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May 26, 2010 06:55 PM

Catering my wedding and need ideas!

I'm getting married in July and need ideas for dinner food for around 60 people. Because my family and I are preparing the food and we don't want a huge time gap between the ceremony and the dinner, we are looking for dishes for which a lot of the prep work can be done in advance (in the morning or the day before) and then served buffet-style. (Maybe one or two hot dishes and then the rest either cold or room temp) It is an outdoor wedding, so not super formal, but I want it to be more special than a back-yard bbq. Any ideas?


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  1. My brother catered his wedding too. I have to say.... you are completely nuts. Like you don't have other things to worry about ?? Dress? Flower girl crisis? Maid of Honour crisis? Crazy Aunt crisis? Flowers? Decorations? Your brothers messing filling your car with confetti (maybe that's just my family)?

    Ok if you are going to do it anyway.
    Cold buffet: poached salmon, cold prawns, muscles and clams, green salad, pasta salad, amazing cheese platter, cold grilled veggies, cold roast beef, bruchetta, buns, baby potato salad.

    The trick is good quality and good sauces and presentation. Cold potato salad screams picnic but baby potato salad with sd tomato, fresh basil and asiago is gourmet. Poached salmon served with a lime burre blanc is yummy.

    1 Reply
    1. re: julesincoq

      You really have to be careful if your doing a buffet outside with seafood. In July I woud not entertain doing seafood out side. It can spoil very quick in heat.

    2. Don't forget to keep food safety in mind - mayonnaise in potato salad sitting around, etc.

      4 Replies
      1. re: souschef

        @souschef, the mayonnaise isn't a problem - that's an old wives tale. in fact, it can inhibit spoilage.

        @spainter, congratulations! you might find some ideas here:

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          The mayo may have been a bad example (unknown to me), but the point I was trying to make is that leaving food out for hours, as could well happen, could be an issue.

          1. re: souschef

            I'm certain, souschef, that it's been raised on these boards before, but the issue with mayonnaise was concerns about salmonella but they're rendered moot by the amount of vinegar that's contained in that emulsified sauce, which brings the pH of the whole dish to a point where it can actually remain outside the refrigerator (i.e., above 40 degrees fahrenheit) for longer than one would think.

            Additionally, even though the OP mentioned a buffet, how long would one want to leave the food out after the first line's diminished and the second "wave" of big eaters has passed by? Yes, the scientists at the local health dept. may be averse to longer times not-at-temperature but, unless you're putting out half-shell oysters, I don't think that it's going to be an issue.

            Unless they're in the desert.

            1. re: shaogo

              I have already conceded the mayo issue, so let's not get hung up on it. My concern was that unless the event is being held in a place where there is adequate refrigeration, food for 60 people is a lot of food, so stuff can be left out for a while before the party. 'Nuff said !

      2. I catered my daughter's weddiing reception and we did it very simply. We had chicken salad croissants, fresh fruit with dip, cheese and crackers, cocktail weiners in grape/bbq sauce, mints and a chocolate fountain with assorted fruit, pound cake and pretzels to dip. You could also use meatballs and make any type of croissants that you think would be appetizing to your guests. Wr had about 250 people there and it turned out beautifully and was very simple to prepare lots of the food ahead of time.
        . I wish you all the luck in the world with your wedding and reception and may God bless you in your new life.

        5 Replies
        1. re: dixiemist

          I hope you still check this site's emails....I'm catering BOTH my daughters weddings (June 15 & August 4) this Summer. Along with all the other planning - very budget minded. Did you keep any of your notes?? We're having almost the same menu, and I'd love to check my amounts, estimates with you!! We're doing Chicken salad on a bed of fresh greens, croissants, cheese trays, veggie trays & layered fresh Fruit cups - plus wedding cake (which I'm not making!). Would love to hear from you!
          Thanks, Dreama (better known as Mother-of-the-Brides)

          1. re: DreamaR50

            Hey Dreama, congratulations on both upcoming weddings! You might want to start a new thread (maybe adding a link to this one) and ask the same question. Since this thread is three years old, the PP might not be around but I think you can get a lot of good advice, if people read a new thread. Since this is older, your question could get lost.

            1. re: chowser

              ...afraid I do not know how to start a new thread!
              Just hoping this person would receive an email about her (long ago) post, and be kind enough to reply.
              Thanks for the 'heads up' if I can figure out how (without wasting too much time) I will post new,

              1. re: DreamaR50

                Try this. Click on the link. When the new page opens, look for the blue pill shaped button that says "Post." To the left, you can post Title and below it, what you want to ask.


                That was dixiemist's only post here so there's a good chance she's no longer around.

        2. A couple of years ago, we had a party for about 50 the day after our daughter's wedding. We cooked almost nothing. Mr. Costco did most of the work. But it shocked me how long it took with several people helping us just to get everything on platters and bowls, set out etc. I'd just recommend that you give some thought to the logistics of that. I think julesincoq has great recs.

          And, yes, mayo isn't the culprit. It's the potatoes themselves evidently. A lifetime of missed opporutnities due to old wives' tales. Dang.

          1. I'm of the same opinion as some of the others, here. By all means, it's a once-in-a-lifetime day; have someone who's got experience at least help out... with a few staffers, too.

            That being said, if you think that on such an emotionally-charged day you can create a dinner party for 60, I'd cook chateaubriand the day before and serve it sliced cold with a couple of lovely sauces (yes, mayonnaise-based!). Let that spectacular dish be the "centerpiece;" then surround it with lovely asparagus (cold) and perhaps an interesting pasta dish (if you insist on a hot dish).

            As a professional in the business, if I were catering it, given your description I'd include:

            lots and lots of passed canapes including smoked salmon, tuna tartare and caviar.

            Caprese salad
            Black bean salad with corn and red onions
            Tomato aspic with appropriate garnishes

            A vegetarian alternative to the beef -- perhaps just a roasted vegetable melange in a vinaigrette with a cold rice salad.

            Give the more "traditional" palates something to identify with... superb sliced ham or gourmet smoked duck or turkey beside the beef.

            Corn pudding's always a pleasant surprise unless you think that that dish, even if served at room temperature, would be too rich.

            And for the end of the fabulous, colorful, outdoor wedding reception, serve a very simple cake -- wedding cake, of course, but make sure there's plenty of whipped cream and lovely strawberries to "gild the lily."