Wedding Cakes & Food Forum

Chili buffet

I'm getting married in January and we are on a budget with the food. Would it be ok if we made several pots of chili and have a chili buffet with cheese and crackers? I like the idea, but some people have made snide comments about it. I need a an objective pov.

Re: Chili buffet

  • It will be me, my mother and mother in law making it.
    monniiauddii
  • I think it's fine, so long as it matches the formality and budget of other items (for instance you're not serving me chili in a decked out ballroom with expensive flowers and wearing an expensive dress because your vision didn't have any more money left - it's not technically wrong, but feels like your guests were afterthoughts). There's a lot you could do with it, too, with additional toppings, corn bread or chips, etc. Just make sure you have a veggie option and maybe a poultry based variation.

    I do, however, strongly caution you against self-catering or having family do it, if your plan originally involved that. Your family deserves to enjoy the party, not work it. And you need to realistically assess if that is something you can handle - cooking for a large crowd right before your wedding. Grocery stores or restaurants offer lots of affordable catering options - hire someone to take care of setup, cleanup, etc. Make sure it is someone who is knowledgeable about food safety and keeping things at the proper temperature. No one wants to remember your wedding as the time they got a horrible case of food poisoning.
    ShesSoColdOliveOilsMomBlue_BirdPrettyGirlLost
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    It might be tough to only have one kind of chili.  I know that my H wouldn't eat the chili, mostly due to the beans and depending on the heat factor - his stomach can't tolerate spicy foods.  So in addition to potentially different chili options (poultry and vegetarian), is there something else you could have that would be easy?  Some trays of deli meats and rolls?  Soup?

    I think your idea could be a good, just needs to get drawn out more.  Different chili options, a non-chili option, a person to oversee the food and clean up, etc.

  • MGPMGP member
    Knottie Warrior 500 Love Its 500 Comments Name Dropper
    edited October 2015
    It will be me, my mother and mother in law making it.

    Please explain why you think you family's time is better spent cooking for your wedding than enjoying your wedding and their roles as mother of the bride and mother of the groom. Why would you want to put that burden on them? 

    Do everyone a favor, take the high road, and hire a caterer.
    redoryxMesmrEweOliveOilsMomsparklepants41
  • MGP said:
    It will be me, my mother and mother in law making it.

    Please explain why you think you family's time is better spent cooking for your wedding than enjoying your wedding and their roles as mother of the bride and mother of the groom. Why would you want to put that burden on them? 

    Do everyone a favor, take the high road, and hire a caterer.
    This. Surely you have a local restaurant (BBQ joint perhaps?) that can provide pots of chili/soup and some bread/sides/toppings for a very reasonable price.
    image
  • I second having another soup option. My family does chili, potato soup, a veggie tray, a meat/cheese tray, and assorted rolls for the holidays to cut down on cooking - perhaps do something like that? It gives some milder options for those who don't like spicy stuff or your vegetarians. 

    As for doing it yourself - Panera Bread caters, maybe look into that so you're not stuck cooking the day before.
  • How many people? How will the chili be stored? How will it be kept at a safe temperature during the wedding? What about vegetarians or other dietary restrictions?


    ETA: When will this chili be cooked? Who will serve it? Who will clean up during/after? How will it be transported the day of? How will the toppings be kept at a safe temperature?
    All of this.

    I love the idea of a chili bar in January. If people are sneering at it, they can bring a sack lunch and shove it.

    However, its easy to just make a ton of chili, freeze it and then thaw it for an event (and you should do that by yourself, not asking VIPs to help). But there are a ton of other logistics to consider. None of your guests should be working the day of your wedding. Especially your VIPs. And food safety is a real concern.

    As a compromise, what about having Panera or some local place cater a soup bar? That wouldn't be too expensive and guests wouldn't have to work.
    *********************************************************************************

    image
  • MesmrEweMesmrEwe member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited October 2015

    Unless you, Mom, and/or MIL are a Catering manager or Food manager - please reconsider DIY for the food unless your group is small (under 30).  A big ole' AMEN!!!  to the PP who pointed out all things food safety and handling!  But the bigger thing, please don't make your Moms work at your wedding, let them attend and enjoy themselves.  It's one thing if you've got a cousin who works as a school lunch lady and you want to pay them to take care of the meal for you, it's another to ask someone who should be there relaxing and enjoying themselves to work.  Many caterers offer a budget option.  Sometimes restaurants will hire out to cater an event and provide a couple staff to put it out and clean up for a small fee.  These are services that are worth it on so many levels. 

    As for chili - while many love chili please consider a couple alternatives such as a party sub from Subway, or hotdogs that people can eat plain or add the chili to.  Kids and many people cannot handle the "heat" from chili, so having some form of alternative is important.  I had a meeting where the organizer chose chili thinking it'd be somewhat neutral - turns out only about 1/3 of the people could actually eat it because of digestive issues, allergies (pepper, tomato, dairy - if cheese is put on it, wheat, etc.), vegetarians, gluten free, etc.

  • Ugh. I hate chili. Even if you had a catered chili bar, I'd be leaving early to get a dinner I could enjoy if I were at this wedding. There's a reason we generally give guests 2-4 entree options, and don't just suppose that everyone likes the same thing. Would you have a back up plan for picky eaters or those who can't handle spice?
  • What time of day is your wedding?  How formal is your wedding?  Where will the reception be held?  How many people are expected?
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • edited October 2015
    We are also having a January wedding and will be having chili at the reception. We are also having a vegetable soup (minus meat for my vegetarian family) and possibly a chicken noodle soup. We are also having meat and cheese trays with homemade Amish bread. I'm taking time off from work and plan on making this in advance and freezing it. Our venue has a kitchen so we can reheat easily and transfer to crock pots. My event planner will oversee keeping everything stocked up so the burden is off family.

    I too have received snide comments so I know where you are coming from. If they won't attend because of what is being served, I'd rather they not be there anyway...

    Good luck with your planning!
  • It will be me, my mother and mother in law making it.


    ***BOXES***

    Obviously, OP hasn't replied to anyone's comments yet, but it sounds to me like the 3 of them are just making the chili - not necessarily serving/set-up/clean-up at the wedding. Who knows though; that could be the case.

    Also, when my brother got married they asked me to make chocolate-covered pretzels for their candy bar. I was actually really happy they asked me because it was nice to feel like I helped them out with their big day and it was one less thing for them to worry about. I think if the chili is made on a day that her mother and MIL have no other obligations and are not paying for the ingredients (unless that Is their arrangement) then I don't see anything wrong with 3 family members coming together to make the meal. But that is ONLY if they are not doing anything else beyond that (setting it up, serving it, cleaning up, etc) and if they are truthful in their feelings that they don't mind making it together.


  • MGPMGP member
    Knottie Warrior 500 Love Its 500 Comments Name Dropper
    edited October 2015
    Jax43615 said:
    It will be me, my mother and mother in law making it.


    ***BOXES***

    Obviously, OP hasn't replied to anyone's comments yet, but it sounds to me like the 3 of them are just making the chili - not necessarily serving/set-up/clean-up at the wedding. Who knows though; that could be the case.

    Also, when my brother got married they asked me to make chocolate-covered pretzels for their candy bar. I was actually really happy they asked me because it was nice to feel like I helped them out with their big day and it was one less thing for them to worry about. I think if the chili is made on a day that her mother and MIL have no other obligations and are not paying for the ingredients (unless that Is their arrangement) then I don't see anything wrong with 3 family members coming together to make the meal. But that is ONLY if they are not doing anything else beyond that (setting it up, serving it, cleaning up, etc) and if they are truthful in their feelings that they don't mind making it together.


    Disagree if you want, but I think it's inappropriate for a couple to have their parents/elders help with things like this.  It is not the time or the place.  Hear me out.  I am safely assuming the OP and her fiance have a good relationship and a normal family dynamic with their parents which (again safely assuming) means these women worked extremely hard to raise good children.  That includes the sleepless nights, diapers, picking up toys, curfews, teenage years, mentoring, moral/ethical/spiritual guidance, guiding them through and possibly paying for their education, and thousands upon thousands of meals.

    If anyone deserves a break, it's them.  If the couple can't pull off the wedding without their help, they need to adjust their expectations and change their plans.

    I love my daughter more than life itself.  But guess what I will NOT be doing on her wedding day?  Working.

    MesmrEwe
  • I think having a Chili Bar with serval types of chili or other soups and sides is a great idea! Keep in mind that if you do it yourself, to have it prepped in advance so that you and your family aren't running around the day of trying to get everything together. Chili freezes well so you can make it in advance and have it cooked up (maybe by a hired caterer?) during the ceromony.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited October 2015
    I do not do chili.  Between the heat and beans, well lets say it's not good.  

    Anyway I think it's a good start for a January wedding. In general, the more people you have the more options you should have.  So  I vote to expand the menu to make it a soup/chilli bar.     Add in different chilis (meat, veggie/vegan, bean). Then add some soups.  Maybe chicken and dumplings, vegetable soup, baked potato soup.   

     Thrown in some breads for dipping and I think it would turn out real nice.
    image


    image
    image











    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. 
    knottie2b256f5c2ae42586HeffalumpOliveOilsMomspockforprez
  • **Why boxes?? Ugh**

    @MGP , I don't think it would be right for them to provide any sort of service ON the actual wedding day. I'm also safely assuming that the OP will have the consideration to prep the chili well enough beforehand to where her mother and MIL are not inconvenienced by helping OP out...if they honestly WANT to help her out.

    I agree with you that they should not be working on the wedding day.
    PrettyGirlLost
  • MGPMGP member
    Knottie Warrior 500 Love Its 500 Comments Name Dropper
    edited October 2015
    Jax43615 said:

    **Why boxes?? Ugh**

    @MGP , I don't think it would be right for them to provide any sort of service ON the actual wedding day. I'm also safely assuming that the OP will have the consideration to prep the chili well enough beforehand to where her mother and MIL are not inconvenienced by helping OP out...if they honestly WANT to help her out.

    I agree with you that they should not be working on the wedding day.
    Yeah, but who wants to eat chili that was prepped days beforehand regardless of who made it? I really don't care if I am coming off as a pretentious snob, but homemade food for a wedding is just kind of gross to me. It is a formal event, the formality of the food (read: CATERED) should reflect that. A non-perishable favor? I can be on board with that. The main course? Not so much.

    ETA - being an adult means handling things on your own. Just because someone offers doesn't mean you have to take them up on it. My sweet MIL would have mopped floors at our wedding if asked or needed, but I have enough love and respect for her to have left that up to paid staff. Weddings are not a time or place to have your loved ones work - before, during, or after.
  • @MGP

    I would think that chili prepped and frozen would keep well for a few days. I'm not talking about making it months in advance or anything; but I understand what you are saying about matching the formality of the event with the main course. However, we don't know much about the wedding, so maybe chili is very fitting for the style of venue and overall feel of the wedding day. Perhaps something more casual is going to suit their budget and guests better; but I know just as much as everyone else on this post about OP's wedding day, so, again, who knows.

    And I guess I just disagree with you about someone offering and not taking them up on it. If I were making chili for my wedding and a friend/family member offered to help, I would probably accept their offer. Same goes if someone offered to help me address envelopes or put together favors.

    Would I ask for help? Most likely not; I don't see a situation in which I would need to since I'm pretty good at time management and planning, and I'm pretty independent and like to do things on my own. But, for this situation, we don't know if MOB/MIL offered or if they were asked to help. I think therein lies whether or not it is ok if they help.

    Sidenote: I wouldn't have anyone mop up after my wedding either.

    ILoveBeachMusicPrettyGirlLostOliveOilsMomspockforprez
  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    MGP said:
    Jax43615 said:
    It will be me, my mother and mother in law making it.


    ***BOXES***

    Obviously, OP hasn't replied to anyone's comments yet, but it sounds to me like the 3 of them are just making the chili - not necessarily serving/set-up/clean-up at the wedding. Who knows though; that could be the case.

    Also, when my brother got married they asked me to make chocolate-covered pretzels for their candy bar. I was actually really happy they asked me because it was nice to feel like I helped them out with their big day and it was one less thing for them to worry about. I think if the chili is made on a day that her mother and MIL have no other obligations and are not paying for the ingredients (unless that Is their arrangement) then I don't see anything wrong with 3 family members coming together to make the meal. But that is ONLY if they are not doing anything else beyond that (setting it up, serving it, cleaning up, etc) and if they are truthful in their feelings that they don't mind making it together.


    Disagree if you want, but I think it's inappropriate for a couple to have their parents/elders help with things like this.  It is not the time or the place.  Hear me out.  I am safely assuming the OP and her fiance have a good relationship and a normal family dynamic with their parents which (again safely assuming) means these women worked extremely hard to raise good children.  That includes the sleepless nights, diapers, picking up toys, curfews, teenage years, mentoring, moral/ethical/spiritual guidance, guiding them through and possibly paying for their education, and thousands upon thousands of meals.

    If anyone deserves a break, it's them.  If the couple can't pull off the wedding without their help, they need to adjust their expectations and change their plans.

    I love my daughter more than life itself.  But guess what I will NOT be doing on her wedding day?  Working.

    You are assuming that OP asked her family to help.  Perhaps they offered to help.  Nothing wrong with that.

    Taking the food out of it, because I think self catering a wedding is a bit much, I don't have any issues with couples who accept help if it is offered.

    Many of my guests offered to make cookies for my wedding, which is a regional/cultural tradition in my town.  I gladly accepted those offers. . . the best part of getting married is the cookie table!  My mother and SIL offered to make my wedding cake, and I also gladly accepted that offer.  Not only would it have deeply offended them if I had purchased a cake, most wedding cakes in my experience are dry and don't taste that great, on top of being way overpriced.

    However, I'd never come right out and ask anyone to help me with something as substantial as catering the entire meal.

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


    knottie2b256f5c2ae42586
  • Thank you all for your input. I didn't really go into much detail about everything. We will be having a fairly small wedding with only family members and very little close friends. We were going to have different chillis and veggie soup. It will be more like a buffet, that way the guests can go up and get as much or as little as they want. As for making my family work during the reception, my mother and in law were the ones who volunteered to do the cooking. I already discussed this with them. Also, I am currently in cooking school and so I know about food safety and we are going to take precautions.
    knottie2b256f5c2ae42586
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Thank you all for your input. I didn't really go into much detail about everything. We will be having a fairly small wedding with only family members and very little close friends. We were going to have different chillis and veggie soup. It will be more like a buffet, that way the guests can go up and get as much or as little as they want. As for making my family work during the reception, my mother and in law were the ones who volunteered to do the cooking. I already discussed this with them. Also, I am currently in cooking school and so I know about food safety and we are going to take precautions.
    If you are in cooking school, then I would hire some of your classmates to be the ones who do clean up, heating up, etc for the day.  That way your mom and FMIL don't need to worry about it.
    lnixon8jacques27MesmrEwe
  • Thank you all for your input. I didn't really go into much detail about everything. We will be having a fairly small wedding with only family members and very little close friends. We were going to have different chillis and veggie soup. It will be more like a buffet, that way the guests can go up and get as much or as little as they want. As for making my family work during the reception, my mother and in law were the ones who volunteered to do the cooking. I already discussed this with them. Also, I am currently in cooking school and so I know about food safety and we are going to take precautions.
    If you are in cooking school, then I would hire some of your classmates to be the ones who do clean up, heating up, etc for the day.  That way your mom and FMIL don't need to worry about it.
    This - on SO many levels!!!  Paying one of your classmates or an instructor as your private chef for the day - is THE way to go!!!
  • I would also add some baked potatoes.  That way if someone doesn't like chili (I personally hate chili with beans), they could still load up a baked potato with the chili toppings and have an OK meal.  
    Married 9.12.15
    image
    spockforprez
This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards