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Food and Cakes

Too much food? Food During "cocktail" hour? HELP

My wedding isn't until next year, but I am trying to think ahead due to communicating with my fiance back and forth being kind of restricted/tricky- he's active military and stationed in TX, so I'm thankful we have the extra time to relay messages and options, and just figure out what we want in general while he is far away. We are having a vintage, rustic fall wedding (October) at a beautiful barn here in AL; the ceremony will be held outside and the reception will take place inside of the barn. One of my top 5 priorities is the food. We are planning for a late afternoon ceremony and a buffet style dinner in the evening. Like most, we are on a budget and like to save as much and DIY (without overdoing) as much as we can. We have family that have already offered to help in many areas, including food (I have a cousin that has has a huge smoker and has catered for many big family gatherings and larger events that has offered to do the meat.) So far, here is the menu I have in my head:

  • Choice of smoked chicken or ham (maybe bake the ham?)
  • Autumn salad with spinach, apple, walnuts, and white cheddar in a vinagrette (I know in the fall many replace salads with soup, but the weather here is definitely not.. soup appropriate if that makes sense? haha in MY opinion. Plus, I'm just more of a green-loving gal.)
  • Baked mac and cheese (Bride's favorite)
  • Green bean casserole (Groom's favorite)
  • Roasted Autumn veggie blend of squash, broccoli, cauliflower, and sweet potato
  • Sweet rolls
Is this too much food for around 100 guests? And do they go together, is there too much green, etc? We're planning on doing a lot of this ourselves ahead of time, and I wanted homey foods that also fit our seasonal vibe. Will these make ahead and/or freeze easy? Salad, bread, and meat no issue... just the sides. I thought it'd be neat to incorporate both our favorite sides that our moms make, plus it'd include them. Also, during the "cocktail hour" ( we aren't having alcohol at our wedding, just teas, water, and maybe some sort of punch) should we have light snacks/food? We're going to be taking pictures during this time of course (as the sun sets) and I don't want guests to be bored. I was thinking just cheeses and crackers and fruit to munch on before the filling stuff is out and we make our entrance. 

My mom keeps nagging for me to have an early ceremony and just serve nuts, mints, and finger foods like her and my dad did *eye roll* but I've always wanted to take pictures at sunset and never wanted to get married early in the day, and the dinner is a big thing for me. HELP ME OUT LADIES! xo

Re: Too much food? Food During "cocktail" hour? HELP

  • thefanciestbecklerthefanciestbeckler Chattanooga, TN member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer

    I think the menu sounds great and the foods do go together, but I'm going to go ahead and warn you that many on these boards (myself included) will advise you against putting your family to work at your wedding.

    For the cocktail hour, cheese, crackers, and fruit is totally fine.


    SP29short+sassy
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    Menu sounds fine.  Although a lot of people have nut allergies, so I'm not sure the walnuts in the salad is a good idea if that is your only salad option.


    Yes, you should have light snacks while you take pictures.  Which should be fairly short time.

    While not a fan of self-catering, it can be done correctly.  Mostly by hiring others to help you the day of.    You/anyone who offers can do the prep, but have hired help do the cooking, making sure things are kept at temperature, clean up, etc.  

     I have a lot of chefs in my social group (including my own DH).  Most do not do their own catering because it's simply a pain-in-the-ass.  Those who do ALWAYS hire people for the day of the event.   






    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. 
    ernursejSP29cowgirl8238short+sassy
  • My wedding isn't until next year, but I am trying to think ahead due to communicating with my fiance back and forth being kind of restricted/tricky- he's active military and stationed in TX, so I'm thankful we have the extra time to relay messages and options, and just figure out what we want in general while he is far away. We are having a vintage, rustic fall wedding (October) at a beautiful barn here in AL; the ceremony will be held outside and the reception will take place inside of the barn. One of my top 5 priorities is the food. We are planning for a late afternoon ceremony and a buffet style dinner in the evening. Like most, we are on a budget and like to save as much and DIY (without overdoing) as much as we can. We have family that have already offered to help in many areas, including food (I have a cousin that has has a huge smoker and has catered for many big family gatherings and larger events that has offered to do the meat.) So far, here is the menu I have in my head:

    • Choice of smoked chicken or ham (maybe bake the ham?)
    • Autumn salad with spinach, apple, walnuts, and white cheddar in a vinagrette (I know in the fall many replace salads with soup, but the weather here is definitely not.. soup appropriate if that makes sense? haha in MY opinion. Plus, I'm just more of a green-loving gal.)
    • Baked mac and cheese (Bride's favorite)
    • Green bean casserole (Groom's favorite)
    • Roasted Autumn veggie blend of squash, broccoli, cauliflower, and sweet potato
    • Sweet rolls
    Is this too much food for around 100 guests? And do they go together, is there too much green, etc? We're planning on doing a lot of this ourselves ahead of time, and I wanted homey foods that also fit our seasonal vibe. Will these make ahead and/or freeze easy? Salad, bread, and meat no issue... just the sides. I thought it'd be neat to incorporate both our favorite sides that our moms make, plus it'd include them. Also, during the "cocktail hour" ( we aren't having alcohol at our wedding, just teas, water, and maybe some sort of punch) should we have light snacks/food? We're going to be taking pictures during this time of course (as the sun sets) and I don't want guests to be bored. I was thinking just cheeses and crackers and fruit to munch on before the filling stuff is out and we make our entrance. 

    My mom keeps nagging for me to have an early ceremony and just serve nuts, mints, and finger foods like her and my dad did *eye roll* but I've always wanted to take pictures at sunset and never wanted to get married early in the day, and the dinner is a big thing for me. HELP ME OUT LADIES! xo

    I think the menu sounds lovely. I agree with the other PPs that self-catering, for that many people, is a recipe for disaster.

    I also don't think freezing and reheating the sides is going to work well; do you have room to store multiple trays of three sides? Plus you run the risk of not sealing it properly risking freezer burn and having to redo it anywhere. At most I would prep things the night before.

    But also, who is going to cook everything? It's great your cousin offered to do the meat, but what about the sides. And who is going to bring out extras when pans are running low, and clean up or maintain the buffet? I would recommend hiring someone to do these things. 
    SP29
  • I can't comment on the food being "too much" because you haven't listed quantities.  Do I think it's too much variety?  Definitely not- one or two meats, a handful of sides (starch and veggie), salad and roles are standard.  The menu goes nicely and it all sounds tasty.  I can't comment on the green bean casserole, I've never made it myself, but the other sides are definitely best made and served fresh.  Mac and veggies can be frozen, but I wanted my wedding guests to be blown away by our food, not just satisfied.  I'd absolutely have some snacks during cocktail hour.

    Ditto PP that family members shouldn't actively work your wedding.  (Well maybe your cousin if he's a licensed meat caterer and you're paying him.)  If family wants to help, maybe they could help with some of the DIY stuff ahead of time?  Day of they should just enjoy the festivities...no setting up, heating/serving food, cleaning up, etc.
    ILoveBeachMusicernursejcowgirl8238InLoveInQueens
  • Exactly how many ovens does the barn have?


    MesmrEweInLoveInQueensSP29
  • The menu sounds lovely, but again...maybe reconsider self-catering. It seems pretty standard for fall events, so perhaps you could find a caterer that could do a similar menu? Serving 100 people food that has been cooked adequately and kept at appropriate temperatures, not to mention set up and clean up is no small task, and one you likely won't want to do on your wedding day.

    Also, as a vegetarian I'd be a little bummed to not have a veggie entree option. I'm perfectly happy to make a meal out of sides, but if you have several guests who don't eat meat you may want to consider a veggie entree or that they may eat more of each side.
    OurWildKingdomMesmrEweSP29
  • The self-catering idea is a recipe for disaster because "DUH! BIG WHITE DRESS!!!"  You are the bride, your family and friends are your guests not slave labor!  Catering is a lot more complex than you think when it comes to prep and holding temperatures.  Freezing things ahead of time sounds good in theory but reality is a whole different mess.  Self-catering will cost you FAR more nickels and dimes than hiring a professional to do it for you right the first time (from the first paper towel, to piece of meat, to the last drop of dish soap, plates, utensils, glasses, beverages, etc. it's going to add up faster than you think!!!  You do not have time to do both be a bride and cater food for 100, your job that day is to be the hostess for your guests, not being a vendor away from all your guests.  Hiring someone from a local restaurant to come in and serve the food is not going to break the budget.  Having those foods catered by a local restaurant that does off-site is not going to break your budget either as they can purchase the raw ingredients for far less than you can.  Most of that menu you can get from your local KFC (yes, KFC does catering)..  And finally, many venues will not allow you to self-cater and require a licensed caterer to provide the food/beverage service (you need to check your contracts on this!)..  
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    sparklepants41InLoveInQueensSP29
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