It’s no secret or surprise that weddings come at a cost. The Knot’s 2021 Real Weddings study reported that feeding wedding guests costs $75 a person. If you invite 50 guests to your wedding, that’s $3,750; for 100 guests, that’d be $7,500. A DIY reception menu is a potential solution to alleviate these costs.
Self-catered weddings involve strategic budgeting and planning. However, they can create an affordable, customized, and meaningful celebration. If you’re a couple who considers themselves certified chefs, then this idea will be your fortes. Here is how to cater your wedding and decide if a DIY reception menu suits you.
Decide the Best Method for Serving Your Reception Meal
Whatever food service style you choose, you want to ensure that there is minimal stress on your wedding day. A full-course meal requires several small dishes while creating an action station takes a lot of toppings and add-ins. Buffet-styled weddings require more food but less labor. It’s best to have the food squared away before the ceremony starts or hire people to carry appetizer trays and clear your guests’ plates.
Create a Minimalistic, Personal Menu
Imported ingredients and intricate dishes are unique and appealing. However, if you’re preparing it yourself, you should keep your wedding menu minimalistic. If you’re serving a sizable number of guests, choose dishes that aren’t costly or labor intensive.
It’s best to stick to a recipe you’re used to cooking and cook it in bulk versus trying a new recipe. It’s a fine idea to use a beloved family recipe that highlights your culture instead of feeling pressured to cook many hors d’oeuvres, three main entrees, and four side dishes.
Buy the Food Supplies to Cater Your Wedding in Bulk
You can depend on H.C. Walterhoefer to provide personalized paper, party, and food service products. It can be costly to rent reception supplies. Plus, you’ll have to stress over returning some of the products without damage. Ownership means that you won’t have to worry about returns.
You’ll also be able to marvel at each keepsake and use them again as you please. It’s best to buy in bulk from a reliable company because purchasing things in large quantities from grocery stores is costly.
Ask for Help
Self-catered doesn’t mean you have to do everything by yourself. It’s helpful to gather a reliable team to assist in organizing and delegating tasks. You’ll be too busy dancing and taking pictures to worry about serving food (nor should you on your big day).
Ask your team to set up and break down your food stations. If there is anyone in your circle who wants to make more money, you can enlist them. Otherwise, hire outside help so your guests can enjoy the wedding almost as much as you.
Utilize a Catering Cleanup Plan and Catering Timeline
You want to ensure that you have no food left behind and a removal plan for cooking equipment, serving supplies, or dishware. Many married couples prefer to go on their honeymoon immediately after the reception. Therefore, you should delegate someone you trust to ensure that nothing becomes left behind at the venue.
Also, most venues limit access to their space. Therefore, you should let your assistants know when to arrive and when they should start the catering cleanup process. You’ll also want to schedule times for warming up, serving, and cleaning up the food. A cocktail hour and cake cutting hour are also necessary.
DIY Wedding Catering Checklist
Ask yourself these questions to ensure that you’re prepared to cater your wedding:
- Does my venue have refrigeration and cooking equipment?
- How will my supplies go to and from the venue?
- When will my assistants or I cook the food?
- What temperature must I keep the food to ensure it’s safe to eat, and how will I keep it at that temperature?
- When will I light my chafing dishes, and how will I light my chafing fuel? (if applicable)
- Do I have serving utensils?
- Who will prepare and warm the food once the wedding starts
- Who will clear the food once I am mingling with guests?
- Is there a place for someone to clean the dishes afterward?
- Am I educated on safe food handling techniques to avoid my guests becoming sick?
Contact H.C. Walterhoefer today for the supplies you need to ensure your DIY wedding catering is successful.
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