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Aug 22, 2009 01:35 PM

Semi-Catered Funky Picnic Wedding Food

My fiancee and I are organizing our wedding for Next September. We're trying to keep it affordable, but a guest list of 160 makes it challenging.

We figured a picnic-style reception would keep it manageable and we're thinking of cutting catering costs by maybe organizing from scrumptious take-out from local eateries and cooking up at least some of the stuff ourselves. Or, rather, using the help of talented and eager volunteers. Any suggestions for tasty, unique big batch dishes that can be prepared easily the day of or hold overnight?

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  1. FRIED CHICKEN. Some friends who got married grew their own chickens!

    We had the challenge of having a lot of vegan guests, so we baked loaves of several types of bread and had an assortment of sandwich fillings: roast beeves for the meatitarians, grilled portabello mushrooms, baba ganoush, etc. There were lots of snacky things too, like crudite, fruits, cheeses and dips. If you are going to DIY the catering, I suggest appointing a head caterer. I basically wrote my good friend a check and he made sure all the food got put out on time.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Blanche Davidian

      Yep, good fried chicken is casual and glorious all at the same time. My sister had a casual wedding & reception and she ordered huge take out pans of fried chicken from a local chicken spot in town. Panzanella salad, lots of fresh vegetables, tapanade & other dips, fruits, cheeses, charcuterie and good bread. That would be my perfect celebration meal. Congrats!

    2. I second the fried chicken. This you can arrange to get from one or multiple grocery store deli's to assure you have enough for your guests. Making a big batch a a german style potato salad (red potato, real bacon crumbles, blue cheese crumbles and minced chives dressed with a tangy dijon viagrette) is easy and do ahead. Bush's grilling beans are pretty tasty and would be a good side choice too plus a huge green salad??

      The other thought is while volunteers are great you need a few professionals. Consider posting and add for a Banquet Captain who would be willing to moonlight (likely for cash) and run your reception. Also, if you frequent a restaurant and like the server(s) ask if they ever do side work. Allows you to up the service and ambiance and reduce worry. Also, in many cases renting serve ware and utensils is actually less expensive then buying stuff. Or, with this much time to plan - you can regularly hit thrift stores and probably cheaply buy enough plates and utensils to use.