Many people dream of the perfect wedding — the dress, wedding rings, the reception, and everything in between. There’s no doubt about it though, weddings can end up costing quite a bit of money. If you’d like to find options that will help you save money whenever possible, the idea of catering your reception yourself might be something you should consider. It can be a big job that requires a lot of attention, but you won’t have to hire a professional catering company if you can handle doing it yourself.
Create a Plan
Catering your own wedding reception requires careful planning to make sure you have every detail ironed out. You’ll need to figure out how many people are planning to attend, what food choices make the most sense, and where you’re going to get the equipment needed to make this all happen. Start writing it all down as soon as you can, and edit and add to the plan whenever you think of new things. Creating a plan will help you stay more organized during this whole process. Keep in mind that you do not have to serve large elaborate meals. You can plan your wedding to occur in the afternoon so it’s between lunch and dinner.
Serve Simple Foods
You can keep the food as simple and as budget-friendly as you want. It’s your wedding, so you’re in complete control. If you know of guests with certain dietary restrictions, such as those who are vegan or gluten intolerant, you can try and make sure you have options for everyone. Some easy ideas for appetizers include: fresh fruits and veggies placed on skewers, pita and hummus, cheese plates, and chips and dips. For the main meal, you can have a buffet so your guests can serve themselves. Your buffet can include inexpensive but filling options such as mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, casseroles, grilled chicken or eggplant, pulled pork, and stir-fry.
Use Your Own Supplies
Reducing the costs of your wedding reception can start by using your own supplies rather than buying brand new just for this event. Make a list of everything needed and then check off what you already have. Whatever you don’t already own, you can ask your friends and family members if they’ll let you borrow theirs. If there are still some things you need, you can check out second-hand stores to see if you can find the remainder of the items for very cheap. The main things you’ll need are:
- Salad, dinner, and bread plates
- Salt and pepper shakers
- Water and wine glasses
- Tablecloths and napkins (paper or fabric)
- Food serving equipment such as serving trays, bus bins, and water pitchers
If you’re cooking using your own cookware, make sure everything is in good condition and that you always heat the oil properly before cooking to avoid food sticking.
Know How to Safely Serve Food
Preparing the food is only one part of catering your own reception; you’re also going to need to know how to safely serve all of these foods to avoid anyone getting sick. Your hot foods should be cooked to at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit (or hotter, depending on the food). Cold foods should be stored and kept at less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit You should make sure the food warmers you have are capable of heating foods up to the safest temperatures.
Catering your own reception is a lot of work, and it can be hectic at times. Doing it yourself when you have a lot of guests coming might be very overwhelming, but it’s definitely doable with a smaller crowd. It can make things a lot easier for you if you ask your closest friends and family members for help. Designating specific jobs for certain people can make everything go smoother.