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Catering First Wedding…Need Advice!

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hello Everyone,

 

I will be catering my first wedding (other than my own) in August for 100 guests, from 8pm-12am.  I co-own a casual dining style restaurant, but we do not do much offsite catering, and the wedding menu will be completely off my restaurant's menu.  The couple are friends of mine and when they originally asked me, the plan was for a very informal wedding.  They wanted a small wedding, and pretty much only required drop off service at their home and finger food for a cocktail hour at the church.  They have changed plans and have since rented an event hall.  The hall has an incredibly small kitchen, standard size refrigerator and no stove/oven.  I will also need to rent banquet tables, as the hall only has guest tables.  I will be hiring waitstaff from a local company, I'm thinking I will hire about 4 waiters, and I will have my staff of 3, making it a total of 7 people.  The meal will be served buffet style, with one light refreshment station.  I will be setting up the guest tables also as this is an event hall and they don't specialize in weddings, and the couple does not have an event planner. 

 

As far as the menu, the one station will include cheese/crackers, fruit display, bruschetta, cocktail empanadas and cocktail burger sliders.  She is getting a wedding cake from another vendor but I will also be setting up a venetian dessert table.  The buffet will consist of buttermilk biscuits, dinner rolls, garden salad, spinach & strawberry salad, baked chicken, meatballs, lobster macaroni & cheese, yellow rice & vegetarian lasagna.

 

I will be renting plate chargers, banquet tables, linen and glasses.  I will be purchasing elegant disposables (china-like plastic plates and silver-like plastic flatware) as she is trying to keep some costs down.  I am not responsible for the bar, as she hired an outside bartender.  So my question is can anyone give me some assistance as far as how much food to make for a buffet, and suggestions on pricing if possible.  Also, suggestions on execution are greatly appreciated as well, in light of the limitations of the venue, and the fact that we only have 2 hours for setup.

 

Thank you in advance!


Edited by lncarter82 - 6/7/16 at 7:05pm
post #2 of 8

@Incarter82,

You'll receive a lot of good info. I breezed through and just wanted to note. Have the cake table ready early. Call to confirm their delivery, ask about flowers, make sure they are putting them on.

   I don't know if i would take the time to rent. place, and remove charger if using upscale disposables. Not sure how your state runs but check on the bartender, licensed, permitted, relieve yourself of any liabilities.

Post a time so the chefs will have a better suggestion on amounts.

Have fun!

FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #3 of 8

Panini........He did........8pm to 12am.

 

After the dinner hour. People will graze, not dive in

August you didn't mention where you are but August is usually pretty warm in much of the US and people tend to eat less when it is warm.

 

It's only 100 people and it's a buffet. Your staff of three plus yourself and 2 wait staff is enough.

If you make the buffet 2 sided you'll push them through faster.

 

Your menu reads more like a dinner than anything else.

8:00 dining time? Reasonable.

Most wedding receptions I did as a banquet Chef never started before 7:30......

 

Menu amounts....I would be happy to assist you.PM me.

post #4 of 8

I would suggest to prevent problems get everything in writing.  Get a contract. 

post #5 of 8

sorry @Chefross,

 I didn't see the time, it probably a diversionary tactic in my mind because i know you guys are much more qualified on food production and quantities.

I'm so old now, I've lost the internal food clock. Now, my greatest dining experiences are after 12-1am: Usually a Chef friend will invite to his place to join him for a meal. If we have a few sips of wine, I'm usually driven home by sober Sous, a busboy, or dishwasher. Thank god for bilingual GPS.

FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
Reply
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by lncarter82 View Post
 

Hello Everyone,

 

I will be catering my first wedding (other than my own) in August for 100 guests, from 8pm-12am.  I co-own a casual dining style restaurant, but we do not do much offsite catering, and the wedding menu will be completely off my restaurant's menu.  The couple are friends of mine and when they originally asked me, the plan was for a very informal wedding.  They wanted a small wedding, and pretty much only required drop off service at their home and finger food for a cocktail hour at the church.  They have changed plans and have since rented an event hall.  The hall has an incredibly small kitchen, standard size refrigerator and no stove/oven.  I will also need to rent banquet tables, as the hall only has guest tables.  I will be hiring waitstaff from a local company, I'm thinking I will hire about 4 waiters, and I will have my staff of 3, making it a total of 7 people.  The meal will be served buffet style, with one light refreshment station.  I will be setting up the guest tables also as this is an event hall and they don't specialize in weddings, and the couple does not have an event planner. 

 

As far as the menu, the one station will include cheese/crackers, fruit display, bruschetta, cocktail empanadas and cocktail burger sliders.  She is getting a wedding cake from another vendor but I will also be setting up a venetian dessert table.  The buffet will consist of buttermilk biscuits, dinner rolls, garden salad, spinach & strawberry salad, baked chicken, meatballs, lobster macaroni & cheese, yellow rice & vegetarian lasagna.

 

I will be renting plate chargers, banquet tables, linen and glasses.  I will be purchasing elegant disposables (china-like plastic plates and silver-like plastic flatware) as she is trying to keep some costs down.  I am not responsible for the bar, as she hired an outside bartender.  So my question is can anyone give me some assistance as far as how much food to make for a buffet, and suggestions on pricing if possible.  Also, suggestions on execution are greatly appreciated as well, in light of the limitations of the venue, and the fact that we only have 2 hours for setup.

 

Thank you in advance!

 

1)  You need to take the food down after a certain time.  Hodos start coming down before dinner or you will just have a huge mess.

 

2)  Charge per platter for cheese and crackers.  Same with fruit displays.  You have enough hands to pass the finger food so I would consider doing that as well.  This way you can go a bit lighter and control waste.  

 

3)  The buffet items can be done on site and then transported.  Assemble the bruschetta and sliders on site.  You will need plenty of cambros, pans to go inside the cambros, speed racks for cold stuff, sheet pans and moving wrap from the hardware store to wrap your speed racks so the pans don't fly out while in the truck..  Transport your water glasses in the racks, right side up, rapid fill at the sink if you can with ice and water way before hand.  Bring your folding tables for work space.

 

4)  I would not do chargers.  This is a buffett.  If bride wants chargers for whatever reason then by all means.  It's just an extra bit to worry about.  Technically you remove the charger before service so that's an extra 10 minutes.

 

5)  Charge per person for cake cutting.  This is standard.

 

6)  If it were me, in say small town America, I would do at least $2 each for the finger food and dessert items, and about $35 for dinner.  Then add gratuity on top of that.

 

7)  Decide whether it's going to be served by servers or free for all buffet.

 

8)  Get your money up front.  As much of it as you can.   Get a deposit, schedule a tasting (free) after deposit for extra special items and entrees, maybe one dessert.  Make sure it is exactly what she wants.

 

9)  Get your money.

 

That's all I can come up with from reading your post.  :)  

post #7 of 8
Elegant disposables are mutually exclusive IMO.
Take the savings from the Chargers and apply to rentals.
If still over budget have the couple borrow from family and friends.
It will make a huge difference after all is said and done.

mimi
post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by lncarter82 View Post
 

Hello Everyone,

 

I will be catering my first wedding (other than my own) in August for 100 guests, from 8pm-12am.  I co-own a casual dining style restaurant, but we do not do much offsite catering, and the wedding menu will be completely off my restaurant's menu.  The couple are friends of mine and when they originally asked me, the plan was for a very informal wedding.  They wanted a small wedding, and pretty much only required drop off service at their home and finger food for a cocktail hour at the church.  They have changed plans and have since rented an event hall.  The hall has an incredibly small kitchen, standard size refrigerator and no stove/oven.  I will also need to rent banquet tables, as the hall only has guest tables.  I will be hiring waitstaff from a local company, I'm thinking I will hire about 4 waiters, and I will have my staff of 3, making it a total of 7 people.  The meal will be served buffet style, with one light refreshment station.  I will be setting up the guest tables also as this is an event hall and they don't specialize in weddings, and the couple does not have an event planner. 

 

As far as the menu, the one station will include cheese/crackers, fruit display, bruschetta, cocktail empanadas and cocktail burger sliders.  She is getting a wedding cake from another vendor but I will also be setting up a venetian dessert table.  The buffet will consist of buttermilk biscuits, dinner rolls, garden salad, spinach & strawberry salad, baked chicken, meatballs, lobster macaroni & cheese, yellow rice & vegetarian lasagna.

 

I will be renting plate chargers, banquet tables, linen and glasses.  I will be purchasing elegant disposables (china-like plastic plates and silver-like plastic flatware) as she is trying to keep some costs down.  I am not responsible for the bar, as she hired an outside bartender.  So my question is can anyone give me some assistance as far as how much food to make for a buffet, and suggestions on pricing if possible.  Also, suggestions on execution are greatly appreciated as well, in light of the limitations of the venue, and the fact that we only have 2 hours for setup.

 

Thank you in advance!

 

 

What time is the Ceremony, how long is their Ceremony, and how far is it from the reception venue? That could affect how much they eat.

 

Buffet style you generally need 1 server per 25ppl, plus one extra set of hands for good measure. Do you have or are you renting Chafers? Make sure you have enough sternos. Before you give them a price, ask them their budget. Work your cost into their budget. Dont just blindly give them a price.In the end you might have to cut some stuff to make their budget.

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