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Wedding Brunch for 60-- please help me!

Hi 'Hounds,

My wedding gift to my best friend is going to be a post-wedding brunch held in our back yard in urban DC. I'm thrilled to be doing it-- she and her fiance met here as neighbors-- but as the RSVPs come in, I'm getting a little nervous about pulling it off.

Luckily, my friend has stressed that she wants it to be super-casual and home-made, so we've decided on a breakfast burrito buffet.

The menu:

-Scrambled eggs
-Chorizo
-Grilled/roasted peppers and onions
-homemade salsa (2 or 3 kinds)
-black beans
-purchased flour tortillas
-maybe some spanish tortillas?
-maybe homemade veggie empanadas?
-Fruit salad
-Bagels
-coffee, juice, etc.

The wedding will be on Saturday, and I'll be gone all day for it, and spending the night in a hotel 45 minutes from where I live that night. I'm driving back the next morning and people will begin to arrive around 11. Obviously, things are going to be done mostly before.

I'm taking Friday off of work. I'm going to roast lots of veggies in the oven, make a couple of pots of slow cooker black beans, and tackle the salsas. Perhaps empanadas, which are time consuming but very easy. Perhaps a few spanish tortillas. The eggs I'll scramble in the morning-- I've seen some recipes for doing that in the oven. The coffee, bagels, and fruit salad we'll pick up that morning.

Here are my questions:

-How much food? We're estimating 60-70 people right now, over the course of 3 hours.
-Does the menu look ok?
-Any foolproof recipes to add? For salsas, especially.
-Does this plan seem doable? strategy make sense? Our other best friend, who is throwing it with me, keeps saying maybe we should just have cosi cater. He also likes his steak baked gray.....

Any advice is appreciated! I'm a decent cook, and ambitious, but this is certainly the biggest project so far! Luckily, it is going to be very casual and the food is VERY simple. But, because it is so simple, I want it taste really good. The budget is about $400 (we can go over, but I'd love not to-- weddings are REALLY expensive to take part in these days!), but I think that is doable without alcohol and with what we are serving, even in pricey DC.

thank you so much in advance! I'm looking forward to what you have to say!

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  1. Wow! Mega ambition!

    I love the idea of empanadas -- I just did them earlier this week for a party I hosted. I used the Goya pre-made pastry wraps that I bought at the local international supermarket. I did just see this recipe for pineapple empanadas on FoodTV week before last --> http://www.foodnetwork.com/videos/eas... that you might think about if you wanted a sweet empanada. Empanadas are great because you can make in in advance and freeze --- and you can get anyone to help you stuff them, as they are almost foolproof.

    I am crazy about Rick Bayless' recipes, and I think many of them will be right up your alley as to this wedding brunch: http://www.rickbayless.com/recipes/

    Good luck, and do report back. When is the event? I think I would certainly allot part of your budget to having help either clean up and/or be wait staff/server for the food.

    Also, I have never been to this website before - so I have no idea how legit it is - but here is something about cooking for a large crowd http://lotsofinfo.tripod.com/

    1 Reply
    1. re: Tehama

      I love the rick bayless idea! and those recipes look surprisingly do-able. They are on such a small scale, though, and things like fresh tomatoes add up. But bookmarked for another time! I hadn't considered a sweet empanada, but I love the idea.

      It's on September 18, and assuming we make it through, I will report back!

      Wish we could afford help, but with food, serveware, drinks, and perhaps renting some table and chairs, we'll already be cutting it tight. (crazy at that price!). Luckily, we have an army of young, strong friends willing and able to help out. That's why I want a strong plan to direct my awesome "troops"!

    2. You are a very good friend! Just commenting on the empanada idea at the moment. I use the empanada dough recipe on epicurious, prepare and bake the empanadas and freeze them. They freeze beautifully and just need heating at 350-400 to get ready for the table. They're also good at room temp, so no need to have a fresh supply of warm ones. Actually, I made beef empanadas for supper last night, and the cold leftovers are being devoured as snacks today!

      http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

      1 Reply
      1. re: janeh

        Maybe I will have an empanada stuffing party the weekend before and fill some freezers. That makes it seem a lot more reasonable. 80? 100?

        We have some vegetarians in the mix, and since the filling of empanadas isn't easily identifiable, I thought I'd keep them all veggie to avoid potential mistakes. If you have any veggie recipes I'd love to hear them. I do a black bean/plantain one I like, but I'd like one more.

      2. As a DC ex-patriate, I'd like to add my 2 cents. If there's any foodies among your group, I would definitely recommend a Peruvian chicken / "broasted" chicken since you already have a Hispanic theme. I lived in Silver Spring for 6 years and never realized a top Peruvian chicken place was around the block. I know you'd have to get it the day before (or two) and re-heat it, but it would make an impact for any non-DC foodies.

        Otherwise, your menu sounds excellent although I thought empandas were a little tough to pull off with guests- kudos to you. Other than bloody marys, full speed ahead with your menu.

        1 Reply
        1. re: atg106

          We have the City Paper "best of" peruvian chicken place right up the street! Great idea! Thanks. Bloody marys are also a good idea. Even if no one else wants a drink, I certainly will after the last guest leaves.

        2. I'd probably do one pot of black beans and one of pinto/charro beans (I'm not a black bean fan).
          Also, why bagels?
          How about a Mexican rice or potato dish?

          I just made Ninfa's Green Sauce from the homesicktexan.com blog. Very easy! I think it could be made before you leave for the wedding, unlike guac. Different. Cool and creamy. I used Mexican Crema in place of the sour cream, just because I like it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: onrushpam

            Bagels only because i know some people can't/won't bother to wrap a tortilla, and we've got an age range from 8-80, so I want something bland and easy (heck, some people still think of Tex-Mex as "ethnic"!). I agree that it's not exactly on theme.....

          2. perhaps a breakfast strata or two that you could prepare and refrigerate the day before the wedding, then bake the morning of the brunch.