party for 25-30...should i be worried?
I am hosting a wedding rehearsal party for around 25-30 people. It's at 7pm - a casual, but festive buffet style dinner. (there are enough chairs for everyone- but dispersed throughout living room, den and patio- so food should be easy to eat) Up until now i have been totally relaxed about it- but many people now have expressed that it is too much for me to do alone. I am starting to wonder...more importantly, i was hoping to get input on my menu...
hot hors d'ouerves (purchased)
hummus dip (purchased)
vegetable tray with dip(purchased)
breads, crackers (purchased)
chilled pea soup shooters
new potato salad
I have two full days to prepare. I plan on making the veggie lasagna, the potato salad, the trifle, the couscous salad and the soup in advance...as well as the fruit kebabs.
The lasagna, potato salad, couscous recipe and soup recipes are very simple...low labour and time. The fruits kebabs and boccocini skewers are more labour intensive, but i enjoy them... and i want some special elements as this is a wedding rehearsal party....
i think that you might be totally fine. it is a reasonable plan.
i've done catering. some things to consider about your plan:
-you should plan ahead every single serving platter / cup / fork / etc. you will need more than you think.
-you should think about what you will wear, how you will be involved while serving, where the dirty dishes will go / the general flow of activities. think through oven space, the fact that you can only be in only place a time. are you planning on serving and socializing? i don't think you can realistically do both of those things at once.
-if you could pair down to less separate courses, i think you should do that.
-it's better to have less things that are delicious, and plenty of it, than lots of different things.
-fruit kebabs - how will you keep them fresh looking? what about the basil? it will turn black once skewered.
-hot hors d'ouevres - who will serve them while they are hot?
-i confess, why the samosas? seems sorta random, but i'm sure there's a reason you want them?
-what will the people drink? who will serve it? where will you stash all of their coats? where will you store the pre-made items? your home fridge will not store that quantity of food.
i guess i generally would do less. you will not create a more "special" effect by offering more variety - it is better to do a few things really well. just my grain of salt, and my experience. people will notice a *really* delicious lasagna. they will never care that they got to choose between a dozen different nibbles while they stood around. i think that the best things about your plan are having plenty of prep time, the purchased hors d'oevres, the salads which will be good at any temp, the lasagna, and the trifle. i would get rental china, unless you have your own. i would hire a server, or else be committed to not having fun yourself.
thanks, i appreciate your detailed input. It is a bit more casual than your comments suggest though- we aren't having china, but disposables...so I have accounted for that end, and i have counted serving bowls etc and obtained extras - i think i am okay on that front as well.
i'm not serving so much as having a buffet- i have a couple of friends who will serve hors d'ouerves while hot
samosas- because they are a favourite of the bride, because they offer another more substantial vegetarian option, and because they are made ahead of time and don't require anything
drinks are taken care of - not too worried about that
i am somewhat worried about space in the fridge, but i plan to essentially empty it out in advance and hope for the best- not sure if there is a better solution here...
drinks are going to go in coolers so that should help.
i am purposely trying to keep this a casual affair- and don't want servers or caterers for that reason, my fun is less important than keeping everyone comfortable.
i'm also going for more options because although i am serving a vegetarian meal(this is non-negotiable), most guests are not themselves vegetarians, so i am trying to provide lots of options.
i'm not worried about the fruit kebabs- i make them with strawberries, pineapple, grapes, melon- things that keep well- i haven't had a problem with them before.
i haven't made the boccocini skewers before- i didn't think the basil was an issue- what kind of time lines are we talking about?- i was thinking of putting these together near the end- but may ditch them in favour of a watermelon feta salad....
i really appreciate your input- thanks!!!
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Hire the help anyway. I was having a sit down, 4 course dinner for both sides of our family which ended up totaling 24. I received tons of "ribbing" from both sides because I hired someone to help with the set up, clearing of plates, and cleaning. Everyone said it would make them "uncomfortable" having someone wait on them at a family event, or "its just a waste of money and we can do it", or flat out comment like "who are you trying to impress".
After dinner was over, they all shut up and ended up asking if they could contribute to the cost of the help and wanted to make sure we had the help at all future events. You've obviously been gracious enough to offer to host this event. Make it easier on you by getting the help for a few hours. Not having a dirty kitchen from all of the trays, serving spoons, dishes and cookware at the end of the night will be a huge blessing. And guest won't feel obligated to get in the kitchen with you to help with the clean up.
I would also suggest reducing your number of hors d'ouerves. The hummus and a beautiful cheese tray with some fruit would be sufficient considering your serving a full meal. I'd also remove the potatoe salad and instead do the couscous and the grean salad. Or if you area really set on the boccocini/tomato/basil skewers, instead make that into a salad to serve with the lasagna course.
On storage of the food, borrow large coolers from friends and store your salads and vegetables. Leave the ice in the bag and then when you set the food out, you can use the extra ice for drinks. I also set up a roaster in my utility room and use it to keep hot items warm until serving. I'll cook the lasagna 2 ahead, take out and stack the pans in the roaster, turn it on to warm, and it stays great until ready to serve. This makes cutting easier and frees up my oven. If you don't have a roaster, you can use a cooler to keep warm items warm, or I've wrapped casseroles in heating blankets.
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To be really hinest I find the menu far to full of carbs. There is very little I would eat that is on the menu. Cheese and green salad is about it, maybe some of the veg tray. Whether you will eat it or not you need to provide some protein options. As you said you don't know many of these people and many may be stopping for a burger on the way home. You might consider something with shrimp or seafood of some sort. Maybe 2 lasagnas? One veg and one with shrimp and scallops?
You'll be fine. As a vegetarian, the menu looks great. I also think most people won't notice a lack of protien. I've noticed a lot of non-vegetarians get worried that there will be something lacking from a meal that doesn't feature meat. Then, they come, eat dinner, love it and never really notice. Every now and again, someone says something and I reassure them there will be another meal after this one.
I come from a family that regulary has meals for 15-40 people, some are small children. It is a lot of work, but with two days to prepare, you should be fine.
Just make sure you have plenty of ice! Enjoy!