good idea having M & S if you can afford it. Otherwise you could do a buffet type thing with apart from sarnies things like cold pizza, chicken legs and a big bowl of salad, ham and cheeses, crusty bread, new pots with butter.
A barbeque is relatively easy with not too much prep before - just a couple of salads, buy some decent meat/sausages and get ice cream or cake for pud. Depends how much you trust the weather.
A giant cheese board with nice bread would also be simple to do, not a real meal but still quite filling.
Waitrose party food is pretty good - we have had their curries for christening parties. Having just done lunch for 20 I wouldn't under estimate the time and effort and at 38 weeks pregnant think it would be money well spent to buy the stuff in.
Depends how the invite was worded if a meal is expected. Also if people arrive at 5 and their isn't much food I guess people would leave earlier, especially those with children. So depends if you want them to stay all evening ?
Weather is not in the least reliable so I think a BBQ would be chancing it a bit.
I don't really mind them staying all evening. I guess the food has to be produced shortly after kick off and hang about til it's done, so has to be cold? Either that or I'm going to be running about keeping hpt stuff coming.
Could you do a big dish of something like curry, or bolognaisse. You could prepare these in advance and put in fridge or freezer. If you do salad type stuff, buy some from the deli counter, buy/bake fancy breads in advance and freeze, and maybe do some things like chicken legs in the oven.
Make a list now of everything you will need; right down to plates and glasses, so you aren't stressed on the day counting cutlery. Go easy on yourself and buy in as much as possible, you have enough going on right now.
Agree with Chip Butty, your family shouldn't expect you to be catering for them when you're 38 weeks pregnant.
We went to a 40th where they bought lots of different cheeses, pates, french bread and crackers, and people just helped themselves. It was really lovely. Optionally add a couple of salads (that someone else has made), a big dish of cocktail sausages if you like them, and perhaps a couple of bowls of grapes/cherries/strawberries and you're sorted.
hve used M+S loads and would recommend a couple of their sandwich platters, some cheese, some nice bread and maybe a plate of smoked salmon -- also make sure you add some fresh stuff to prevent if becoming too stodgy... takes about 10 mins to set up -- as I knwo from experience!
for dessert would just make a huge bowl of strawberries with fresh cream -- always a winner and non sweet tooth people can just have more cheese.. or a couple of ready made big cakes but with berries at side..
that would be far more than anyone should deserve to be served by a 38 week pg lady!
I really think cold would be best, that way it goes out and stays put til it's done. And we don't need to have a set time for eating. People can 'graze'.
Not sure about asking people to bring. It's a bit of a standing joke in my family. There's a certain person who asks people to bring food no matter what the occasion (kids birthdays included). I suppose it's different being so pg though.