Want to save some money or take DIY weddings to the next level? Consider catering your own wedding. You can save a lot of money and it is surprisingly easy. Even if you hate to cook or don’t think you’ll have the time, don’t worry. All it takes is a little planning, some organization, and a group of friends or family members who would be honored to help. Still skeptical? Follow the five steps below, and you’ll be on your way to saving hundreds, possible even thousands of dollars!
How to Cater Your Own Wedding. Five Easy Steps!
Step One: Choose the reception type or theme.
Remember to select a meal your guests will be expecting depending on the time of day you’ll be hosting the reception. DIY wedding food doesn’t mean you get to be lazy. Plan ahead and make sure you prepare food your guests want.
Step Two: Decide on a menu
The majority of your DIY wedding food menu should consist of things that can be bought pre-made or are easy to assemble. Consider frozen foods that only need to be warmed up, bakery/delicatessen items and/or take out from your favorite restaurant. Crock-pots can be used to keep food warm if you don’t have access to chafing dishes.
Step three: Gather your friends and assign a “food leader”
As the bride you may be too busy before your wedding to oversee the food arrangements or do the cooking yourself. Cheap catering ideas won’t work if you can’t enjoy you’re own wedding. Solicit the help of very close friends and family (ask politely, though, never demand) and choose someone to be the “leader”. Work closely with your “leader” before the wedding so that she/he knows exactly what you want. Catering for weddings isn’t easy so make sure everything is done to your specifications by being proactive.
Step four: Divide jobs between helpers.
It is best to divide your helpers into pairs, and let each pair work on one specific item or job. For example: if you are planning a dinner reception, give one couple the job of cooking and assembling the main dish, while letting other couples take care of the side-dishes, decorations, etc. That way, everyone knows exactly what is expected of him or her, and no one gets confused or overwhelmed. If you are planning an hors d’oeuvres, or dessert reception, simply assign each helper one dessert or finger food to make/buy (of course, you’ll be paying).
Step Five: Arrange a time-line/checklist:
Make sure that all of your helpers are aware of what your time-line is and keep checking in with them to make sure everything is being done according to plan.
Things to Consider When Catering Your Own Wedding:
- When are you buying the groceries?
- When do cooked courses need to be prepared?Can they be cooked ahead and frozen?
- When do orders, such as party platters, need to be picked up and who is going to pick them up?
You will also need to decide when everyone is expected to show up on the day of the wedding.
Easy Reception Food Ideas
Dessert and Candy Buffet. Offer a variety of cakes, cookies, pies and sweet treat favs. (If you prefer, buy everything pre-made from your local grocery and/or bakery, just make sure that you host this sort of reception at a time of day when guests won’t expect a meal – i.e. mid-afternoon), and don’t forget to offer hot and cold beverages.
Hors d’oeuvres reception. Appetizers can be arranged on one long table or on several smaller “stations” throughout the room. (Consider: fruit, veggie, and cheese platters, buying pre-made appetizers from your grocery freezer or purchased online and take-out from your favorite restaurant.
DIY Dinner reception. This is a bit more lofty a goal, but can be dine with organization and lots of patience. We suggest setting dinner receptions up buffet style so that you don’t have to worry about hiring waiters. (Menu Suggestion: Ravioli with Alfredo sauce, sliced turkey/roast beef with gravy, green beans almondine, salad and bread sticks. To save time, buy frozen ravioli and jarred Alfredo sauce. If you do not have access to chaffing dishes place food in crock-pots to keep warm. Pretty easy!
Don’t forget the wedding cake. Places like Costco, Sam’s Club and other discount clubs can be your best friend when catering your own wedding. They offer some pretty, well made cakes which can be stacked to form a wedding cake and topped with some silk flowers and a light weight cake topper. Voila!