By now you’ve probably read, Tips for Catering Your Own Wedding and may have decided, you can cater yours too, but are unsure where to start. Since catering a wedding is no small feat, here are 7 tips, to help you get started:
1. Decide on what you want your guest to eat, how much food you will offer (buffet-style or one plate), and how many sides you will have. Be sure to take into consideration if any of the guest have allergies, diet restrictions or religious limitations; for our wedding we had a small vegetarian dish for our vegetarian guest and used chicken and beef instead of pork as our main courses.
2. Buy your food and look for deals. Buying enough food to feed a wedding is literally like feeding a hungry army. You are gonna have to buy drinks, (this may include alcohol, sodas and coffee) main courses, side dishes, silverware and appetizers, so in order to save the most money, you will want to find your food on SALE. For the cheapest prices, check out club stores for silverware and napkins, local farmers for meats and weekly ads for everything else.
3. Begin to borrow or buy all of your food making essentials right away (if you don’t already have them). You are going to have a TON of food, make sure you have enough large bowls, roasters, slow cookers or anything else you may need to make or serve the food (DO NOT wait till the last minute)!
4. Plan Ahead. Depending on what you are serving, you may be able to prepare a bit earlier. For example, if you choose salad as a side, you can usually buy and store salad 1-2 days early. Preparing what you can, when you can, saves time for that BIG day of cooking all of the food. Planning ahead is also a great time for wrapping silverware and getting the salt and pepper shakers ready and anything else that won’t spoil.
5. Gather Help. Like I said, catering a wedding is NO small feat, you will be preparing food for a lot of people. This means there could be hundreds of potatoes to peel, lots of chicken to thaw and so much more. You will NOT be able to do this by yourself, trust me, there is a reason catering companies have help.
6. Make plans for storing your food ahead of time. Depending on your reception venue, some places may allow you to use their large commercial-sized refrigerators to store your food, but, if not, you will HAVE to find somewhere to store your food and/or keep it plugged in. Do NOT wait until all the food is done to worry about this, it is very important that all the food stays the proper temperatures to avoid food poisoning.
7. Be prepared for waking up early. Catering a wedding is a lot of work, so be prepared to wake up early on the day before the wedding -to prepare the food AND on the day of the wedding because you will be the one setting up the food at the reception. This usually involves, setting everything up to the way you want your guest to see it before they arrive. Remember, on the day of the wedding, once the wedding is over, you will not have extra time to change anything around.
If you catered your wedding, I would love to hear about it in the comments below!