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How Much To Purchase??

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
HELP!!! :confused: I am getting married in June of this year and am doing the catering myself, as we have a very limited budget. (with help from others not in the wedding of course) I have not the slightest clue on how much food to purchase. Our guests total approx 125. It will be a buffet dinner, as we can't affod servers. Here is what we are planning on serving:

Tossed Salad
Ceasar Salad
Coleslaw
Rolls
Chicken Pieces (undecided on type)
Ham (cold)
Roast Beef (cold)
Potatoes (roasted?)
Corn and Peas

How many chicken pieces (thigh's) should i purchase/guest? How much ham and beef should i get? (It will be sliced thin) And amount of potatoes/guest? If anyone out there can give me a rough idea it would be much appreciated. Thanks!

Mike
Always Remember..."Never Trust A Skinny Chef!"
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Always Remember..."Never Trust A Skinny Chef!"
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post #2 of 15
I would advise against doing it yourself-too much going on ;).
That said i usually figure 3.5oz per portion on proteins. I would also suggest serving proteins warm for a wedding buffet. Rent a heat lamp and have a buddy carve. Your hams are already cooked-just heat. Cook off a couple of top rounds and youd be set there.
I Figure 1.5 rolls per person. Salads a couple of oz each. Get a case of romaine, use for ceasar and filler with spring mix for your tossed. About the same portion size for starch/veg, maybe 3oz . Buffet service i usually feed about 40 per 200 pan, my rule of thumb. Of course all dependant on guests-age, drinkers, vegetarians, carnivores, hors d oeuvres before...
Still gonna have to rent chafers, linens?, tableware?, tables, tent?, glassware?, fountain?, oven? etc...or go all disposable. Staff bar-if applicable. Someone or 3 to clear tables, pour for the toast, who's gonna cut the cake for service? Place and empty trash containers. You got a full plate right there not even counting the nuptuals.
Again i would recommend against the DIY route and try to locate a reasonably priced caterer. Not saying you can't do it but it will definately detract from your "big event" and what should be lifelong memories.
This is all off top of my head, sorry its so disjointed.
hth, danny
post #3 of 15
I'm going to echo much of what Dano1 said. But, if you want to do it yourself, your best bet is to price out your local deli, that's the way i went when I catered my sister's wedding in '01. I served BBQ chicken with coleslaw and potato salad (Plus the cold platters and dessert), I think there was about 80 people at the lunch ( it was an afternoon wedding), and the total food cost was under $200.
hope this helps.
post #4 of 15

catering your own wedding

my 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.
Chef Tigerwoman

Stop Tofu Abuse...Eat Foie Gras...
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Chef Tigerwoman

Stop Tofu Abuse...Eat Foie Gras...
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post #5 of 15
Please get somebody to do it for you...you do not need the hassle on your wedding day. Shop around & try delis & sandwich bars . The kind of food you want to serve isnt expensive & easy for prep so they shouldnt charge nuch. Be cheeky & get a best quote in writing & take it to the next caterer & get him to beat it Then take that quote to another caterer & so on......
I say this after catering for my sons christening about 10 years ago for 200 people. It was slog & I can assure you that a buffet takes 3 times as long as if you were cooking a hot meal. I spent 18 hours on the stove. Ive done this a few times since & its a killer. Say you end up spending $200. more for someone else to do it, its YOUR day & you should have no distractions..besides us chefs need the work....good luck
champagne for my bad friends
& bad pain for my cham friends
(Francis Bacon)
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champagne for my bad friends
& bad pain for my cham friends
(Francis Bacon)
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post #6 of 15
I agree w/ what has been said. Find someone to do it. Cut your numbers if you have to but don't do it yourself. Too much work on an already busy day. I love the idea of the mexican buffet though. That would be very economical.
Enjoy Life ~ Eat out more often
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Enjoy Life ~ Eat out more often
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post #7 of 15
Please, please rethink doing it all yourselves. My husband and I are chefs, we cooked everything with help of professional chef friends at one of the country clubs my husband's company runs. We made the front page of the food section of our city's newspaper, but, would I do it again- h*ll no! I did not keep in mind visiting, out of town, relatives that want to" help" or just hang out with you- think mom, mom in law, their best friends, sisters, brothers, Aunt Edna- you get the picture! It turned out OK in the end, but it took 2 full days before the wedding, we were so exhausted we actually left our own reception 4 hours early (another point of advice- if you do cater your own reception, postpone leaving for your honeymoon for at least 24 hours- we left for Aruba at 4:00 am the next morning after the reception.). I like the catered Mexican idea- Italian buffets are also popular. If you are set on putting your own touches on the reception, may I recommend picking just a few dishes to augment an outside catering (I should have left it at the hand made mozzarella...) Good luck to to you and let us know what you decide- Please feel free to PM me for any advice if you do decide to do it yourselves!
"Oh, Cheffie???????????????"
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"Oh, Cheffie???????????????"
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post #8 of 15
A good website for you to visit is www.ultimatewedding.com they have a whole section on catering and food. There are lots of ladies that have been there, done that - that would be happy to give you more advice- it was invaluable in planning my own wedding start to finish- (Not professionally endorsing in any way- it just helped me out a lot!)- good luck to you!
"Oh, Cheffie???????????????"
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"Oh, Cheffie???????????????"
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post #9 of 15
Again, I have to repeat what others have stated - see about hiring some help, at least for the service or cleanup. Have you looked into a personal chef? Maybe you wouldn't need to hire them for the entire event, but perhaps they can help you with parts (planning, cooking, presentation), helping to find affordable servers...check out www.canadianpersonalchefalliance.com in their chefs lookup page. You can just speak with some chefs to see if they can help you in any way.
You need to concentrate on being a bride - plus, you don't want to be running around in your gown getting dirty!!
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 

Bride?

Thank you all so much for your comment/suggestions. Just for the record though, I am the groom, not the bride. :eek: I deffinatly will be bringing in some help, more than likely the church youth group, or something similiar. (With the adult supervision of course!) I like the idea of a mexican buffet myself, but my bride to be isn't so hot on mexican food, as many of the guests won't be i'm sure. (A LOT of seniors) I will admit, I'm scared *beep*less in doing this on my own. Now, when I say on my own, I am meaning without a caterer. I will have help from family and friends in the prep department. Something was brought to my attention regarding desserts. We will have the wedding cake of couse (being professionally done), but how many 'other' types of desserts should I be setting out? Any suggestions on easy and cheap ones? And, how many 'pieces' per person for the sweets? :confused:
Always Remember..."Never Trust A Skinny Chef!"
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Always Remember..."Never Trust A Skinny Chef!"
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post #11 of 15
Whoops!! Wow, I'm so sorry!! - I couldn't tell from your user name (I suppose I just assume too much, ya know what they say).

:rolleyes:
I hope I didn't offend.....anyway, the best of luck in your wedding and your marriage!!
post #12 of 15
I'm a caterer, and I really don't have much to add that would be new and different. However, I would feel like remiss in my duties if I didn't make one comment, Mike.....PLEASE trust skinny chef! It just means we care enough about personal well being to get our fat asses to the gym every once in a while :)

Good luck with the wedding...let us know how it turns out
"Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid."

-Goethe
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"Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid."

-Goethe
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post #13 of 15

Dessert, my fav part

judging by your menu, you'd want to keep this simple and easy to handle. If you have the time, my grandmother use to make this really attractive item where she layered different coloured jello seperated by a white coconut milk jello (ie red strawberry, coconut milk, orange, coconut milk, green lime, etc.). Its time consuming but well worth it. If all else fails, I would make eclairs...classy, finger food, fairly easy to make, inexpensive.
post #14 of 15
Truffles, Dried apricots poached and put on sweetened cream cheese goo either on a fillo cup/tart shell or puff square, check out premade stuff....I say this because there will be so many details with your wedding much less your reception that premade may mean sanity. Things you can make in advance...choc. or white choc pretzels dipped and sprinkled with jimmies, served in a tall vase, cookies or bars, I would have something fruity.....watch for your diabetics, dieters etc....

Have prep lists and delegate.
When I have a party I have a binder with: menu, layout, rentals checklist, supply checklist (check especially for serving utensils), bar/beverage set up (don't forget the ice), timing sheet.....who arrives when, hodos when, buffet/dinner when, cake when......then a job breakdown for staff and there is ALWAYS someone in charge of liquids for the tables.
Make sure your food is handled safely.....a large party with ametuers in the kitchen may not keep the meats at the right temp, amazing how 2 hours total goes by and your product is out on the counter or on the buffet line.

Staff your party....ask someone to pay for it as a gift....REALLY. 125 will blow you away... I've done budget weddings before with the brides sisters bussing tables in their formals, or needing refills on the buffet, or washing glasses or tending bar....those days are gone for me, I will not walk into that scenerio, it really isn't a pretty picture. You can find people for $15-20 per hour, minimum 4 hours each, have one direct the rest of the staff.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #15 of 15
Congrats to your future nuptials. It sounds like you have a strong support system of friends and family.
Have you looked into frozen petit pastries via the larger stores like Cosco or BJ's? With a cake, 12 dozen would suffice. Fruit kebobs, using frill picks: cube of cantelope,honeydew and strawberry are a nice item for those watching calories and make for a nice display. If you don't have time to prep, consider sliced fruit or cubed fruit in large bowls with some whipped cream or
heavy cream on side.
How about chocolate dipped strawberries? Some places may offer
ice cream or cream filled profiteroles, you could serve those with some chocolate sauce.
I've read all the posts and support the general hope that you will have someone handling the food end of your reception so you and your bride are able to enjoy your day with your focus on each other and your family and friends.
Best of luck. mj
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