Today seemed like a great time to continue the ongoing Team Practical discussion of self-catered weddings. For those of you new to the discussion, a review. First, food safety. I’m absolutely sure that you can serve food to all your wedding guests without causing a, um, barf-fest, but I’m telling you now – it’s your job to concentrate on it. Capish? Second, choose your battles. I was not a DIY food kind of girl, no way. But I was a DIY flower kind of girl, and I made that a PRO-JECT. So, you might want to stay away from overloading yourself with too many last-few-days projects, unless you are stronger than I. Third, GET HELP. Family, family, family, and friends. You can not do your wedding food alone. I know it sounds good in the inside of your wedding blurred mind maybe, but trust me, BAD IDEA. And finally, please ignore all of the things the wedding industry has to say on the subject. Is your family the cooking kind? Can you throw a big dinner party? Yeah, then I’m pretty sure you’ll survive, enjoy your wedding, and not kill your guests.
So. With that pre-amble, I bring you the amazing Cara, and her kebab and cupcake fest wedding.
Andy and I were married on August 22, 2009. Here’s a quick account of our DIY/DITogether wedding food preparations. After mulling over different catering options and hitting more than one roadblock (money, availability, & quality), and taking heed to the many offers for assistance in preparation, we decided to DIY everything food-wise. We knew this would be a huge endeavor, but knew we would have the support and control over we needed and wanted. About two months before the wedding, we gathered for a meal with our parents and a few wedding party attendants to discuss meal planning and delegating jobs. Our overall theme was summer foods (kebabs, salads, cupcakes, kids food, and local beer), and we were able to decide on a wide range of options for all.
We had a team of 12 people preparing food, which included skewering kebabs, preparing cold salads, baking cupcakes, fetching kegs of beer, and assembling food for the kids table. The cupcakes were made a few weeks in advance, frozen, and then thawed and decorated the day before. Andy and I even got our hands into the mix, working on a few salads and kebabs in the days prior. I was told more than once that I shouldn’t be cooking, working, or lifting a finger the week of the wedding. To me, food and service go hand in hand and have been big components of my life, so making food for our guests seemed like a great gift in return. Plus, it was fun trying out new recipes which provided for a little stress relief.
Chaffing dishes were rented from a local party supply company to keep the hot foods hot, and we used family dishware for salads and kids food. The cupcakes were placed on vintage china plates borrowed from Andy’s grandma. Drinks were stored in kegs, coolers, and bottles. The napkins, plates, cups and silverware came from Ikea and Party City. Set up took place by the wedding party and friends of the family prior to the reception, while we were off having photos taken. Tear down took place after the band quit playing by family, friends, and the wedding party.
- Widmer Beer – $210 for three pony kegs + $18 tap rental + $140 refundable tap deposit + $300 refundable keg deposit = $228 (after refunds)
- Cupcakes – $21 cupcake pan from Michael’s (purchased with a coupon) + $12 cupcake papers + $50 baking supplies = $83 (display plates were borrowed and decorative stamps were from my childhood collection)
- Kebabs – A lot of the ingredients were purchased in bulk, which helped to cut down the cost. Andy and I spent about $100 when we purchased supplies for the food we prepared (two sets of the kebabs). I’m giving this a rough estimate of an additional $200 for the remaining kebabs, as the rest of the food was prepared by family who contributed out of their own pockets = $300ish
- Pita Bread & homemade yogurt dip = $15
- Salads – $40 farmer’s market fruits + $20 green & tropical salads + $10 for orzo = $70
- Supplies – $10 Napkins + $7 beer cups + $10 beverage cups + $10 plates + $15 silverware + FREE butcher paper to cover the tables = $52
- Kids’ food – $5 peanut butter sandwiches + $7 cream cheese & corn dog kebabs + (price included above) fruit kebabs = $12
- Beverages – $20 bottled water + $7 lemonade + $20 soda + donated wine from family = $47
- We also had use of the full kitchen space for food storage and preparation, which included free garbage/recycling disposal, garbage liners, brooms, mops, tables, and chairs.
The one downside: I think a few people who were late to the reception didn’t get to select from as many food options as those who came before, but what can you do? As Andy’s Grandpa once said, “There’s the quick and there’s the hungry!” Which one will you be?
Pictures by Sarah & Rob Costa Photography of Vancouver, Washington