How realistic is it to try and self cater our own wedding?

(35 Posts)
KateTheClumsyStripper Sun 19-Aug-12 09:20:07

Just that basically.....

We're getting married May 2013 in a lovely venue with loads of outside space -about 50-60 guests including about 12-15 children aged 0-12.

15:00 Ceremony
15:30 Photo's and canapes
16:30 High tea style cold finger buffet
19:00 Speaches, cutting the cake and live band
19:30 Evening barbecue
00:00 Leave venue

Unfortunatly 2 of the caterers that work with the venue have returned quotes in excess of £4,000 and the other caterer who's just affordable (at a stretch) isn't flexable from their set menu's (high tea is interpreted as jam sandwiches and prawn cocktail) and won't do a bbq in the evening.

Both our families are very greedy food driven and will not have a nice time if there's not large quantities of the food they approve of available. They've already shown their disapproval that we're having a Friday wedding - attention seeking apparently hmm

Now our friends think we're mad but have offered their help whatever we decide. The venue are also willing to layout and clear away the buffet and canape's but not the barbecue, they also have all the table linen cutlery/crockery/glassware to hire.

We don't want anything special (no quails eggs stuffed with gold plated caviar) just standard sandwiches, scones, cakes folllowed by burgers, sausages, veggie skewers etc.

So what do people think? Has anyone done it or been to a self catered wedding (we haven't)?

All advice/warnings very welcome.

ninjanurse Sun 19-Aug-12 09:27:11

I should think the barbecue would be easy to do. You could pre order all the meat from a local butcher and get it delivered. You might even be able to pay them a bit extra and persuade them to actually cook the barbecue.
For the buffet, you could ask each family to contribute a certain type of food, ie, one family does scones, one does cakes. You could even give them a bit of money to cover all their costs - be cheaper than a catered buffet.

Aftereightsaremine Sun 19-Aug-12 09:29:05

What about a hog roast?

Trazzletoes Bosnia-Herzegovina Sun 19-Aug-12 09:31:25

I went to a self-catered wedding once... All the guests got food poisoning because the chicken had not been properly stored. Other than that, it was great grin

RugBugs Sun 19-Aug-12 09:33:53

My DSis and family did her wedding party a few years ago. They had a hog roast for a BBQ which was excellent and all other food cold.

I would worry about refrigeration, can the venue store everything for you? If they could then I would get looking at the M&S food website! They have darling mini pastries on table ready platters.

sommewhereelse Sun 19-Aug-12 09:38:55

I've been to a self catered wedding but there was no bbq. The couple and their parents provided cold meat platters, cheese, bread and wine. Guests were asked not to bring a gift but to contribute to the buffet by bringing salads, quiche etc and to bring cakes for the dessert buffet. There were mini black boards on easels so you could write the name of the dish and who'd made it. It was good for bringing people together as often people would seek out others to tell them how they'd enjoyed their dish and ask for the recipe.

Cooking a bbq is a lot of work so you'd need to know in advance who is going to take on this task (I'm assuming you won't be doing this yourselves) and make sure they're not the sort of people who would have a beer too many and not perform it correctly.

Catsmamma Sun 19-Aug-12 09:39:22

Mum and I did my wedding, but we only had about 2 dozen guests...although by the time the day arrived we reckoned about forty came back to the house...small village, hungry organist, vicar, ladies who came to chuck confetti

It was fab!

But I was skinning and decorating a whole poached salmon on my wedding morning! :0

sommewhereelse Sun 19-Aug-12 09:39:55

I meant cooking a bbq for that many people is a lot of work.

BabsJansen Sun 19-Aug-12 09:43:23

I'd worry about food safety and hygiene. Keep looking for quotes! Hog or lamb roast is a good idea. Platters of sandwiches etc delivered from wait rose could work if you chose fillings carefully. They also do cupcakes etc for the high tea. There was a specialist BBQ company at one work function I went to.

Gooseysgirl Sun 19-Aug-12 09:47:14

I second the M&S site for party finger food for your buffet... Had DD christened when she was 8 weeks old and although I'd loved to have catered myself, instead I ordered sarnies etc from M&S, spent around £100 for 10 adults and we had loads left over! The food was available first thing on the day of the christening. They also seemingly do v good wedding cakes!

charitygirl Sun 19-Aug-12 10:08:27

We did it - cold buffet for ~120 guests. Hired caterers to make canapés (not essential) and to dish up and clear away (essential in my opinion) and serve drinks.

It was a lot of work on the morning of wedding but not too bad overall. We ordered big smoked ham, and big smoked turkey, and then poached 4 salmon in advance - they froze beautifully tho do need a big freezer to lay them flat.

Salads : asparagus, peas and beans w yog/mint dressing
Tomato and basil
Potato salad
Lentil and feta
Beetroot, orange, and fennel

Eton mess for pudding, then cheese, coffee and fudge (the homemade thing I was proudest of, which no one noticed!)

charitygirl Sun 19-Aug-12 10:10:34

We hired a mobile fridge by the way. I think we saved money by the end of it...smile

KateTheClumsyStripper Sun 19-Aug-12 10:11:18

Thanks everyone.

We have a friend who regularly does great (but smaller) barbecues at home offer to cook the barbeque food on the day. Another friend makes amazing cupcakes and has already offered her service. My family can't/won't contribute to the cooking and i wouldn't really trust them to actually do it/not make people sick!

We're having trouble getting different quotes as the venue stipulates that if we use a caterer then it should be one of their approved companies. Apparently they've had damages to the venue in the past - fair enough. There's one more but they haven't returned any of my calls/txts/emails in over a month so aren't looking very reliable. The venue say the can store the food in their fridges and set it out but won't take any legal type responsibility for it - if that makes sense.

I'm feeling like this could be a lot of work

charitygirl Sun 19-Aug-12 10:13:07

Sorry OP didn't read properly, you're looking for sandwiches etc. wasn't laying out my menu as some sort of tragic boast. Have also catered a high tea for 60+. PM me if you want my tips...

charitygirl Sun 19-Aug-12 10:25:56

Sounds like the only thing that would have to be made on the day =
Sandwiches (simple but time consuming)
Scones (quick tO make)

Victoria sponges freeze and can be assembled on the day. All the BBQ stuff can be frozen and if you have salads, keep it simple.

The key is cast iron - organisation, a to the hour schedule for the 48 hrs in advance, and reliable people doing the tasks. And hand over as much as possible to the venue on the day - you simply won't have the capacity to direct proceedings yourself!

KateTheClumsyStripper Sun 19-Aug-12 10:28:38

Have PM'd you Charity. Not taken as a stealth boast at all, in fact i think wedding sounds lovely smile

I was hoping to have it all ready a day or 2 before and then just fill things/put them together etc in the morning. Can anyone think of thigs that I could freeze and could defrosh during the ceremony. My menu ideas aren't set in stone if anyone out there can think of something that would be easier!

KateTheClumsyStripper Sun 19-Aug-12 10:29:26

Charity you're a faster typer than me... grin

AnnabellaFagina Sun 19-Aug-12 10:36:18

Get a hog roast.

Grumpla Sun 19-Aug-12 10:41:25

Do you know anyone with a Costco membership? Their meat is fab (both fresh and things like ham, chorizo etc) Also massive trays of Danish pastries / catering size cakes etc to bulk things out with.

I've been to a couple of self-catered weddings which were brill (guests all brought something) and my own wedding was partly self-catered, the caterers provided a cold buffet and we added fruit platters and vast quantities of cheese, a friend did our cakes etc.

It is the storing, setting out and clearing that is the big job - if the venue will do this then you should be fine!

sashh Mon 20-Aug-12 06:10:07

What about doing picnic baskets? You could put mostly things that don't need to be refrigerated and then after the ceremony have someone top them up with cold meats / fridge stuff.

Things that do not need to be refrigerated

bread (baggettes, rolls, fancy bread)
cake
cheese (it only hits the fridge when it gets tot he shop)
salad
crisps / nuts / olives / cherry tomatoes
biscuits/crackers
bread sticks
pickles / jam / chutney
pies / pastries / pasties

If it is fine then people can picnic outside.

BellaOfTheBalls Mon 20-Aug-12 06:22:32

When I priced up hog roast for 60 guests with salads, staff & a small evening BBQ the cheapest quote I got was £2k. shock

Like the picnic basket idea or the bring a dish not a gift.

It would be a lot of work and stressful. You would inevitably spend your wedding morning making sandwiches or salad etc. It would be much better if you could do anything that can be made in advance & frozen or stored safely then handed over anything that needed to be done that day to someone else. Hassle more caterers, they are probably very busy this time of year hence not getting back to you. Our caterer was amazing and was more than happy for us to do puddings, linens etc ourselves to cut costs and save her time.

ChuggaChuggaChooChoo Mon 20-Aug-12 07:12:46

I wouldn't try to do it yourself, you don't need the stress - but there's a half way point!

Avoid any business that has "weddings" in their publicity - they will be on the gravy train trying to milk you for all you're worth and will be intending to make a lot of profit from you. Instead, find a nice local small business that specialises in sandwich buffets - we have a splendid one which I use for work events all the time that will do sandwich platter lunches for £2.50 per head - somewhere like that will probably charge between 7.50 and £10 per head for a full "high tea" provision - and you can probably talk them in to manning the barbeque too (though they may ask you to provide the equipment. However - if you do this you must not go Bridezilla on them and start demanding that the sandwiches be cut in a particular shape or arranged in a particular way - expecting suppliers to cope with that kind of stress is only reasonable when you are paying "wedding" rates."

If that doesn't work out, then take your friends up on their offers - divide the work up into smallish parcels of tasks so that no individual has to do more than about an hour of work, create a "facebook group" that volunteers can sign up on, see the list and choose their task.

KateTheClumsyStripper Mon 20-Aug-12 10:17:54

Thank you everyone. Lots to think about.

melodyangel Mon 20-Aug-12 23:47:22

I catered for our wedding of around 60 guests including all ages and a handful veggies and a few vegans.

It was a lot of work and I think everyone thought, probably quite rightly that we were mad, but it was great fun and a hell of a lot cheaper. Our budget was £500 including drinks.

Good luck and delegate as much of the work as possible.

sleepymum50 Tue 21-Aug-12 00:23:02

We did an evening bbq when we married for about 60/70 people and it was brilliant.

Buy in the food (keep it simple), and pay for a couple of people to run the bbq. That way there's hardly any work involved for you and they can clean up as well. Ask at a local pub so you've got someone with catering experience.

We more recently had a hog roast (complete with chef and machine) and that was really special and worth the money.

Go for it - its easy, cheap and people love the food.

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