the decorations! You can do this! My family asked for help from friends and neighbors to help check on, keep the food area nice, and so on. They enjoyed the reception too and took turns overlooking the food. The food was almost gone but there were some leftovers of some items but not much. It went perfectly even if it was stressful making sure all was ready that day.

What time is your daughters wedding going to be? I say if it's 7 or after you don't really need to provide a full meal. If it's 6.. I think you're cutting it close. However, as long as you put what kind of reception on the invite so people know what to expect would be fine! No one says you need to provide a full meal! There are so many options out there these days.

And DON'T forget the wedding party! They will be busy most of the day. Make sure they get a meal in them early!!!!!! We had put pork and beef in a couple crock pots and made sandwiches, and other heavy side dishes out so our wedding party could eat any time of the day. I think the wedding party had more options for food than those at the wedding. I wanted to make sure that they we covered because all helped us throughout the day setting up and so on.
 

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I really like what Libby posted about enclosing an insert for light hor doeurves reception to follow:

" If you can't afford a lavish catered dinner then don't have one. What you should do is make it well noted on the invite (create another insert into the envelope if need be) of what to expect ie "cake and punch reception to follow" or "light hors doeuvres reception to follow" etc. "

If you were to do that, friends and family members can make various chips/dips, sweets, sandwiches, ham-rolls, cheese & crackers, etc. & you could have them help with the serving/replenishing. Most would feel honoured to help. If you've got a really close relative or friend, see if you can have her coordinate who will bring what so that you have plenty as well as a varied assortment. We did this for my niece's wedding & I did the coordination and it worked out wonderfully in that my sister & the groom's mom didn't have as much to worry about. Wish we would have thought of the insert though.
 
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