Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Wedding Food: What and How Much (learn from my mistakes!)

We decided to do all the food ourselves for Kari's wedding reception, which saved us a good deal of money and also allowed us to serve more than just dessert. Kari and Kevin really wanted to serve 'food' and I kind of planned on this being dinner for our large extended family.

This is what we served:
Sliced baguettes with spreads (Spinach, Pimento Parmesan, & Chicken Salad)
Vegetables and Dill Veggie Dip
Cheesecake and then wedding cake
Yellow and white candy to eat now or bag up and take home
Sparkling lemonade

Spinach Dip to die for!  We have it for every holiday.
The recipe is on the back of Knor Vegetable and Soup Mix

Pimento Parmesan spread from my friend Kim Schofield:
2 T pimentoes, 1 T onion, 3 T mayo, 1 t cider vinegar, 1/4 t pepper,
1 c finely grated sharp cheddar, 1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese

I wanted to keep things easy for the kitchen helpers, and Kari didn't
 want anything with pineapple juice in it, so we purchased
sparkling lemonade and poured it into pretty drink dispensers from Costco.
  P.S.  Kari also didn't want chicken salad (she doesn't love it).  But she now realizes that she didn't really eat the food anyway. She was otherwise occupied that night. So our chicken salad spread was fine.
Candy Bar: We put cellophane bags and twisy ties next to a
'thanks for coming' sign on the candy table.  The candy was a hit!

Pina colada candy sticks, pearl white gumballs, and banana
cream pie jelly beans from Candy.com (candy in every color),
Hershey's kisses from Walmart, lemon drops from Candy Banditt online,
strawberry cream (white) and pink lemonade (yellow) taffy from the taffy store
in the Layton Hills Mall, and chocolate covered pretzels from Mrs. Cavanaugh's.

Kari likes cheesecake, and Kevin likes chocolate cake, so we served
 cheesecake from Costco until the cake was cut, and then we served cake.
We topped some of the cheesecake with cherry pie filling, and some
with chocolate shavings to make it  pretty.
 Okay, let me start by saying that the food was not a huge expense.  Maybe $300 for the food, $200 for the candy.  A great deal compared to having it catered. And we chose food that required little or no preparation, and that people could serve themselves.

I was so worried about not having enough food, so I was surprised by how much extra we had!  But I would rather have too much than too little. Here is a breakdown on numbers.

Magic formula: plan on 1/3 to 1/2 of the number of invitations you send. This is what 'they' say. We sent 435 invitations, but 140 of those were from the Renfro side, and they had an open house planned for Pleasant Grove the following week.  That left 295 for our side (as I stated in a previous blog, I invited everyone from our ward).  I knew that 60 family members, from both sides, were coming. I also knew that we had planned our wedding during the summer, and it was the last weekend before school was supposed to start, so numbers would be down. I decided to plan for 200 guests, just to be safe. We think about 150 guests came, so planning for 200 was about right.

HOWEVER, the amount of food I planned for 200 was too much. 
  • I figured 5-6 baguette slices per person.  But the plates were only big enough for 2 or 3. 
  • Figuring a tablespoon of spread for each slice would have been 75 cups of spread, 75 CUPS, whoa.  I made 40 cups.  We used about 15 cups.
  • I bought nine cheesecakes (144 slices).  Had four extra.
  • Bought 48 2 liter bottles of lemonade, had about twelve extra. 
  • Bought 2 giant bags of ice from Costco, barely used 1.
  • Bought 25 lbs. of assorted candies.  This filled up the jars nicely, but we had probably 10 lbs. left! Yipee!
  • Bought 4 bags of baby carrots, 2 bags of broccoli florets, 4 containers of cherry tomatoes, 1 bag green beans, 1 bag snap peas, and 3 English cucumbers, all from Costco. I needed a lot to fill up those big vases.  But remember, the plates were only big enough for 2 baguettes slices and a few veggies.  Had oodles left.  
The extra food served as great thank you gifts! I took little bags of candy to anyone who helped us or loaned us anything. I sent baguettes and spreads to my neighbors, too. The kitchen helpers even went home with whole cheesecakes!

All-in-all, this was a grand and fun event, and the food was delicious, but next time I do a wedding (if we do it ourselves) I'm either getting bigger plates or less food!

Next post: How we saved money, and how we could have done it for less.


  1. Per my calculations... some stuff you didn't list the price so I guesstimated.

  2. LOL, wow, you are keeping track! It was more.

  3. I was telling Nate about your candy cost and he asked how much it was total. That is why I started adding stuff up. :) I am enjoying this blog series.

  4. Hehe. If you ask me privately, I will tell you. It's good to know for future reference, yes?

  5. How nice of you to share every bit about the recipes and the stores where you’ve shopped. :D This will be very helpful. We know couples nowadays opt to be practical in their decisions, and I think making your own wedding banquet is an easy way to practice that. Plus, Kari’s wedding is proof that homemade wedding food can be served and presented like a pro. :D

  6. Israel, thank you for the huge compliment. Even more so that you are from a catering business in Pennsylvania (as I discovered when I clicked on your name!)

  7. Thank you for all of this detailed info. I am planning my daughter's reception right now and this was very helpful.

  8. Can you tell me where you got the large containers for the veggies? Glass or plastic?