Food and Cakes

Full caterer vs. set up food ourselves?

We're having a barn wedding on a budget for 120 people, and we're offering a dinner buffet of informal food: fried chicken, potatoes, salads, fruit, rolls, maybe some apps like stuffed mushrooms. We'll have a beer + wine bar for 4 hours.

SO, the debate is whether to pay $1500 extra for a full-service caterer or just get food delivered, use cheap supplies (prob plastic plates, utensils), and set-up/clean-up ourselves. Fiance insists our family/friends will help prep and clean, and he's OK with plastic plates, etc. I'd rather pay someone do do the dirty work, and also get nicer plates, glasses, etc ...

Caterer or budet? Will people care if we have disposable plates (especially if the food is casual)? Any tips on further cutting buffet costs?

Re: Full caterer vs. set up food ourselves?

  • BBOCBBOC
    First Comment
    member
    edited December 2011
    How about hire a few people to do it for you. I am doing that to get th efood out keep it filled and clean up. I dont think there is anything wrong with plastic etc for informal reception.
  • edited December 2011
    Oh definitely pay to have it done, but maybe hire a few local catering students instead. Buffets really need people there to supervise - otherwise you'll end up with a mess.
  • edited December 2011
    People won't care if you have disposable plates at a casual barn wedding, but I would never count on somebody's help.  I've helped to clean up at friends' weddings, but they never indicated it was expected.  

    I would pay for the full-service, or at least pay some people to help you clean up.
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  • RebeccaB88RebeccaB88 Figment of Your Imagination
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    edited December 2011
    You and your family will want to relax and enjoy the day, and spend time with family and friends.  I would hire a crew to set up, maintain, and clean up.  I think I would try to either rent plates and silverware, or find nice plastic ones rather than paper or foam plates, but that's just me.  I hate eating off a cheap plate, being worried something will soak through or collapse on my clothes or something.  Even at our casual events we try to use sturdy stuff.
  • ravenaveryravenavery
    10 Comments
    member
    edited December 2011
    Thanks for the thoughts! I am now leaning toward nicer disposable plates, cups, etc, and hiring a couple staff to set up, clean up, and tend bar, rather than pay the full price for a full-service caterer.
  • edited December 2011
    FI and I were going to do the food ourselves but decided to find the money to get it catered. I figure we'll be a lot less stressed and we can just enjoy our day without having to prepare food and set up and take down.
  • AbbeyS2011AbbeyS2011
    1000 Comments
    member
    edited December 2011

    We are having a casual afternoon reception, but I am thinking of hiring 2-3 people to do the serving, set-up and clean-up.  FH's family is doing the food, they volunteered, which is fine, but I want them to be able to enjoy themselves at the reception instead of having to replenish everything.  I am going to hire a local church youth group or a 4-H group, which is not uncommon around here to do. 

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  • Bubblesk633Bubblesk633
    First Comment
    member
    edited December 2011
    I had a casual wedding with a caterer who offers a lot of those options, and she is reasonably priced and does a great job.  Check out gretchensgoodeats.com
  • iloveu4everiloveu4ever
    Tenth Anniversary 1000 Comments 25 Love Its
    member
    edited December 2011
    In Response to Full caterer vs. set up food ourselves?:
    We're having a barn wedding on a budget for 120 people, and we're offering a dinner buffet of informal food: fried chicken, potatoes, salads, fruit, rolls, maybe some apps like stuffed mushrooms. We'll have a beer + wine bar for 4 hours. SO, the debate is whether to pay $1500 extra for a full-service caterer or just get food delivered, use cheap supplies (prob plastic plates, utensils), and set-up/clean-up ourselves. Fiance insists our family/friends will help prep and clean, and he's OK with plastic plates, etc. I'd rather pay someone do do the dirty work, and also get nicer plates, glasses, etc ... Caterer or budet? Will people care if we have disposable plates (especially if the food is casual)? Any tips on further cutting buffet costs?
    Posted by ravenavery
    Just ask a few people to do for you. 1500 is alot of money

     
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