Wedding Cakes & Food Forum

Food ideas for 200 people

I am having a casual outdoor wedding.  We have family that is going to take care of our sides and drinks for whatever we do but we have to decide on our meat? We had talked about BBQ but it was ridiclous.  If we have to we will pay it but does anyone else have other suggestions...i have also thought about pasta or turkey.  

Re: Food ideas for 200 people

  • Pasta is probably the least expensive option.
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
  • hubby makes bbq pulled pork in a crockpot. it is really easy (and tasty!)  if everyone is already making side dishes and such, could you just do that?

    otherwise i would consider:
    carved roast beef sandwiches
    cheese/tuna/veggie sandwiches
    mac and cheese (or some other pasta salad)
    green salad

    ...the pasta bar isn't a bad idea either!  the only thing i'd worry about is any gluten dietary needs.
  • I like the pasta bar idea, although plain cooked pasta isn't the easiest thing to hold, so you'll need to hire enough staff/servers to be cooking it and keeping the buffet stocked.

    If you already have volunteers for making the sides, etc., you might look at a discount club (Sam's or Costco) to buy premade pulled pork and BBQ chicken that your kitchen help can warm up/keep hot in slow cookers.  Serving 200 people = a lot of Crock Pots (I'd estimate at least 20, depending on the size), and keep electrical load in mind so that circuits don't get blown.  If you go with that, I'd make sure that you have some hearty, vegetarian sides (mac and cheese, veg. baked beans, brocoli-rice-cheese casserole, cheesy potatoes, potato salad without bacon, etc.) for any vegetarian guests or SO's.

    Also talk with your favorite restaurants about cooking prep-and-delivery of a main dish or a good Italian restaurant to cater the pasta bar.  Restuarants can be less expensive than independent caterers. 
  • You live in Virginia, I'd have a ham carving station, but then I always think of Virginia when I think of hams. You'd need a chef with the ham pre-carved initially, and you'd need a few hams, but to me that would be the easiest thing to do.

    I agree, pasta can be a nightmare logistically with self-service-set-up etc.
  • Boston Market does catering and makes amazing food. I don't know if they are down there, but considering the quality, I think the price is a bargain.  They offer roasted chicken (as you may know) but also ham, pot pie, etc.  They also do amazing sides for non-meat eaters....great creamed spinach and great mac-n-cheese, also very good freshly baked cornbread. 

    Ethnic family-run restaurants tend to offer affordable catering if you ask.  Think Cuban, Vietnamese, Ethoipian, or Indian.  They may not have the most beautiful presentation but they do know how to serve a lot of food to a lot of people for a bargain.  I think a mix of various ethnic foods would be a lot of fun!

    Good luck

  • I'm most likely doing a self serve sandwich bar.  It's affordable, filling, and if someone doesn't like sandwiches, they are crazy.  And BBQ doesn't have to be expensive.  That's the beauty of it.  You can take a cheap cut of meat, slow cook it, and turn it into the best eats ever.   

    And as a PP said, try your local mexican restaurant. We have one in town here in Northern California (outside Napa, but people price wedding things like we are still Napa) that sells great meat for $7.99/lb.  I am still considering a taco bar instead of my sandwich bar simply cause it's almost the same cost... 
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  • I really like the ham idea; offer a variety of rolls (including biscuits)! 

    I also like  the build-your-own sandwich buffet.  A lot of grocery store delis (and wholesale club delis) will sell prepared meat-and-cheese trays.  One in this area also offers "topper trays" with all the veggie options (cucumbers, sliced tomatoes, banana peppers, bell peppers, lettuce, fresh spinach, etc.)  With some hearty sides that should work quite well for a casual wedding.

    For either one, if you're having 200 people, set up at least 2 (preferably 4) serving tables so that you can run a line of guests down either side.  Have drinks served from a separate location, and put silverware on the tables so guests don't have to juggle that.   Also check on refrigerator space at your venue to make sure you can keep everything cold until serving time.
  • We are doing an Italian themed reception because as mentioned above, pasta is cheap! We plan to feed about 170 people. We plan to have 4 hot pasta choices (lasagna and no meat lasagna), chicken parmasan and spicy sausage pasta  and about 6 cold pasta salad/regular salad choices, fruit platters, veggy treys, a olive, pickle and cheese type trey and 3 or 4 bread bowls offering different types of breads. Total cost for us is about $250. I plan to do all the cooking myself, and my new sister in law offered to keep hot dishes warmed in the oven and exchange empty serving treys as needed.

    Hope that helps!
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