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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.

BackforGood Tue 21-Aug-12 00:30:49

YOu need to clarify with the venue exactly what is and isn't allowed. Some will only allow their own caterers, some will let linked caterers, some will allow a person to cater only if they have the right food hygiene certificates, etc., but not friends and family. That's what you need to clear up first.
After that, you really, really, really don't want to be making piles of sarnies on your wedding day morning ! If they are happy with food being brought in, then use one of the suggestions above - supermarket or M&S platters, or smaller, local catering companies.

JustSpiro Tue 21-Aug-12 00:36:14

We self-catered our wedding for 80 people, but had the advantage that both DH and his best man are chefs, and the venue was the private school where DH worked at the time.

We had a fairly elaborate sit down buffet - dressed salmon & prawns, cold roast chicken, beef and ham, veggie quiches, assorted salads and buttered new potatoes. DH and BM, plus DH's colleague prepped most of it the day before, and we paid colleague £50 to finish off on the day itself - so basically just cooking the spuds and organising everything - and three of the catering assistants a fiver an hour to serve and help set up and clear away.

Evening buffet (for about 115) was typical finger food - tbh I can't remember who sorted that - I think DH and BM just popped off for half an hour to warm through the few bits that needed it, and the mum's laid it all out.

We also hired a bar which was great value and really kept our costs down - don't know if that is something you might want/need to consider. Am going back 9 years but they charged about £80 for mobile bar and 2 staff from 7-11pm including setting up and clearing away. My Dad put some money behind so everyone got a free drink or two and then bought their own. They charged standard pub prices.

It is do-able but you need to do your research thoroughly, be very organised and have enough people who you can really, really rely on to help out.

TobyLerone Wed 22-Aug-12 11:32:59

Who's paying £2k for a hog roast?!

Last night I got a quote for a hog roast for 80-odd, with salads and potatoes, served buffet-style. It was under £700.

CMOTDibbler Wed 22-Aug-12 11:44:22

BIL/SIl just had a hog roast for 80 with salad/new pots and it was £600. V nice too.

OP, with your times, I'd do a hog roast at 5, then some french bread, cheese, cold meat and pickles at 9.30 as then you could do the platters the day before with no hassle and just pull them out. I wouldn't do canapes as they are a waste of money with those times

HalfSpamHalfBrisket Wed 22-Aug-12 11:52:28

Do it!
The best wedding I have ever been to was my friends' self-catered one. We (the bridesmaids, mothers of bride and groom, close friends) got together the day before and made loads of salads, breads and cold dishes. It was brilliant fun, and we all really felt more a part of the wedding than if we had just turned up on the day. At the same time the groom and his friends decorated the hall & set up tables and chairs.
As someone else said, rope in people to serve/clear up so no-one misses out during the reception (the bride and groom were teachers so borrowed some school children!).

worldgonecrazy Wed 22-Aug-12 12:03:43

We managed it for 250 guests, but as a disclaimer, I do have experience of mass catering, as does my mum.

Our menu was:

stack of bread rolls, next to sliced meats and cheese so people could make their own rolls
wraps, variations on salmon, cream cheese and salad, rolled up and cut into one inch thick slices - looked very professional
potato salad - boiled new potatoes, lots of mayo and seasoning and some chopped spring onions
coleslaw - home made, very simple to do
sausage rolls - home made months before and frozen, but you could cheat and buy from the shops
crisps, dips, pickles etc.
greek salad - lettuce with some chopped feta, cherry tomatoes and and some olives
cakes - we cheated and bought these in
Can't remember what else but it was all very easy stuff.

We had large bowls which were restocked from large plastic storage tubs (the sort you buy for household storage)
Don't buy cheap paper plates, it's worth splashing out.
We set up the table in the centre of the room so that the queue could pass either side.
Don't forget cutlery!

Aldi, Lidl and the local veg shop are your friends. A couple of friends also helped mum ensure that the food was kept topped up.

We were eating coleslaw for a week afterwards! It can be tricky to work out quantities, we didn't run out of anything.

poppy283 Wed 03-Oct-12 14:16:09

My aunt got married last year and asked everyone to bring something simple,the invites explained their idea, and said:

If there is anything that you love to cook please do that. If not please make or buy ...

KateTheClumsyStripper Wed 03-Oct-12 22:54:16

Thanks everyone for your advice - your weddings sound really lovely.

We've used your advice on what this could/should cost and got 2 caterers down to half price :D - get me with my hagglin' skillz.

Helps that the cake maker has agreed to throw in some cupcakes and macaroons so we've dropped the deserts from the caterers.


TeaDr1nker Wed 03-Oct-12 23:00:45

Yes it can be done but you must be organised. My brother did this for his wedding. Unfortunately after months of declining any help from family I got a call 24 hours before with pleas of help!!!!

If guests all bring a dish it can work well just make sure everyone knows what they are doing, and recheck they are still happy to help nearer the time too

Congrats, enjoy

Ninjacat Wed 03-Oct-12 23:41:14

We catered for 120 - afternoon tea.
Scones (made by my mum and some friends the night before but do freeze well)
Finger Sandwiches (made by hubby and best man on morning of wedding - ordered the bread from local bakery and had it sliced length ways)
Cake (made by me - Ginger and banana loafs can be made in advance and madera freezes well)
All laid out on tables by a group of friends with use of a friends vintage crockery collection.
It does mean you spend the night before your wedding catering which we were happy to do but it wasn't a big white one.

Couldn't have catered for the evening as well I don't think. We needed to be able to relax and enjoy the actual day.

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