catering your own weddingmy first catering job ever was my own wedding 20 years ago, but at least I was marrying a professional chef. He, his brother, sister in law and I did all the cooking, prepping and shopping for 125 guests.
We did buy in a lot of prepared salads (we had 10-12 bowls of salad on each table family style) and doctored them then we made various dishes buffet style and served in wire rack chafers. Although the food was great, the presentation would not have flown in my book today. My husband did do whole salmons, that he boned, skinned and decorated classically with gelee and veg cutouts - that was stunning and impressive and people still talk about the salmon ( we had multiples of the whole fish)
but I too would caution about trying to do it all your self. At the very least you need to hire servers for the day. The few hundred extra you will spend is well worth it. Another thought is to have a dessert reception. YOu can prepare lots of delicious desserts have someone make tons of coffee and even offer coffee with liquors or buy chocolate cups and do international liquors such as kaluha, irish creme, etc. along with lots of delicious desserts and pastries. Still keeping within your original budget but lessinng the food costs. Think outside the box.
Another fun and inexpensive theme is Mexican. You can buy trays of rice, beans, enchiladas, etc.
but do hire people on the day to serve, set up, maintain, and cleanup. You will be busy being the bride and groom and your family and guests should get to be guests.
As for quantities:
Beef 2-3 oz of cooked product per guest
Ham 2 -3 oz per guest
chicken thighes 1.5 thighes per guest
rolls about 1.2 per guest (probably won't need more than .75 but some things are cheap safeties)
don't forget condiments, etc.
salad and sides (total weight) 8-10 oz per guest (remember that potatoes are heavy and bulky so up the weight on these) but a 50# bag of raw potatoes processed would probably do the trick, another thought is to buy a 30# tub of potato salad and doctor it up by adding cooked red and sweet potatoes, and scallions and red pepper for a three potato salad.
20-30# of coleslaw would probably be enough.
greens - about 4 -5 people per head of lettuce
overall if you count up the weight of the total food available per guest you should come out with approx. 1-1.5 # per guest plus greens and dessert. That should satisfy most.
By the way, demographics, like where you are located, age of guests, time of day, length of event, ethnic background of guests would all play a part in helping to guestimate the quantity of food. and another note, is the better the food is, the more people are likely to eat.
Make sure you have lots of containers, ziplocks and foil for the left overs. Also throw out all the food that leftover that has been sitting out in chafers and bowls for the duration of the reception. It's not worth getting anyone sick on leftovers that have been sitting out and growing unseen bacteria. Only keep the things that were safely refrigerated and never put out.
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