Budget Weddings

Budget cocktail hour and dinner

Hi all! So I’ve decided to go with a local restaurant to cater my wedding. Basically just making a large order and they drop it off and hiring a service staff to set it all up, keep food at right temperature, monitor the buffet and bus the tables. This turned out to be a way cheaper option for me, with the quality of food my guests would enjoy than hiring a caterer in my area ($3000 vs $7000+)

I have a few questions. My guest count is 70 people. The restaurant has several entree, appetizer, and salad options. They cater to large orders listing the number of people that will feed. For example a chicken skewer platter is listed as “feeds 40 (accounting for two skewers/person)”. I’m planning on getting 2 types of salad, 2 main entrees and rice. Should I make sure each type of food feeds at least 70? 50? 40? How do I figure out how much to order so that it’s enough without being wasteful?

also for the cocktail hour, I’m planning on creating a cheese platter with fruit nuts and cheese from Costco, again how do I decide how much to buy? Is there a guide somewhere? I googled and searched this forum with no luck, any help would be appreciated! 

Re: Budget cocktail hour and dinner

  • I would say make sure there's AT LEAST enough for one serving for everyone, if not more. Most people I spend time with will take tastes of everything, which does lead to some waste, but I would prefer a little waste over not having enough for people. 

    On the cheese front, I'm not sure - is this something that Costco will be assembling for you? They may have some guidance!
  • I'm not a caterer by any means, but I would personally do:
    - one type of salad for 70 people - more if you have vegetarians and no entree for them as this will be their entree; if you do two options with less salad you'll probably run out of "the good one". KWIM?
    - two entrees (enough for 100 people as some folks will take 1 of each)
    - rice (enough for 70 people)
    - some kind of veggie (enough for 70 people)

    If the quantities break down in a way that gives you extra, do that (versus not having enough). Freeze the extra food in food saver bags and bring it home to serve on special occasions and maybe even your anniversary.

    In terms of appetizers, I would get 4 large cheese trays and 2 large fruit/nut trays. 

  • I did the same thing for my wedding (restaurant dropping off food), but for 35 people (half the guests, as yourself).  It IS so much cheaper that way!

    And almost exactly the same as what you are planning for cocktail hour, lol.  Though cocktail hour was really more like 30ish minutes, before the main food was served.  So that may have had an effect on the cocktail foods.

    For "cocktail hour", we had 2 of the big trays of cut-up veggies and dip from Costco.  Though I think the second tray was barely touched.  We also had one large fruit tray plus a big arrangement from Edible Arrangements.

    For food, we had one salad.  It fit in a large punch-bowl sized bowl.  We also had 3 entrees.  I think there were also some side items like rice and rolls, etc.  But I'm embarrassed to say I don't remember for sure, lol.  We ordered two servings of each entrée for our number of guests.  We ran out of one entrée (eek), but we ran out of it after everyone had gone through the buffet at least once.  There just wasn't enough for some people to have seconds of it.  For the other two entrees, there were leftovers.  But not a crazy amount.  My mom, stepdad, and grandma just got to "eat good" for the week after the wedding, lol.

    Hindsight being 20/20, we would have ordered one more tray of the entrée we ran out of.  However, overall, I think we were pretty spot-on with the amount of food we ordered.  Sure, there were leftovers of most items, but nothing excessive.  And it is much better to have some leftovers, than not enough food and/or not enough of a particular dish!

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  • Its a huge difference, the pricing I got was ridiculous! Some of the caterers had $40-50 starting for their catering, but once I called they quoted me 95-125, this and I’m asking for a buffet, providing my own alcohol etc. smh

    thanks for the advice ladies! 

    Btw can I just say how much I love people here more than on other forums? Man they can be nasty

  • The general rule for appetizers is 2-3 pieces per person. I would make sure that whatever you are serving, there is enough for at least one per person (i.e. stick to 2-3 options with enough for 70 each versus more options with only enough for 50). I greatly dislike it when there aren't enough apps for everyone to try.

    There is this local venue where I have attended two weddings at, so far. Overall, great venue and the food is really good, but they are stingy with the appetizers during cocktail hour. There are usually 3-4 passed apps, but they come out with a small platter at time, and there is not enough for everyone person to have one of each. It's kind of a let down when one table gets a stuffed mushroom (don't get me wrong- loved stuffed mushrooms!) and a few tables over gets a mini-slider!

    I agree with the salad comment- you should still have enough for everyone of each type of salad. So either do one salad that is extra-large, or get two salads large enough for 70 people each and be prepared for some left overs. Likewise for your entrees and rice- enough for each person to take some. Some guests will take both entrees if available. I agree that I would add in a vegetable as part of your meal, in addition to salad.
  • Always err on the side of "More than enough" than "Not enough" food for everyone!  For apps, go for 2 of those 40 serving apps if you've got 70 on your RSVP list (preliminary order vs. after you have your RSVP numbers back can vary greatly when it comes to the actual food order though you want to plan "as-if" all 70 will attend and have money left over in the budget!).  Planning for leftovers/late night snacks is easier than people leaving early and PO'd because they didn't get enough to eat.  
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