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Food and Cakes

Self-catering my outdoor wedding near DC?

Hi All!

The fiance and I are planning an simple, outdoor, barbecue style wedding near Washington DC. We're trying to work with a very limited budget and while we've found plenty of great venues within our price range, they all require a licensed caterer. I would love to have an on-site grill man, but would rather family and the hubby and I take care of the sides and extras to save big $. Is this possible? Our families are very laid back and excellent cooks! 

Re: Self-catering my outdoor wedding near DC?

  • edited December 2011
    It's possible but not very smart.  First of all, you are getting married July 4, 2013.  That's more than enough time to put money aside for a caterer.  There are several reasons you should do this.

    July 4 is not exactly known for cool temperate weather, especially in DC.  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.
    Proud to be an old married hag!! image
  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_food-cakes_self-catering-outdoor-wedding-near-dc?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:23Discussion:fc3fd520-dc55-4bc8-b0b7-d28094abb3a9Post:ba9de892-b6f9-4598-9f4d-2f0269827634">Re: Self-catering my outdoor wedding near DC?</a>:
    [QUOTE]It's possible but not very smart.  First of all, you are getting married July 4, 2013.  That's more than enough time to put money aside for a caterer.  There are several reasons you should do this. July 4 is not exactly known for cool temperate weather, especially in DC.  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.
    Posted by GoodLuckBear14[/QUOTE]<div>
    </div><div>I completely agree!  I would definitely search for an inexpensive caterer, they're out there.  At my sisters wedding, she had mainly me and two of my sisters in charge of the food for her wedding and it wasn't that much fun.  At first we all thought it would be no problem and wouldn't be that much trouble but it was crazy on her wedding day and the couple days leading up to it.  I cooked so much food ahead of time, made her cake (which turned out great), and then when it came time to set up and everything there was no time for any of us to actually eat any of the food we prepared.  We were too busy cleaning up any messes and keeping food stocked.</div><div>  </div><div>I was orignially planning on trying to do the catering myself for my own wedding but as I thought about it more I couldn't put any of that on my family and ultimately decided not to.  So I looked around and am meeting with a caterer next month who is able to work within our small budget!   

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  • miamichiquemiamichique member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Thanks for the imput! I guess we're trying to "this isn't a big deal" our wedding a bit too much. We're very casual and aren't looking for a big blow-out. But I hadn't thought about the food maintenance and I agree that that would certainly be a hassle. Guess it's back to the drawing board with the budget crunching. 

    The reason we're starting to plan so early is because we'll both be overseas and won't be able to visit anything or talk to anyone for most of the year. Planning a wedding is tough work! :/

  • RNMOMTO3RNMOMTO3 member
    Ninth Anniversary 10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I have to agree that you don't want to be worrying about food service while u are the focus of the day. Having said that, my family and I are great cooks also and we are catering my wedding next April. I will be making the potato salad on Friday before my Saturday wedding bc I like mine the best, my dad will be smoking the meat , my uncle will be making his great coleslaw, and we will be finishing the food during set up on Friday night.  All of this will be stored at the facility in their big refrigerators and our iced down coolers for Saturday. Only the meat and 1 side dish will need heated and the buffet will be self serve after it is set up. We cater all of our family weddings this way and kind of have a routine in place and everyone helps except the bride and groom. We have a large family so we have had lots of practice feeding an army well and we love the food we serve. Our friends and family talk about our food at weddings and get togethers for months so I know everyone will love what we serve. Keep looking for a place that doesn't require you to use their caterer if you can't afford it.
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