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For those of you had cooked your own food...


Feb 27, 2013
How did you accomplish it? Who cooked, when did they cook in proximity to reception time and how did you keep everything hot and ready to eat? Was it worth the money saved?

To make it interesting, what was on your self cooked menu?


Oct 2, 2008
Hi glitz! We're eloping so we don't have food for guests to deal with, but my sister got married last month and they did DIY food. They had LOTS of help and I think it was the key to their success in the matter.They also kept things more homey/simple which is always good and not complicated to prepare. Nobody had to prepare everything. One person did meat, one did salad, one bread, one side, one veggie. Nobody had to worry about a lot. And the day of (it was a backyard wedding at a friend's house), relatives of the friend's home pitched in as "staff" to rotate out food for fresh pans and heated and got everything set up so family/guests could relax.

They had:
Smoked pork butts with multiple bbq sauce options.
Salad (ranch and italian dressing options, salad was bagged and purchased already made and they added cucumbers and cherry tomatoes in bowls that people could add if they wished).
Rolls (ordered from a local grocery store bakery, made fresh and picked up that morning by a delegate).
Macaroni and cheese that was prepared the day before and baked day of.
Green beans.

For drinks, there were bins of canned soda and bottled water chilled on ice all over everywhere and beer/wine bar that was staffed.

Overall, it went very well. They used catering style trays that they bought at a bulk store with the Bunsen burner/candles to keep things warm. Everything tasted good. Good luck! I know it's a lot of work but can definitely be a money saver.

The PSer I recall having done this in a backyard wedding is FancyPantsSparkles...she does lurk over here, so hopefully she'll chime in with her own first hand experience!


Sep 1, 2009
My mother did food for her wedding. It wasn't a full meal -- more of cheese/cracker trays, sliced meat trays, and maybe a salad mix.
This worked fine for her because everything was cold and could be prepared the day before. She works in food service so was able to borrow the industrial meat/cheese slicer and had a couple of co-workers (also food prep/service people) help arrange the trays. She also had access to a walk-in refrigerator to keep stuff cold.

I had originally thought of doing our own food to save money. We love to cook and have high expectations of food. I am SOOOOooo glad we didn't!
We skipped a lot of the traditional wedding stuff (no bridal party, no pre-wedding parties, no professional hair or makeup, almost no flowers) and worked with a venue that did pretty much everything else for us (set up & clean up of everything, gift baskets for guests, flowers etc). I loved having a bit of time to relax and enjoy! Even with skipping a bunch of stuff and having the winery do a lot of the rest, there was still lots to do and I can't imagine trying to add more in! (of course DH dealing with health issues and hauling him to drs all over town and an MRI the day before the wedding probably added enough!)

I guess if you plan carefully it could work and save you lots of money. You would really want to have people able to help. If you don't want to ask friends or family, you could look into hiring servers for the meal.

From big meals & gatherings I've hosted:

Make sure it is stuff that can be warmed up easily (like servers just shove in oven) or served cold.
Do a test run of the same size pan you'll use -- know exactly how long to heat it for (covered or uncovered?) and verify you can fit enough in your oven that the first pan isn't cold before you're ready to go.
Go to a restaurant supply store to buy disposable pans and catering supplies (including how to keep food hot & cold for serving).
Have a back up plan if your oven or refrigerator dies! (picture me crouched over a mini-gas-bbq making pita when my oven died the night before dinner for 40 :lol: )

Don't rush!
Verify every pan of food is fully cooked, correctly cooled (btw -- lots of big pans of hot food in a standard refrigerator will NOT cool in time to be safe), and heated thoroughly. The one pan you don't check will be the one that didn't get rotated and is under-cooked.


Dec 8, 2011
WE DID!! And let me tell you, the week before the wedding was CRAZY!! My MIL did some of the dishes and then my Aunt, Mom and I did the rest. I would absolutely tell you to get more help than that, but we did end up having about 220 people at our wedding, so food prep and the amount of food was just insane.

Made by Mom, my Aunt and I:

cheeses and cracker platters
veggies and dip (cucumbers, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, carrots, etc)
lasagna (this was our vegetarian option and it was fabulous!)
chopped salad (romaine, peppers, dried cranberries, pine nuts, cucumbers, tomatoes and feta with a great greek dressing)
sliced carrots in a butter sauce
roast beef
macaroni salad (this was a controversial thing because my MIL told me she had never been to a wedding with many cold sides...that is because they cost extra, lady lol..but I wanted it and damn it, I got it..and made it myself :lickout: )

We also made about 1,000 cookies for take-aways..this was actually a fun and VERY long process, but they were a hit and my mom really wanted us to do this. I feel like we actually had more food that I'm forgetting..seriously, we had a TON! Also, we did a fruit tray (well. about 8- fruit trays it seemed like lol) and dip. Pineapples, strawberries, grapes, kiwi, etc.

MIL made:

horseradish potatoes
chicken in a mushroom and wine sauce
green beans almondine

We started making food on Tuesday evening before the wedding. My Mom and Aunt started the roasts and cooked them about halfway through to make sure most of the work was done and so the meat wouldn't get dried out. Wednesday was cookie day. Thursday was lasagna, macaroni salad and chopped salad day (we separated the ingredients for the salad and just prepped everything, but didn't actually put everything together until Saturday morning). Friday I spent the day doing girlie stuff and my Aunt and Mom did more prep work on things. One thing I regret is that we didn't have more people helping. My Mom and I didn't get to spend enough time together the day before and even the day of the wedding because we were both just so busy with stuff and there were not enough hands on deck. I am so glad to have done the food ourselves because everything was super tasty, but I would say you need way more people helping lol Also, feeding 220 people for the amount of money we spent was something we would never have been able to do if we didn't do it ourselves.

What kind of food would you be having?


Dec 8, 2011
Oh and we had a lot more refrigerator space than most because we used Mom's fridge, her church fridge and my Aunt's fridge. We literally spent 3 (me) and 4 (them) days working 10 hours prepping everything..just be prepared for a ton of work. But again, the more hands, the less time and work you actually have to put it.
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