Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >
Jul 8, 2011 08:38 AM

Bulk Lobster Tails (150)

I'm floating the idea of creating my own high end backyard wedding consisting of a filet and lobster tail dinner. We're probably talking about 150 people so I'm going to need at least that many fresh lobster tails. I only need the tail and not the entire body. I don't know where to begin to look for this, but I'm hoping there would be a discount at this rate.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Have you had any experience in catering? If not, please let me very kindly suggest that you NOT undertake this as your first time. :)

    27 Replies
    1. re: Bob Dobalina

      Really? I don't consider it to be too daunting of a menu. Poached lobster tail, whole grilled filet and maybe some grilled asparagus (stumped on the starch). What pitfalls should I expect to encounter. I was all gungho (*sp) for this 10 minutes ago.

      1. re: NahantNative

        My guess is that Bob's concern is not the menu design, but the cooking, plating and serving of all this food to 150 people, such that it comes out well-prepared and hot. That being said, I would probably start with James Hook. If they can't provide them, they may be able to steer you to someone who can. However, since you aren't a professional caterer, you might end up having to pay retail (same for the filets, maybe). In the end, a caterer might give you a better price for the menu you are looking for, without the hassle of "do-it-yourself" for the food. My sister did a "make your own wedding", but they limited their work to decorations, table settings and bar supplies/setup. They still used a caterer to prepare and serve the food/cleanup. This was just ~70 person affair, and I can tell you that it was still a BIG hassle on her wedding day to do everything *except* the food.

        1. re: Science Chick

          2nd what SC states. You wouldn't want the 2 main items to be overcooked and ruined, that would be an expensive mistake and you'd never forget it. If you know someone in the restaurant bus ask for help. Woodman's in Essex may be an option.

        2. re: NahantNative

          Science Chick is correct about my concerns - a wedding is kind of a big deal, and especially with 150 guests! Getting the timing down so that each piece of food is cooked properly and served promptly is daunting, even for practiced caterers. Given the high quality of food you want served, it would be a shame if it was not perfect, not to mention that your guests will be expecting high quality as well.

          I just went through planning my wedding, and even with everyone behaving well, things come up that you don't expect. Anecdotally....our caterer, Sue, of Tastings in Framingham, was awesome, bar none. An absolute charm to work with, the food outstanding, and the prices incredibly reasonable. I would really suggest you give her a call.

          Plus, can I also add that, assuming you are related to the bride or groom, you don't want to be running around like a nut throughout the entire reception - you want to be enjoying it too.

          I really appreciate your ambition, but doing 150 of anything - entree-wise - for a wedding sounds like a high-wire act to me.

          1. re: NahantNative

            I think what Bob's saying is that preparingthe wedding dinner is that it won't allow you to enjoy the wedding. It's not too daunting a menu, sounds great..but when I attend a party, I like to enjoy myself too.

            Maybe get Hook's or someone else do the lobster and if you want to cater, cook the filet.

            When I have a lot of guests over, it's well worth the $ spent to hire a caterer/bartende/someone to pass hors douvres..and clean up... to allow me to enjoy myself.

            I'm not saying YOU can't do it. Just give a lot of thought to if you want to do it....:)

            1. re: 9lives

              I am saying that AND saying that cooking just 150 steaks (to order? evenly? still hot on the plate?) requires A LOT of practice. I have enough trouble with 10 burgers at a BBQ.

              1. re: Bob Dobalina

                Alright, alright...I'll have to put some more thought into this. The thought was to keep the meal high end while still keeping it affordable.

                1. re: NahantNative

                  What is your $pp goal? Maybe we can help with other suggestions......??

                  1. re: Science Chick

                    You know we don't really have a budget set up, but every venue we've looked at was 40k+ so we did a complete 180 and tried to go humble on the event and put the rest of the money towards a house and also because it seemed a bit disgusting to spend 40k on a wedding during an economic time like this. If we could get away with an elegant backyard wedding with a tent and sit down meal for under 10-15k I think it would be a success, but if it starts to creep any higher I think we'd just have it a venue instead.

                    1. re: NahantNative

                      For a back yard wedding, you would better off with a bbq or clambake. Unfortunately it is extremely difficult to have a high end wedding on the cheap in this area.

                      Set up a budget spreadsheet ASAP as there are going to be many costs you are not considering whatever route you choose.

                      1. re: NahantNative

                        Sounds do-able.....Buy the liquor yourself and hire a caterer/bartender. A good caterer should be able to work with you to design a nice event for $50-$60pp, which would keep you in your ballpark after booze, tent rental, misc. I don't have experience with local caterers in the area, but I'm sure many hounds would have suggestions. Might want to repost asking specifically for the caterer in the post heading. Congrats on your upcoming big day and good luck! :-)

                        1. re: Science Chick

                          You might consider the Pierce House in Lincoln, MA. The venue is inexpensive - They have a favorite tent vendor who works pretty cheap, and you can usually agree to split the cost of the tent with the couple on the other weekend day. Tastings does a lot of events there - cannot recommend them enough.

                          And as Gabatta suggested, there are a number of outfits that cater the clambake, etc.

                          There are several threads here on the Board for caterers that you might peruse.

                          Pierce House
                          3 Weston Rd, Lincoln, MA 01773

                          1. re: Bob Dobalina

                            Good ideas. I emailed Tastings for a quote as well as a few other caterers that I know of. I'm really not on board with a clambake as my feeling is that you always want to take a shower or hose yourself off after a clambake; not dance and party. I guess we'll have to price out a few caterers and tent rental companies and see where we stand.

                            1. re: Bob Dobalina

                              My wife and I were married at Bittersweet Farm in Westport.. don't think it can seat 150, and they only do day weddings, but a nice venue.

                              The problem with red meat and filet is cooking to order - you could perhaps cook it ahead of time and serve it cold, but they what if someone wants it well done? And lobster - maybe you could buy the meat pre-picked and just serve lobster rolls, but that's a lot of assembly. Watch an episode of Top Chef where they serve 100 people - there's a lot of work there, and that volume of food overwhelms standard pots/pans, cleaning resources, and most household cooking elements...

                              But as other posters said, high end food means high end work. If you want to have an inexpensive wedding, just be honest with your guests and have an inexpensive wedding. The big costs drivers are # of PPL X (quality of food + quantity of alcohol). Do ice cream sundaes instead of an expensive butter cream frosted cake. Don't serve hard alcohol. Make your own centerpieces. Get a few cases of glassware from Ikea. Use plastic utensils.

                              As a caterer, hmm.. maybe Whole Foods does something like that... they do have high volume kitchens back there..

                              If you want to do it yourself, pick something that you can most pre-work ahead of time, or something cooked in bulk and served in a basic setting, like a Low Country Boil or Bean Hole Beans (if you want to dig a big stone-lined pit in the backyard).. but a Low Country Boil - picnic tables, newspaper, and the dish just poured out for everyone to eat. You'd probably need 3-4 high output propane burners and some big lobster pots to do it well..

                              1. re: grant.cook

                                I'm not sure if I'm over ambitious, but I dont exactly find a poached lobster tail and grilling whole beef tenderloin all that difficult. Asparagus can be grilled off ahead of time and kept warm on the side of the grill. I sort of take these post as inspiration to do this myself. It's not that I want to have an inexpensive wedding, its that I want to have a sensible wedding during a time where the economy is terrible. We've been given the opportunity of having the 40k wedding noted above, but I'm genuinely embarressed to spend 40k of my futures fathers money on a one night. I don't consider myself the next Iron Chef, but I also don't fear cooking whole beef tenderloin to a medium rare anlong withlobster tail.

                                Iron Chef
                                435 Newbury St Ste 107, Danvers, MA 01923

                                1. re: NahantNative

                                  Well, realize you won't be cooking 1 whole beef tenderloin.. you'll be cooking 6 of them, at least. Poaching 150 lobster tails, what cooking vessel do you own that will hold that? What serving dishes will you use? And are you responsible for any other portion of this wedding, because you'll be mostly doing nothing but cooking and cleaning up for 4 hours here..

                                  1. re: NahantNative

                                    The thing about a wedding is that your guests came to see you get married, and they want to see YOU. And talk to YOU (and your bride/groom). All 150 of them. They don't want to look at the back of your head while you cook their tenderloin; they want to hug you and wish you well and buy you a drink. At my wedding, which was more in the 115-125 range, our plans for the night were to a) eat the food we were served by catering staff and b) visit each table to say hi to guests, many of whom we hadn't seen in years and who had traveled from far away to see us. In the end, despite our best efforts, we didn't make it through all the tables because there wasn't time. We didn't dance, we didn't do a lot of lingering at any table, we didn't do any stupid garter or cake-feeding stuff, we just ate and visited most but not all of our tables, and there wasn't enough time to do that. This despite the fact that our wedding was at a professional venue where there was a staff member to take care of virtually everything. I can't imagine being responsible for cooking ANYthing that night and still managing to get any quality time with anyone.

                                    I do have friends who threw their own backyard wedding for probably the same number of guests. Despite serving hamburgers and hot dogs and enlisting family friends to cook the food, they were still massively overwhelmed.

                                    1. re: NahantNative

                                      Your motives are laudable: nobody needs to spend $40,000 to feed their friends and celebrate their joy. But you do need to be present to welcome and enjoy your guests because you are why they are there: not the food or the booze. If you want to do a "home wedding" for 150, consider an afternoon wedding and go for a kind of high tea. Have at least two friends or hire two assistants whose job will be to help create and monitor the list: paper products, food, refilling, booze, where stuff is going to be refrigerated. Hire someone or a company to come in and clean up after. Then plan your menu for a cold collation. Use Arax , Sevan and Esperia for fabulous mezzes of all kinds. Use Bazaar for excellent cold cuts and pickles. Get your bread, cheese and fruit plates from Russos. Make sure you have cold storage for everything. Stock up on good inexpensive wine: Prosecco is festive, Entre deux Mers is a fine summer white, a good rioja riserva for the red. Many places for decent wedding cakes and small sweets: I'd suggest you consider a cream cake from Royal or Antoines plus trays of mini-pastry. A couple of giant coffee pots. I've done this for 75 (not a 150) and its been festive and memorable. But if you are going to cook while your guests are there, you simply won't be available to be the host of your party and the companion of your future spouse.

                                      1. re: NahantNative

                                        I agree that it could all be cooked ahead, and served cold. In fact, you could just get market basket to cook the lobsters and rip the tails off, broil 8-10 filets... super reasonable.

                                        You could hire a bar tender, and two waiters to do the schlepping.

                                        But just the running around, to coordinate in the days leading up to your wedding lobsters from here, steaks from there, cook the filets, whew.

                                        A reasonable caterer can do the whole thing in your yard and stick to your price tag of <$15K.

                                        Do the booze and hire a bartender yourself. I know a good one if you need...

                                        Enjoy your wedding and your guests. Even without autocatering you won't have a free second and will have plenty to think about. If you really are the point person for food you will be the caterer at your wedding, not the bride.

                                        1. re: NahantNative

                                          I don't find a poached lobster tail and grilling whole beef tenderloin (even for 150 people) all that difficult either. However I barely had enough time to eat my own steak at my own wedding, let alone cooking for everyone else. You really won't imagine how busy you will be in the days leading up to the wedding and on the big day with out this burden on you. It is definitely over ambitious for your own wedding.

                                          Gordon's is great for the alcohol. Complete selection, decent prices, willing to special order specific wines. They do lots of these types of events, so it will go smoothly and they take back any unopened bottles. They helped us with guidelines of how much to get, but we upped it considerably based on the group we had and didn't end up returning much. You are going to need 2 bartenders for this size group. Buying all the booze is fun.

                                          1. re: Gabatta

                                            I didn't get to eat a morsel at my wedding I was so busy just catching up with people.

                                        2. re: grant.cook

                                          Re: cake - friends of mine just had an absolutely gorgeous and delicious wedding cake from Icing on the Cake for about $300 (to feed 120). Seemed like a bargain to us...

                                    2. re: NahantNative

                                      I think you're on the right track, I wouldn't pay 40K either. I suggest you hire a bartender to handle all the liquor related things, purchasing, renting glasses and serving. Prep a list for that item. Next call a caterer for the meat and sides portion of the dinner, they also may have vendors to give a good deal on a tent rental, chairs and place settings. Lastly, call a lobster wholesaler to see if they'll handle that. Keep yourself free for your wedding day, you'll need every minute. Remember your decisions going forward are a 50-50 road.

                                      1. re: treb

                                        Ok now we're more on track. I think I need to find a happy medium for this event, probably get a caterer and do all the booze ourself and hire a bartender(striperguy that suggestion would be appreciated).

                                        1. re: NahantNative

                                          A bartender is a good idea from a liability perspective alone - they can keep an eye on consumption and age. God forbid someone comes to the wedding, gets sauced, and wraps their car around a telephone pole on the way home. You are never totally protected, but it shows good intent to have someone tasked with that alone..

                                          1. re: NahantNative

                                            I appreciate what you're trying to do because I got married about 6 months ago and we did our best to keep the costs reasonable while having a really nice wedding with good food and drinks. Let me tell you, it ain't easy.

                                            We were thinking about getting an inexpensive venue (Andover Town Hall) where they let you bring in your own caterers and booze. The problem is, if you want one of the fancier caterers and a multi-course sit down meal, you are looking at per plate prices quickly approaching $100, especially for something like filet.

                                            If you want the total price tag under 15k with that many people and surf and turf, you are probably still going to have to get someone who is not your typical caterer to cook the meat. We only had 65 guests and found it basically undoable to keep the total cost for the whole wedding under $10k while still getting everything we wanted.

                              2. re: NahantNative

                                That is a lot to take on for such an important day. Just the logistics of cooking space, vessels require a lot. For example, asparagus alone, assuming 4 spears/person means prepping and grilling 600 spears. Trying to store all this food and keep it at proper temps would be a challenge. We just did a 4th of July BBQ for about that # of people, and even having a friend/caterer do the meats, it was tons of work for me. I imagne you could hire a caterer and get a nice menu for under $15k. Providing your own booze and hiring a couple bartenders could save a lot since often, the alcohol costs at a venue can outweigh the food costs depending on the crowd.

                            2. When you think of your dream wedding, does it include backed up plumbing and port-o-potties? 150 people and a residential home could be problematic.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Bellachefa

                                I know you seem to want "elegant" and that's a nice plan, but did you ever think of some type of a clambake. I know they do them with lobsters and probably not filet, but steak of some sort. Alot of them handle other details, such as the tent, dishes, glassware, etc. and then you could find a bartender.

                                I would think a wedding reception like that would fit your budget. I know they have pit style and pot style although I really don't know the difference. I also believe it would be a whole lobster, but maybe they would be willing to crack them and just serve the tails. I suppose all you can do is ask. Have them save the claws for some nice lobster salad the next day.

                                Just another thought. Hope your day works out perfectly for you.

                              2. The original comment has been removed
                                1. The original comment has been removed
                                  1. Please keep your replies to recommending purveyors, local caterers, etc. Opinions and advice regarding catering one's own wedding are off topic for this regional board. If you'd like advice on logistics and menu suggestions for doing so, the Home Cooking board is the appropriate place for that post.