Wedding Cakes & Food Forum

Catering your own wedding?

OK So, my fiance and I had to change our date because of scheduling and so forth. But when we did this our caterer/family friend with amazing hook up price wont be available. So, my fiance suggested that I make the food. 

I am a pretty good cook. Im not Iron Chef worthy but I good...

Has anyone ever done this? Is it really as crazy as it sounds... (150 guests).

Re: Catering your own wedding?

  • RebeccaB88RebeccaB88 member
    First Anniversary First Comment First Answer 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    Absolutely not.  I mean, I'm a good cook and I like it, but this is my wedding. I want to be able to enjoy being a bride and paying attention to my guests and new husband. I don't want to be up all night the night before cooking, trying to make sure everything gets served correctly and is set up right, carrying stuff around in my dress.  No thank you!  For me it will be well worth the money to write a check to a caterer, and let them deal with it all while I enjoy my wedding.
  • edited December 2011
    Im on board with that. I thought about it alot last night and said to myself, 'self do I really want to spend the day before my wedding peeling patatoes in my extensions and nails?...'    Sure dont!    I am on the hunt for a caterer...  
  • edited December 2011
    Yeah I agree with y'all.  

    Think about it: even if you do most of the leg work the night before, you're still going to have to reheat and serve the food between the ceremony and the reception.  The day flies by fast enough without having to worry about serving up some homecookin'
  • KatieK501KatieK501 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I'm debating on this myself - catering my wedding (estimated 150+ guests) and am really interested if there are any people out there who have actually done this that could give opinons.

    I agree with what everyone is saying - that you won't want to stay up late the night before and then have to deal with heating everything up, etc while you are trying to enjoy your own wedding.

    BUT - there are ways around all those immediate negatives:

    Do you have family or friends that would help with the food?  Maybe you only have to make one or two things, and some of your closest friends and family could each make a dish or two.  If you have a certain meal in mind, you could ask them to make a particular thing, or it could be like a potluck.  Some people have asked for help like this in lieu of a wedding gift, but I bet if you wanted to take this on, a lot of people would do it understanding that weddings are ridicuously expensive.

    Can you hire someone to be the wait staff?  I'm thinking we'll do a buffet rather than sit down dinner. My fiance teaches at applied art at a college, and I'm considering paying a couple of his more trustworthy students to do the setup/warm up/refilling of the food and drinks.

    Can you make things ahead of time, other than the night before the wedding?  There are lots of things that can be made further in advance and frozen (think lasagna or casseroles), or just earlier in the week (barbeque or smoked meats).

    Just a couple of other things to consider.
  • tldhtldh member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Here's a great answer I found to this question on another thread. Your situation isn't the exact same but it's the same general question (The bride was planning a July wedding).  Good Luck Bear was the author:

    You are going to have a hell of a time keeping cold foods like potato salad and coleslaw cold.  The last thing you are going to want to be worrying about is anyone getting sick at your wedding because the food had turned.

    Who is going to be responsible for cooking?  Don't say anyone who is going to be a guest.  Are you planning on assigning dishes for them to make?  Are you going to trust them to make enough for everyone?  As laid back as you say your family is, they should not be asked to do this.  They are guests and wherefore should be hosted at your reception.

    Who is going to be responsible for keeping the food safe?  In other words, whose going to be icing down anything that needs to stay cold and keeping the hot dishes hot?  Again, don't say a guest.  Anyone who receives an invitation should not be working your wedding.

    Who is going to be responsible for the cleanup including trash duty, dishwashing duty and getting everyone's tupperware, serving dishes and serving utensils back to them?  Again, don't name anyone who is going to be a guest.

    Also, don't say yourself or your FI to any of these answers.  I've been in enough weddings to know that there is never as much time on the wedding day as you think there will be.  Also, who wants to spend their wedding being the caterer, serving crew and cleanup staff?  I hope to God, not you.
    AKA GoodLuckBear14
  • edited December 2011
    I'm so glad to see this thread here. I had been thinking about catering our wedding ourselves. I'm hoping to have a picknick theme, and a picknick is not a picknick to me without my dad's potato salad. But the thought of him having to lead a team of people to make enough potato salad for 200-250 people within two days of my wedding seems thoughtless and mean. I was also worried about how to keep food hot or cold. I had sort of come to the conclusion that no matter what, a caterer is the best option. So glad to see the consensus is the same.

    Because I do want to include a family recipe, and we will be on a budget, I'm considering contracting with the culinary arts devision of our local community college to cater. They have been doing college events lately, and I know one of the instructors. I think this would be a good way to make sure the family recipe is included, without spending a fortune. I would suggest checking with any local culinary arts programs in your area to see if they have catering students who are capable of this, and see if that's a budget friendly option...and make sure they can actually make the food too :)
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  • edited December 2011
    ShipsintheNight, most caterers will use a family recipe if you give it to them. I am sure that they could make your dad's potato salad (if he's willing to share the recipe!) 
  • edited December 2011
    I love him with all my heart but I wouldnt let him boil water for rice, let alone cook for other people. Not even prep... <div>
    </div><div>In Response to <a href="">Re: Catering your own wedding?</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Catering your own wedding? : Nice of him to suggest you make it. Why can't he help? Anyway, no way in heck would I have made the food for our wedding. Well worth it to have a caterer.
    Posted by ILoveMilkDuds[/QUOTE]

  • edited December 2011
    All in all I think that for my menu and everything else I am going to have going on its going tobe a HUGE undertaking and I am looking for a caterer. 

    Its going to be New Years Eve and I just want to sit back relax (if that will even be possible) and enjoy my day with my new husband. 
  • edited December 2011
    Hey. I found your message and wanted to tell you that my fiance and I are caterers and aren't even catering our own wedding. We know friends who cater as well who did try and do that and it was beyond stressful for them, one woman got married with carrot peel under her nails, etc. We aren't going to do that. We have a friend who does catering who is going to do our food how we want it so we don't have to worry. IF you wany any advice let me know. I can offer my ideas about what questions to ask caterers, etc. But I wouldn't do that. The only thing I'm doing for my wedding cook wise is baking the cupcakes for our dessert. I'm going to have it where the toppings are out for guests to decorate their own cupcakes. It's going to be cute! I'm excited. If I can help you out let me know. I may know of a few caterers, what state do you live in?
  • edited December 2011
    we are doing it. we have at least 150+ and we have a whole army of people to help. It's a great idea to cut costs, as long as you're up to it.
  • KatieK501KatieK501 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Amerz18 - Good for you for going for it!  I only wish that your wedding wasn't the weekend before mine so I could hear how it went and decide whether or not to do this myself.  Best of luck!
  • edited December 2011
    My FI and I are catering our wedding with help from our parents.  My aunt used to own a resturant and still has all the cold buffet set up and my mom is a cook at a casino and can get all the warming dishes and can whip up some awesome food in a very short time.  My FI mom and grandma used to make and decorate cakes and is doing the cakes for our wedding.  We live on a farm and are having a more relaxed pig/beef roast.  I was in 4-H and FFA for so long and have helped at a bunch of my friends weddings who did this and they are returning the favor for us.  Congrats and best of luck in planning!
  • Abby10101Abby10101 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Even if you are catering your own wedding, try these fabulous cranberry garnishes! Stunning in champagne! Sweet & delicious! Impress your guests by serving something beautiful and elegant! Beautiful red color! 
    For more information visit
  • Where I come from, catering your own wedding is more the norm than hiring a caterer.  It's not as insane as it seems like it would be, and if you aren't micromanaging EVERY detail of the wedding, it's a fairly simple thing to do.  The best way to do it is to have a buffet table with appetizers, and not a full-course meal.  You'll also want the help of up to about 10-12 friends or family members who are willing to help out.  Depending on what you're having and the style of your wedding, you may need to use the rental company more (not many people have chafing dishes and Sterno laying around the house).

    The key to catering your own wedding is to divvy up the work.  Have a setup team made up of people who are physically able to do heavy lifting and who are willing to spend an hour or two before the wedding setting up.  Assign drinks and everything involved with drink stations (cups and saucers, glasses, ice, punch bowl and cups, creamer, sugar, etc) to another friend.  Assign one or two food items each to your other helpers (friends with an artistic eye can assemble fruit, veggie and/or meat and cheese trays; your more talented and adventurous foodie helpers can each make another dish with the recipes of your choosing). 

    The reception space should be set up by your crew the night before or the morning of the wedding.  Just prior to the ceremony, your helpers should bring whatever they were assigned to bring and set it up according to plans you've discussed with them.  After that, everyone can relax and enjoy the ceremony and reception.

    This is not, of course, a great idea for anyone who envisions their wedding day to be one of being waited on hand and foot.  Some amount of work is involved for the bride and for a few guests.  But it is an option, it's pretty much the only way weddings have been done for centuries, and it's not as difficult as it sounds like it would be.

    In Response to <a href="">Catering your own wedding?</a>:
    [QUOTE]OK So, my fiance and I had to change our date because of scheduling and so forth. But when we did this our caterer/family friend with amazing hook up price wont be available. So, my fiance suggested that I make the food.  I am a pretty good cook. Im not Iron Chef worthy but I good... Has anyone ever done this? Is it really as crazy as it sounds... (150 guests).
    Posted by TammaraFlake[/QUOTE]
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