Yes, cooking for your own wedding is a lot of work even if you plan very carefully and work very efficiently. The positive side of DIY wedding catering however is that it carries with it several statements. First of all, preparing the food yourself makes the bride and groom ‘hosts’ and not ‘guests of honor’… it sort of brings everybody closer socially because it’s a statement of hospitality to your guests. It’s one thing to have the money to pay to entertain lavishly but it’s quite another thing to make the sacrifice in time and effort to buy and prepare food, or any other type of entertainment for guests, yourself.
You can absolutely bet that even if the food you prepare doesn’t quite measure up to Chef Pierre Louie deFive Star in terms of quality and/or cuteness, it will be much more appreciated by the guests who know the work you put into it. Here are a few tips from an award winning Sydney wedding caterer, Mushroom Catering.
Furthermore, to the extent that you are able to enlist the help of family and friends in the preparations, they will feel the wedding all the more special.
Let’s break the problem down and look at it from a couple of different perspectives:
First of all, assuming the bride and groom are involved… where are some logical places to look for help?
- Local college students who want the experience
Looking a bit more detail at these options… (again assuming these people actually volunteered…) In-laws often have valuable cooking skills. They certainly know what the bride and groom like to eat and they should be easy to work with because everybody is already friends.
Some of the couple’s friends (especially the ladies) might enjoy participating in the food buying and preparation. Or perhaps you can delegate the shopping to the men and the preparation to the ladies (to be fair and spread the work around, right?)
If you’re having the meal at either of the newlywed’s residence, it’s very possible that some of your neighbors like to could help. They might already be invited guests and they also might actually enjoy getting involved. If they could make some of the dishes in their own kitchens and bring them over on the day of the event… that would work very well.
It’s also likely that neighbors would be happy to help if the bride and groom have been raised in that neighborhood. Everybody knows them already in a small town or a close-knit community.
One resource that’s often overlooked is the students studying catering or some other type of degree having to do with food preparation at a local junior college or college. Even if you have to pay them, it might still be a bargain but it’s entirely possible that they’d do it just to have it on their resume.
Secondly, let’s look at some of the things you can buy at local discount stores that nevertheless are perfectly appropriate and useful in wedding catering meals. www.theperfectweddingguide.com will have a full list mapped out so you can make your picks based on proximity.
Don’t Leave Out Simple Snacks
You’ve got chips of all kinds (i.e. potato chips, et.al.), steaks, cheeses, beans (cheap but always highly edible), salads (many supermarkets sell different kinds of salads in bulk), soft drinks, coffee and teas, wines and other alcoholic beverages, veggie platters (or buy in bulk and make your own), smoked meats (e.g. turkey), sausages (lots of variety here), breads and pastries (lots of variety here too… don’t forget cupcakes for the kids) and more.
Another option for DIY wedding catering is to have a menu where much of the meat is grilled. That makes it more reasonable for the guests to cook their own food. All you’d have to do is buy it and put it out where they can select it but grill it themselves. This also prevents any complaints about it not being cooked right.
DIY works fine as long as the menu is kept simple and the quality of the ingredients is kept high. You know your guest list better than anybody else and obviously they’ll be of a similar mindset to the bride and groom. If the bride and groom are the type who are into the DIY format, then the guests probably would appreciate it too.
Jeff W. A food and entertainment blogger at the Local Q&A blog.