Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Jan 30, 2011 05:20 PM

DIY Wedding ideas?

Hello all Chowhounders ,

For our wedding , we are renting a large wedding venue on Gabriola Island for four days in June 2012 and will be doing up our wedding dinner for apx 80 people.

I am looking for ideas for a wedding buffet that can be mostly prepared in the two days prior to the wedding. the lodge is elegant rustic. the lodge does have two ovens a dishwasher, two BBQs, a large commercial fridge, ice maker stand-up freezer and regular fridge. So the facilities are great? I have many family meners and friendas willign to help and will hire servers to scrape plates and replenish the buffet so we can a;ll relax and enjoy the dinner/WEdding night.

So far we are thinking grilled salmon, big green salad and .......

I would love to hear from any of you who have catered your own weddings or have been privy to an awesome DIY experiance,

Much appreciated
The soon to be stressed out Bride to be

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Have you given any consideration to the fact that Salmon always tastes better cold the next day?

    Could save a lot of work.

    1. While I haven't catered my own wedding, I've catered some for friends & family so I can suggest some dishes that will hold up well on a buffet. You don't mention a particular theme or cuisine that you're leaning toward or whether there is a budget for the food so not knowing if that matters to you:

      Grilled salmon can be served room temp and will be fine. I disagree with serving yesterday's grilled salmon today unless you make it rare because it will dry out if over cooked. You may want to consider poaching or smoking it. Another idea is to serve a whole roasted fish, which can be roasted & served room temp. Stuff with herbs & citrus (oranges/lemons/limes)

      Grilled lemon chicken which is glazed with a homemade tart & tangy lemon bbq sauce. You can use any part of the chicken; I suggest leg/thigh quarters because they stay moist better than breasts but it works with whole chicken, split and grilled. These can be done the day before and pop back on the grill or in an oven once they're glazed. This dish is better room temp or warm as opposed to straight out of the fridge.

      Cold oven roasted shrimp with remoulade. Ina Garten has a really good recipe, which you could find online. These are good the next day, wrapped tightly & refrigerated.

      Indonesian Noodle Salad: Assorted vegetables mixed with spaghetti or other similar noodle (don't use linguine) in a soy vinaigrette. Excellent cold & recipes online

      Shaved Artichoke, Mushroom & Fennel Salad with a roasted garlic vinaigrette & shaved parmesan. You could serve this salad in butter leaf lettuce cups for guests to pick up & eat out of hand.

      For other vegetarian dishes, I suggest portabella mushrooms stuffed with spicy bread crumb salsa and grilled corn in their husks (remove silks, spread with a flavored butter, pull up husks and grill) these should be done prior to the reception.

      If interested in any of my suggestions, I'd be happy to post recipes.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Cherylptw

        Hi Cherlptw,

        Thank you for the great suggestions! The budget is $1500 to 2000 dollars for food only.
        (Beer and wine has a seperate budget.) i would love the recipies if you could post them i would appreciate it.

        As for a theme, I guess something elegent and in line with the spring -time season. There will be a few vegetarians, so the potobello mushrooms sound great for them.

      2. I read an article in delicious magazine just yesterday, about catering your own wedding. I've no experience of the subject so have nothing to add, but here's the link so you can read for yourself:

        Hope it goes well!

        1 Reply
        1. Memories, nice. 30 years ago a small group of us did a DIY wedding for a friend. We still talk about it. Here are the things we learned.

          Somebody needs to be in charge, let's call her your friend, Jane. Jane plans what goes in the ovens when, and how the buffet is replenished by the servers. When people volunteer to cook a specialty that everyone loves, take them up on it -- if they can do ahead of time. If it has to be prepared on site, say how much you'd loooove to have that, followed by, "We only have two ovens and two BBQ's. Jane's doing a timetable of what can go in the oven when. Let me ask her if we can do it." Or if she knows Jane, tell her you sooo want that dish, but to please speak with Jane because she's handling timing and you don't want to get in trouble with "the kitchen boss". You and Jane can talk later, and decide what YOU want. And don't fib and say there's no oven time if there is. Just go back to the person and explain that you really need their help -- you don't have enough side dishes, or whatever, and ask if they can do something else.

          Put out the food in stages, rather than all at one time. Quantities available have nothing to do with how fast people devour the food. Putting out piles and piles of one item just ensures that everyone loads down their plates with that item. Put out a single layer of that item on an artfully arranged tray, and people will take two or three, and the food will last for hours.

          If the lodge says they have plenty of serving dishes, ask how many. If they don't know numbers, call them back when you know how many and what kinds you'll need. Surprise, they may say, "Oh, no, we don't have THAT many." Then you can ask people to bring a few.

          It won't be perfect, you're not a caterer. Lighten up and have fun with the food.

          6 Replies
          1. re: sancan

            Putting out the food in stages won't work for a's not a passed finger foods sort of wedding where you can put out a tray of one dish. If the OP wants to limit the food served, she should have people serving at the buffet.

            1. re: Cherylptw

              Maybe she means put out 25% (or whatever) of all the dishes you have at once instead of putting out 100%.

              Rather than putting out all of one dish and then all of another dish.

              Which kind of makes sense to me. Because if people see overloaded platters they may overindulge. I think to the extent possible, people will take into account that other people will be coming through the buffet and load their plates accordingly.

              1. re: karykat

                "Put out a single layer of that item on an artfully arranged tray, and people will take two or three, and the food will last for hours."

                Regardless of how it was meant to come out, what makes absolutely no sense is to have 80 guests and only put out enough food on a DINNER BUFFET line to serve 20, which would be 25% percent. Again, it is not a finger foods reception where the food might sit for hours or a cocktail party where people just nibble. It's meant to be a meal; a tray of each dish still won't feed 80 people what with everyone getting the same.

                Holding food back is only going to make people run to fill up their plates when more food comes out. Instead of guests enjoying themselves, the only thing they'll remember is that the hosts were too cheap to feed them and I'm sure that's the last thing the bride wants to ruin her day.

                1. re: Cherylptw

                  You're right. I got off track remembering what we did. She is planning a dinner buffet, and for a meal it will work differently. I stick with the other ideas we used. A "kitchen boss" is essential when you get a bunch of cooks in the same place. And servers/staff need a single person as their "go to." That's still important. Good catch!

                  1. re: sancan

                    Definately agree with your other suggestions; it makes things run smoothly otherwise there will be too much confusion.

                  2. re: Cherylptw

                    True i don't want people to go hungry or wonder why i only cooked enough food for half the people there.

            2. are you planning to offer more than one entree choice? i might also consider adding a chicken dish, as well as a vegetarian option... but you know your guests best :)

              it's not poultry or veggie, but vitello tonnato is great because you can serve it room temp or cold

              easy might be to roast some turkeys, or some chickens. or do a baked dish like chicken marbella.
              would you be interested in something like paella or jambalaya? roasted pork shoulder maybe done in a few crockpots (if you could borrow from others)?

              trays of grilled and/or roasted veggies are easy to prepare and always popular (whatever is in season)

              roasted red potatoes with rosemary and olive oil

              fennel and radicchio salad
              spinach, feta, sundried tomatoes, roasted red pepper, blue cheese and fig salad

              don't know if any of this works with your vision...