Catering Your Own Wedding
July 13, 2015 • Menus
If you are reading this blog post, it means I survived. Survived, that is, cooking 12 recipes for a wedding of 120 people for my niece this past weekend. Why in the world, you ask, would you ever do the food yourself for a family wedding? For one reason only: cost. The ingredients for these 12 dishes to serve a crowd of 120 cost only about $700. Yes, you are doing the math right – that’s less than $6 per person for quite an elaborate spread. But how to handle such a daunting task? Read on for how I managed to get this done – only 6 weeks after having total knee replacement surgery!
Don’t get me wrong, this is a huge undertaking, best tackled by someone in the family (me) with professional cooking or catering experience. But if you have someone like that, or you’re willing to work as a family team, you can put on one heck of a spread on the cheap.First you’ll need to plan a menu. For a large group, you want a good number of selections, including variety. Here’s the menu we settled on – you’ll notice it’s heavy on the vegetarian dishes, because the bride is a vegetarian. But there is also a shellfish, fish, meat, and poultry item on the list. Make sure you balance your choices in the menu and don’t choose things that will clash with each other in flavor profiles.Passed Appetizers:
Chile-Citrus Shrimp with Red Curry Vinaigrette
Eggplant Crostini with Romesco Vinaigrette and RicottaSoup and Salads:
Fruit Gazpacho Soup with Mint
Baby Spinach and Greens Salad with Chipotle Buttermilk Dressing
Quinoa, Black Bean, and Corn Pilaf
Roasted Beets with Pistachios and Goat CheeseBreads:
Sweet Corn Spoon Bread Muffins
Goat Cheese Rosemary BiscuitsEntrees:
Lamb Meatballs with Lemon Yogurt Sauce
French Tarragon Chicken Salad
Salmon with Artichoke, Tomato, Olive Tapenade
Seared Polenta Cakes with Roasted Vegetable ToppingNext, you need to plan to shop ahead, and probably need to shop more than once. I shopped 3 different times, the first time 10 days ahead to pick up anything that was nonperishable, or could be cooked and frozen in advance. Then I shopped at the warehouse store 4 days before the wedding to pick up anything that I could get there in order to save money, and finally I shopped the regular grocery store 3 days before the wedding to pick up primarily produce and other small items I hadn’t yet purchased.Finally, it’s time to cook. The dishes I prepped far in advance were all ones I could freeze: the meatballs, muffins, and biscuits, all of which I was able to cook after my first trip to the store, along with the Romesco sauce for the shrimp. Four days before the wedding I shredded the chicken for the chicken salad. Three days before the wedding I roasted the beets, and made the quinoa.That left Thursday and Friday for heavy cooking days and I ensured I had help with me for both of those days. You’ll need a lot of freezer and refrigerator space as you prep everything, so if you don’t have that, borrow a bunch of extra large coolers and invest in some ice.About the only thing we didn’t plan well for was the incredibly strong microburst storm that passed through about 10 minutes after this photo. It nearly lifted the 150 foot tent off the ground, soaked anyone who happened to be standing outside at the beverage table, and was a bear for my serving staff to maneuver through. But in the end, everyone pulled together to help, and we all enjoyed a fantastic family wedding.Next up in our family is my son Chris and his girl Katie (couple to the right in this photo) who will be married this fall, and with any luck, my other son Jon and his girl Keely won’t be far behind!
Most all of the recipes from this menu came from my two cookbooks – Tasting Colorado and A Taste of Washington. If you live in the Denver area I have signed copies for sale for a reduced price of $25!
3 Comments • Comments Feed