Food and Cakes

Wedding Appetizers & Buffet Ideas Needed!!

I'm getting married in August of 2014 and do not want to have a traditional sit down or buffet dinner. Generally in summer people don't like to have huge meals, they get full and sluggish, and I want people to mingle and dance all night. My dad is an amazing cook (better than most restaurants) so he will be doing alot of the cooking. My family including my fiance and I, and our wedding party will all be helping cook the food and prep it (That is the only help I ask of our wedding party and they agreed to help!) I want mini food (like mini sandwiches vs regular sized) make your own buffets, appetizers and finger food! We will be serving food throughout the night, so no one gets overly full or will have an empty stomach at any part of the night! We want summer friendly food (so no chilli or hot soups) but I do not want to have a bbq. We plan on having potato and pasta salads and possibly mini burger bar. What I need though are more ideas for Make-your-own buffet ideas, easy appetizers that I can prep most if not all of it the night or day before the wedding & would either be good at room temp, just out of the fridge, or maybe cook for a short period of time if necessary and finger food ideas. We want to do a lot of comfort foods. I'm running out of ideas! Recipes would be great or at least some ideas that I can run past my dad and maybe he can come up with something! Thanks

Re: Wedding Appetizers & Buffet Ideas Needed!!

  • Honestly not trying to be rude but there are very few foods that taste good at room temperature. I'd have a cold section of things on ice- like the potato salad, cheese & crackers, veggie dips, shrimp cocktail and then a hot section with those little burners under the pans but even those don't keep things very hot.

    I went to a backyard wedding last year where they ordered all the mac & cheese and potato salad from a restaurant. Then they had the father of the groom along with 3 uncles literally bbq-ing chicken the entire time during the ceremony and cocktail hour. Don't get me wrong the food was delicious but I felt so bad for the family members that literally spent their whole day cooking. Please don't do that to your dad. It's a lot more work than you think. Because unless you hire a staff- your dad and other family members are going to be the ones heating it all up, setting it all up, checking on it to make sure things aren't empty or full of flies, cleaning it all up.

  • My dad was actually insulted when I was about to hire a restaurant to cater our wedding, he really wants to do this for us. Besides the day of the wedding there will be very little for us to do since we will be doing everything the day or two before. And we do plan on hiring three servers to set everything up and take care of the food all night. So no offense, but unless you have recipe ideas for me, I don't need your opinion.
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    member
    How many people are you inviting? Is your Dad used to cooking for large crowds (meaning 50+ people)? Do you have a kitchen large enough to do all of this cooking and prep work? Do you have enough storage to keep the cold things cold and the hot things hot? Have you thought about serving platters and chaffing dishes and serving utensils? Have you thought about allergies or food issues that your guests may have (nut allergies, gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, etc)?

    And to think that there won't be a lot to do the day of is you being naive?  I have witnessed many catering companies busting their asses all day to finish the foods, get everything plated, etc before the reception starts.

    And I know you said you don't want a buffet but that is exactly what you are having.

    I know you don't want our opinions but have you really thought about all of these logistics?  And do you really want to be busting your ass in the kitchen in the days leading up to your wedding?  And food safety is a huge issue to take into account.  Catering companies know how to safely fix foods so that people don't get sick.  I am not so sure that you and your wedding party will have the same safety standards.  Unless you all plan on wearing hair nets and plastic gloves.

    Finally, I guess I must be weird but I still like me a good hearty and full meal, even in the summer time.

    RebeccaB88southernbelle0915
  • Do keep in mind that mini things and individual servings are much, much more time consuming than doing a big, easy entree like pulled pork or coq au vin. Another easy ideas is a taco bar with a variety of proteins and fixins (pulled pork, chicken, ground beef, tofu). You can also get veggie and cheese trays from your grocery store.
    csuave
  • Other than chips and salsa most things either need to be hot or cold. And unless you are having substantial apps I am going to be hungry.

    If people don't want to eat a lot at dinner then they don't have to. But you are making a big presumption that no one will want a big meal since it's summer.

    I hope someone who actually has experience catering their own wedding comes on here. I have seen posts over the years where it adds so much more stress.

  • hyechica81hyechica81
    Seventh Anniversary 1000 Comments 100 Love Its First Answer
    member
    edited December 2013
    no offense but i really think you should rethink having your family and wedding party cook food. I know your dad really wants to cook the food but he will not have time to enjoy the wedding he will be busy setting up the food replenishing, and when by the time hes done the wedding is over.

    my dad did all the cooking for my brothers stag yes he prep some stuff hours before but he still had to cook at the location. he spent the whole time cooking refilling food and he had hardly any time to mingle with family and friends.


    what about having your dad cook for your rehearsal dinner instead and hire someone to cook for you


    also the place you are having your wedding did you check to make sure they allow family to cook the food?.  a lot of places require you to be licensed by the health department  
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    member
    I think @hyechia81 idea of having your Dad cook for the rehearsal dinner is a great idea!

    emmyg65
  • Layla1212 said:
    My dad was actually insulted when I was about to hire a restaurant to cater our wedding, he really wants to do this for us. Besides the day of the wedding there will be very little for us to do since we will be doing everything the day or two before. And we do plan on hiring three servers to set everything up and take care of the food all night. So no offense, but unless you have recipe ideas for me, I don't need your opinion.


    Gee I'm sorry- when someone invites me over for a bbq or a dinner party how silly that I expect freshly prepared food and not 2 day old soggy food. Practically nothing tastes good 1-2 days later and the day of would still be a lot more than you're bargaining for. Restaurants use 1 server per 3 small tables so I doubt 3 servers would be enough. And Maggie is right about food safety, not only do I not want 2 day old food but I don't want it made my someone not wearing gloves and not properly washing utensils in between meats and things of that nature.

    So here's my "recipe idea"- frozen items like meatballs that you dump directly into a crockpot and have no fingers handling and will actually be hot.

  • chibiyuichibiyui The Boring Part of MD
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    Most comfort food that I like ( Mac and cheese, french fires, crab cake, bacon wrapped scallops, fried chicken, mashed potatoes) needs to be served warm, and as fresh as possible. It is doable* to cater your own wedding, but you might find it easier and less stressful to either do just the rehearsal dinner or maybe just a part of the reception, like, have a special app. made by your dad. 

    And of course, there's also a big difference between cooking for say, 20 people and 100 people. And venue restrictions. 

    *by doable I mean I saw one post on OB where two chefs did their own wedding and were happy, but they were professional chefs. 
    image



    Anniversary
  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!)
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    Layla1212 said:
    My dad was actually insulted when I was about to hire a restaurant to cater our wedding, he really wants to do this for us. Besides the day of the wedding there will be very little for us to do since we will be doing everything the day or two before. And we do plan on hiring three servers to set everything up and take care of the food all night. So no offense, but unless you have recipe ideas for me, I don't need your opinion.
    I would seriously reconsider this.  This sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.  Tell your dad to relax and enjoy the time with you.
  • Trust me I have considered all that it will take in order to pull this off. My fiance and I, my mom and grandma, and my fiances parents all live just down the road (as in a couple blocks away) from the hall. We all each have a couple fridge/freezers, plus we rented the hall the entire day before which has a full kitchen and large kitchen for us to use. They do not have any restrictions on food, and they know we are cooking all our own food. Foods like potato salads must be made at least one full day ahead of time in order for it to all come together, along with other things like chip dips and other recipes which our families have made a million times. My dad is used to cooking for large groups of people all the time all by himself and honestly it is like make ramen noodles for him, its that easy. I do not want your traditional buffet as in you go up once...maybe twice if there is alot left over. I want many different things throughout the night. I already have schedules made of what server does what and when, labels for the food etc. Our family is huge and we are used to making lots of food for huge groups and we live for this. We already have our rehearsal dinner planned, and we are not cooking that so we can all focus on the wedding food. We are purchasing plenty of serving trays, bowls etc besides what we already have and that goes for our utensils too. Making the food for the wedding is very important for our families, I along with others are taking off of work the week before the wedding to prep all of our kitchens, the hall and the food so that everything goes smoothly. We arent getting married until later in the evening so we will have most of the day to work on food if needed, and other than my hair and makeup there wont be anything else i need to do because everything else will be done. We have lots of large crock pots and heaters plus plan on renting large buffet dishes that keep food hot, since we will be having lots of various meats (which will all be properly cooked the day before the wedding, and prepped into the various dishes)
  • chibiyuichibiyui The Boring Part of MD
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    Layla1212 said:

    Trust me I have considered all that it will take in order to pull this off. My fiance and I, my mom and grandma, and my fiances parents all live just down the road (as in a couple blocks away) from the hall. We all each have a couple fridge/freezers, plus we rented the hall the entire day before which has a full kitchen and large kitchen for us to use. They do not have any restrictions on food, and they know we are cooking all our own food. Foods like potato salads must be made at least one full day ahead of time in order for it to all come together, along with other things like chip dips and other recipes which our families have made a million times. My dad is used to cooking for large groups of people all the time all by himself and honestly it is like make ramen noodles for him, its that easy. I do not want your traditional buffet as in you go up once...maybe twice if there is alot left over. I want many different things throughout the night. I already have schedules made of what server does what and when, labels for the food etc. Our family is huge and we are used to making lots of food for huge groups and we live for this. We already have our rehearsal dinner planned, and we are not cooking that so we can all focus on the wedding food. We are purchasing plenty of serving trays, bowls etc besides what we already have and that goes for our utensils too. Making the food for the wedding is very important for our families, I along with others are taking off of work the week before the wedding to prep all of our kitchens, the hall and the food so that everything goes smoothly. We arent getting married until later in the evening so we will have most of the day to work on food if needed, and other than my hair and makeup there wont be anything else i need to do because everything else will be done. We have lots of large crock pots and heaters plus plan on renting large buffet dishes that keep food hot, since we will be having lots of various meats (which will all be properly cooked the day before the wedding, and prepped into the various dishes)

    Best of luck to you.

    But the last thing I want to eat at a wedding is potato salad.
    image



    Anniversary
    Maggie0829huskypuppy14
  • RebeccaB88RebeccaB88 Figment of Your Imagination
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    Your plan sounds like a trainwreck. But if that's what you want for your wedding, be my guest. It's also really rude of you to ask your bridal party to cook for your guests. They are guests too.
  • hyechica81hyechica81
    Seventh Anniversary 1000 Comments 100 Love Its First Answer
    member
    edited December 2013
    i don't think i would want meat that was cooked the night before and reheated the next day, at that point i can tell it has been heated and not cooked fresh. and as for dips i know for a fact that when i make onion dip say on a saturday and then have left overs of it and pull it out sunday the dip has now become very runny.

    on the day of your wedding you should not be worrying about any kind of food you should be relaxing before you walk down the aisle. i know i am going to be busy with hair make up last minute prep for things making sure my dress undergarments are in order.

    and you said you did not want bbq at your wedding well where i am from potato salad is considered bbq food
  • This sounds like a major train wreck - especially from a food safety perspective. I also don't like the make your own bars while wearing formal wear. Just have a normal meal catered.
  • shavasanashavasana
    First Anniversary First Comment
    member
    edited December 2013
    I was considering doing something similar myself.  Here are some recipes I pinned:

    Some other ideas:
    puff pastry shells stuffed with
    -- smoked salmon, dilled cream cheese, capers
    -- brie, caramelized onions, toasted pine nuts
    -- spinach and cheese
    -- hummus with roasted red peppers, kalamata olives, cucumber, and feta in a lemon-oregano vinagrette
    -- pesto, artichoke hearts, goat cheese, and toasted pine nuts
    -- fresh figs with honey and diced panchetta

    Herbed goat cheese stuffed into cherry tomatoes, squash blossoms, mini sweet peppers, etc.

    Ultimately, I decided to serve salads instead of individual portions because the individual portions take too long to prepare and my guest list is 150+.  You should definitely try making all recipes at least once before the wedding to make sure they turn out as desired and so you can nix any that take longer to prepare than you expected.  Create a realistic plan for you prep days and build buffer into your schedule.
  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!)
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    Layla1212 said:
    Trust me I have considered all that it will take in order to pull this off. My fiance and I, my mom and grandma, and my fiances parents all live just down the road (as in a couple blocks away) from the hall. We all each have a couple fridge/freezers, plus we rented the hall the entire day before which has a full kitchen and large kitchen for us to use. They do not have any restrictions on food, and they know we are cooking all our own food. Foods like potato salads must be made at least one full day ahead of time in order for it to all come together, along with other things like chip dips and other recipes which our families have made a million times. My dad is used to cooking for large groups of people all the time all by himself and honestly it is like make ramen noodles for him, its that easy. I do not want your traditional buffet as in you go up once...maybe twice if there is alot left over. I want many different things throughout the night. I already have schedules made of what server does what and when, labels for the food etc. Our family is huge and we are used to making lots of food for huge groups and we live for this. We already have our rehearsal dinner planned, and we are not cooking that so we can all focus on the wedding food. We are purchasing plenty of serving trays, bowls etc besides what we already have and that goes for our utensils too. Making the food for the wedding is very important for our families, I along with others are taking off of work the week before the wedding to prep all of our kitchens, the hall and the food so that everything goes smoothly. We arent getting married until later in the evening so we will have most of the day to work on food if needed, and other than my hair and makeup there wont be anything else i need to do because everything else will be done. We have lots of large crock pots and heaters plus plan on renting large buffet dishes that keep food hot, since we will be having lots of various meats (which will all be properly cooked the day before the wedding, and prepped into the various dishes)
    Is this really how you and your family want to spend the days leading up to the wedding and the wedding day itself?  You (optimistically) only get married once.....can't you leave the cooking to someone else for this special day?  You have the rest of your life to cook.  Enjoy this time and don't add unnecessary stress.

    And FWIW, we got married at 6pm.  I was in the salon at 8am getting my hair done.  Between hair, travel to the venue, makeup, lunch, getting everything on, first look and immediate family photos, I had about an hour free right before the ceremony.  I couldn't imagine having to get food ready.  Or having others in my family do that.  It should be a day to relax and enjoy.  
This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards