Food and Cakes

Heavy Appetizer Quantity Question

My wedding is in a few weeks (less than 3) and we were wondering how many people should we tell the caterer since we think we will have too much food. We are doing a heavy appetizer wedding (I personally hate plated meals and love the various options) that will be open for 3 hours of the reception.

This is all that we are having. We have 142 people and 4 kids. I am not counting my grandparents because they refuse to eat anything but ice cream (seriously this is what they told me)...

All are 3 (what the caterer says is generous amounts) pieces each:
Sausage pinwheels
Pulled pork sliders (with BBQ sauce on the side) 
Mini Chicken Kabobs
Hot stuffed banana peppers
Pierogies (v)
grilled vegetables (v)
stuffed mushrooms (half v, other half crab)

Our friends of friends are chefs at a nice restaurant and are making us tacos (our favorite food and originally we were just going  to have this but I thought it would be too stressful for them and not enough)

there are 3 tacos per person (the choices are:  I told them we have 6 vegetarians)
pork
veggie
beef
chicken

They are also having nachos and homemade salsa, tostadas, and I guess soup, all for 6 dollars per person (yay chef friends). I think they might have rice and beans I need to double check

For dessert, we are having a dessert station
sheet cake
cheesecake (6 kinds)
pies (4 kinds)
brownies
buckeyes
cookies (6 kinds)
Brusters Ice cream is coming for 2 hours

So most people that know this think it's a ton of food. I was originally worried it was not enough. We were thinking of potentially going -10 under for the heavy appetizer caterer if we have so many options. Right now that gives us 21 heavy appetizers per person, 3 tacos (he said maybe 4), and all the other desserts, etc. 

Would telling her -10  of our actual number be okay (She also said do not count kids, they don't eat enough for anything, well minus ice cream). We also have my grandparents, one person who can't eat anything but broth due to surgery.  We are packing up all the leftovers (minus the desserts, everyone is taking them home) and putting it in our freezers. 

Thanks! T-minus 3 weeks and I am so stressed. 

Re: Heavy Appetizer Quantity Question

  • edited September 18
    Karifaith said:
    My wedding is in a few weeks (less than 3) and we were wondering how many people should we tell the caterer since we think we will have too much food. We are doing a heavy appetizer wedding (I personally hate plated meals and love the various options) that will be open for 3 hours of the reception.

    This is all that we are having. We have 142 people and 4 kids. I am not counting my grandparents because they refuse to eat anything but ice cream (seriously this is what they told me)...

    All are 3 (what the caterer says is generous amounts) pieces each:
    Sausage pinwheels
    Pulled pork sliders (with BBQ sauce on the side) 
    Mini Chicken Kabobs
    Hot stuffed banana peppers
    Pierogies (v)
    grilled vegetables (v)
    stuffed mushrooms (half v, other half crab)

    Our friends of friends are chefs at a nice restaurant and are making us tacos (our favorite food and originally we were just going  to have this but I thought it would be too stressful for them and not enough)

    there are 3 tacos per person (the choices are:  I told them we have 6 vegetarians)
    pork
    veggie
    beef
    chicken

    They are also having nachos and homemade salsa, tostadas, and I guess soup, all for 6 dollars per person (yay chef friends). I think they might have rice and beans I need to double check

    For dessert, we are having a dessert station
    sheet cake
    cheesecake (6 kinds)
    pies (4 kinds)
    brownies
    buckeyes
    cookies (6 kinds)
    Brusters Ice cream is coming for 2 hours

    So most people that know this think it's a ton of food. I was originally worried it was not enough. We were thinking of potentially going -10 under for the heavy appetizer caterer if we have so many options. Right now that gives us 21 heavy appetizers per person, 3 tacos (he said maybe 4), and all the other desserts, etc. 

    Would telling her -10  of our actual number be okay (She also said do not count kids, they don't eat enough for anything, well minus ice cream). We also have my grandparents, one person who can't eat anything but broth due to surgery.  We are packing up all the leftovers (minus the desserts, everyone is taking them home) and putting it in our freezers. 

    Thanks! T-minus 3 weeks and I am so stressed. 

    Just tell the caterers the truth about what you are having and let them figure it out. They are professionals and this is why you are paying them.

    edited to quote
    ILoveBeachMusicInLoveInQueensahoyweddingMesmrEwe
  • I do hope you have made plans for any guests who cannot walk around carrying a plate of food from different locations.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    InLoveInQueensahoywedding
  • I would also recommend being upfront with the caterers and let them figure it out. They're the professionals and will know how to adjust. 
    ahoywedding
  • Does your caterer know you are bringing in other food? I would think that would cause issues with their insurance. A lot put in their contracts that they are the only caterers present, both for liability and financial reasons.
    InLoveInQueensahoyweddingMairePoppyMesmrEwe
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs
    5000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    Give the caterer the actual number of guests.

    I know kids who eat twice as much as I do.  Do not discount kids and their appetites.

    Will your guests understand the concept of the reception menu?  Will they skip some appetizers thinking a dinner is yet to come?  Will they be able to see/know their complete food options from the onset of the reception?

    Regardless of menu selection, will every guest have the opportunity to sit while they eat?
    ahoywedding
  • No. Tell the caterer how many people you are having. All. Including your grandparents and that one person who won't eat. Don't second guess the professional you hired to be responsible for this. 
    InLoveInQueensahoywedding
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado
    Moderator Tenth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    mod
    I would say 142 (minus the kids).   Some people will eat more of certain items over others.  I wouldn't want to run out of a certain item because I wanted to save a few bucks.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
    ahoywedding
  • KarifaithKarifaith
    First Comment First Anniversary
    member
    edited September 19
    They are all in one room like a normal buffet!
  • Yes! They didn't mind at all and offered to help serve it. The caterers know how many tacos etc and what they are bringing. 
  • Yes all the guests know it's a heavy appetizer menu instead of plated (it's on the invitation and website). They all know me and know I hate plated so it's not a big deal. And it's like a normal wedding. I just hate the stuffiness of sitting at an assigned table. It's in a room like a normal buffet and they sit down in one of the tables in the room whenever they want to eat. I actually went to a wedding just like this and everyone loved it! 
  • Yeah, she told me don't count kids unless they are 14-year-old boys. I'll talk to her once I talk to my friends about what exactly they are making and see what she says. Thankfully she isn't out to make more money off situations and wants to do what's best for us so I definitely trust her. Thanks, everyone!
  • Most people know the menu, but regardless the menu is written out in the program (it looks like an old newspaper). Plus, everyone knows I'm very anti-tradition and do what I want so everyone is definitely prepared for the heavy appetizer, mingle wedding. I am definitely not worried about that. Just having an extreme amount of food. The last wedding I went to all they had was cheese and crackers for the cocktail and a plated meal with a meat, potato, veggie and everyone seemed full, plus no one touched the cupcakes. Which I actually 2nd shoot weddings and this is, unfortunately, more normal than not. 

  • I would tell them your correct headcount.  You will always have people that eat more, people that eat less, etc.  Who knows, some might get dropped or discarded after a bite.  It seems like much of what you have on your menu freezes well, and you already said you are packing leftovers up to take home.  So, you might have a few more pierogies in your freezer than you anticipated. . . . win, win.

    Also, if you find you have a ton of extras, you can always have people over for a casual get-together the next day and serve them.

    Karifaithahoyweddingcharlotte989875
  • CMGragainCMGragain
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 25 Answers
    member
    edited September 19
    Karifaith said:
    Most people know the menu, but regardless the menu is written out in the program (it looks like an old newspaper). Plus, everyone knows I'm very anti-tradition and do what I want so everyone is definitely prepared for the heavy appetizer, mingle wedding. I am definitely not worried about that. Just having an extreme amount of food. The last wedding I went to all they had was cheese and crackers for the cocktail and a plated meal with a meat, potato, veggie and everyone seemed full, plus no one touched the cupcakes. Which I actually 2nd shoot weddings and this is, unfortunately, more normal than not. 

    Tradition is not important at a wedding.  Your guests comfort and convenience is.  My only thought is that there might be guests (like me) who cannot walk around and mingle easily, especially if they are carrying a plate of food.  Do you have chairs and tables for everyone?  This is a must.  Many people cannot stand for long periods of time.  Your menu sounds fine to me.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    InLoveInQueensMesmrEwe
  • KarifaithKarifaith
    First Comment First Anniversary
    member
    edited September 19
    Yes, it's a normal venue like any other wedding, just they have the option to go outside and play yard games if they want (and many tables outside). The only difference is I am not forcing people to sit down at the same time and the heavy appetizer wedding. It would be no different than weddings that do a buffet style, just different varieties of food versus 4. We also have more chairs and tables than the total amount of people so people aren't necessarily forced to sit by people they don't' want to (which I hate personally). My only question was about the amount of food being too much since everyone I am talking to think it is a lot of food. 
  • kaos16 said:

    I would tell them your correct headcount.  You will always have people that eat more, people that eat less, etc.  Who knows, some might get dropped or discarded after a bite.  It seems like much of what you have on your menu freezes well, and you already said you are packing leftovers up to take home.  So, you might have a few more pierogies in your freezer than you anticipated. . . . win, win.

    Also, if you find you have a ton of extras, you can always have people over for a casual get-together the next day and serve them.

    All good points! I know when you do a mingle theme wedding, which is more common in the south, you have to have more food, because, like house parties, people tend to eat more if it's out for longer periods of time, well and drunk.  Thanks for the input! I pack my soon-to-be husband's lunch every day so he can just eat leftovers for a long time (also a win, win for at least me), ha, now I just have to figure out how much tupperware I might need!
    charlotte989875
  • Here's what you do for number of people. Tally up your RSVPs and give your caterer the # of adults, the # of "14 year old boys", and the # of children. 

    Not only are they professionals who can figure out quantities, but they are likely also providing your plates and utensils. Being short on those things because you thought it would be a good idea to pay for fewer guests than are actually in attendance would be a shame.
    *********************************************************************************

    image
    STARMOON44ahoyweddingcharlotte989875InLoveInQueens
  • PPs have it covered. Tell them the correct number of guests; they do this for a living and can estimate correctly. I would tell them the number of adults vs. children, in case it's less expensive for kids meals. It's MUCH better to have leftover food than to run out! Plus you don't want them to short you plates/cups/utensils. 

    Also it's good you have enough tables & chairs for everyone to sit at once if they want. We went to a wedding a few weeks ago that had apps for dinner and there was a. not enough food and b. like 3 tables for probably 60 people. It was miserable to hold a glass and plate and try to eat. 

    (And FWIW, I've been to a ton of weddings in "the south" and only one of them was this "mingle" style.)
    charlotte989875InLoveInQueensILoveBeachMusicjustsie
  • PPs have it covered. Tell them the correct number of guests; they do this for a living and can estimate correctly. I would tell them the number of adults vs. children, in case it's less expensive for kids meals. It's MUCH better to have leftover food than to run out! Plus you don't want them to short you plates/cups/utensils. 

    Also it's good you have enough tables & chairs for everyone to sit at once if they want. We went to a wedding a few weeks ago that had apps for dinner and there was a. not enough food and b. like 3 tables for probably 60 people. It was miserable to hold a glass and plate and try to eat. 

    (And FWIW, I've been to a ton of weddings in "the south" and only one of them was this "mingle" style.)
    I second making sure you have enough seating for everyone to sit down in one place at one time. Since you are not doing assigned seating, that would mean providing about 10-15% more chairs then you have RSVPs. 

    I also agree with all the other PPs, tell the caterers the numbers and let them use their experience to dictate amount. Always better to have more than you need then not enough. 
    image
    InLoveInQueenssouthernbelle0915
  • Your menu sounds fine - IMO give the caterer the proper guest count because when it comes to food it is ALWAYS better to have more than enough (possibly leftovers) than it is to run out!  Yes, count the grandparents even if they say they'll only eat Ice Cream, they may turn in to competitive eaters when they actually are standing in front of the food!  AND, you're going to want to find out the caterer's policy if the guests arrive famished and over-consume!  

    Years ago I remember a couple hired in a caterer for an app reception only to run out of food about 1/3 of the way through the guests - who were PO'd something fierce and blaming the hall for the oversight when it was the B&G who didn't plan ahead for guests being hungry at meal time and only hired the caterer to serve a limited amount of apps.  I've NEVER seen caterers literally RUN out of a venue like they did that night for fear of getting the heck beat out of them because of not remotely enough food LOL...  
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