Tips on How to DIY Your Wedding Catering (with Videos!)
50% of your total wedding budget often goes to food and venue. But what happens if you have a limited budget? Your best bet is to DIY or self-catering. It could mean planning the menu and cooking the food yourself.
If you need help, here are tips to DIY your wedding catering.
1. Know How Much Food and Drink you Will Need
When you DIY your wedding catering, the first step is knowing how much food and drink you need to serve your guests. The key to a successful wedding is to think about all the little details – from table decor to menu and seating arrangements, you must predetermine all these. One of the most significant things to know with self-catering is how much food you need to prepare.
The first step is to know the number of people you will invite. All the planning aspects of a wedding will mainly depend on the size of your guest list. As for the food, you can determine the amount of food on a per-person basis. You can then adjust the ratio to fit the total number of guests.
Here’s a great video on deciding who and how many people to invite to your wedding:
On average, you can expect each guest to consume up to five appetizers per hour. As for the main entree and sides, you will only need one per person if you plan on serving individual meals. However, the amount of food to allocate per person could change if you plan on having a buffet. You can prepare one dessert for every guest. But if it’s a buffet, expect people to pick two to three selections for each variety of dessert you serve.
2. Ask for Help from Others
While DIY your wedding catering is a great way to save money, sometimes, you may need help from others to get things right and avoid unnecessary expenses. Catering at a wedding is not easy, especially if you do not have any experience with this. So, don’t hesitate to get help from friends or family.
Look for someone to help you plan the menu, shop for ingredients, and prepare, cook, and serve meals. Consider hiring people who can work part-time if you cannot find anyone to help. Also, if your helpers are not skilled cooks, choose food that you can prepare ahead and serve cold on your wedding day. That way, the only thing to do is to set them up.
Here are some tips on how to plan the wedding menu:
In addition, think about who will clean up the mess after the wedding. Since you will be self-catering, you are responsible for clearing the tables, washing dishes, etc. The last thing you want is to spoil your wedding day because you got exhausted from all the preparation.
3. Ask About the Kitchen Facilities at the Venue
Since you will be catering your wedding, you must ensure the venue has all the kitchen facilities and equipment you need for food preparation. They must also have proper storage facilities to prevent food spoilage. Safe consumption of food is essential for special celebrations like a wedding. The last thing you want is for your wedding guests to get sick and ruin the celebration. In fact, it would help if you take courses on food hygiene, this way you’ll learn how to store food properly and ensure they stay fresh for the wedding.
As you plan your food menu, determine the equipment for preparing each dish or drink. Test the equipment ahead, and ensure you know how to use it properly. Also, think about how to transport the ingredients to the venue. Check where you will store or chill them and find out if they have all the cooking facilities you need. These include utensils, supplies, etc. If you need to transport these things, consider the logistics involved.
Depending on your menu, you may need special equipment for preparing specific meals. For instance, you may need chafing dishes or serving pieces, so consider these when planning your catering budget.
4. Plan your Menu and Prep
Plan your menu and meal prep as early as possible. Except if you’re a professional chef, you don’t have to complicate your menu. Choose crowd-pleasing food options that you can easily prepare. Avoid those that are time-consuming to cook, such as those recipes that require multiple preparations.
Try to come up with a menu that’s easy to manage. For instance, you can have a salad, a side dish, protein for mains, and a delectable dessert to finish the meal. Homemade flatbreads are also great for starters.
You can also prepare a presentable charcuterie board with several bunches of grapes, dried fruits for cocktail hour, etc. Try braising short ribs for mains since they must never be undercooked or overcooked. As for the sides, roasted potatoes are the best options. They are best served warm or at room temperature. A veggie slaw or anything pickled that will not get soggy is also a good idea.
Here’s a lovely video showing you how to prepare a presentable charcuterie board:
The key is to keep your menu as simple as possible. Decide the menu based on how much help you have. Preparing the dishes and setting up your wedding table requires plenty of work, so consider these when pre-planning the menu.
5. Cook your Food Before the Wedding
Consider cooking the food two days before the wedding day. Assign tasks to everyone willing to help. Ensure everyone knows when you need their help and brief them on your timeline to avoid issues and delays.
You should be able to prepare nearly all types of food ahead, including hot dishes such as roast beef and chicken. You can cook them a few days before and reheat them on your wedding day. Just make sure you have proper facilities to store them. Also, ensure you properly reheat them on the wedding day for safe consumption. Here are some of our Food DIY ideas.
Finally – watch this funny clip to learn some more tips on how to DIY your wedding catering:
You can also consider ordering some food items from a restaurant if you do not have the time to cook them. It will be a lot cheaper than catering your entire menu. You can also do a semi-DIY, where you order other food items from a grocery, such as salads, sandwiches, and sushi.