Monday, November 12, 2007

Cater Your Own Wedding

A wedding is a wonderful thing but when it crushes families financially it is not such a good thing after all and many wonder if it was worth it.
Doing the catering yourself with the help of friends and family can cut the cost of a wedding down considerably! A tent set up in the backyard under the stars or, in a park where permission is granted, can save you a ton of money. The more you can do yourself, the better the money situation will look.
Many towns have lovely gazebos which they will allow you to use for your wedding. This leaves you with chair rental which , in the scheme of things is not that terribly expensive. You can decorate the gazebo with flowers, a chupah, curtains on the side for wind protection,etc and the result is beautiful!
Renting a hall for the evening does not mean it must be top of the money chain either. Bringing in your own food, already prepared will save you a lot.
If you opt for a large tent in someones nice backyard or even on public property (you must get township permission for this) you can host the reception inside the tent and a buffet is the best way to go. Tents come in all sizes and with dance floors and set up for electricity too. The are quite elegant really.

When the cake is the centerpiece of the buffet, when stars and fairy lights are your illumination, food seems to take on a different quality altogether and what might seem common place becomes a gourmet feast.
Tiny sandwiches, dips, fresh fruits, ices, punch, appetizers of all kinds and sizes take the place of a sit down meal that can cost thousands. Large trays of hot baked ziti are easy and fast to make in large quantity. They taste wonderful and are filling and loved by most. In a lovely atmosphere disposable plates and utensils are not a problem for most people who prefer to mingle anyway.
A wedding I attended was just such a one. A large white tent housed about 200 people easily on a grassy lawn in a public park under the stars at night.
Lined with fairy lights it took on an otherworldly quality. Food made by friends and family was placed on buffet tables that groaned with the bounty. Pleasing arrangements and lovely serving pieces made it look great.
There was Baked Ziti, and other pasta dishes,Spanikopita, Baked Eggplant Casserole,Potato salads, Pasta salads, Candied Yams, Bowls of hot Vegetables of every description, Platters of cheeses and crackers and dips of all sorts. There were salads of every description and warm rolls and melting butter. There were myriad appetizers that had mouths watering.
Lovely puddings in huge deep bowls! Ice creams and toppings, and punches galore that were so pretty it was almost a shame to dip into them! Frosted brownies and cookies and cakes and Death by Chocolate! Fruits frosted with sugar twinkled under the lights and I dare say at evening's end there was not a totally stuffed person in the place.
It was the nicest wedding I have ever attended and it was done on what by some standards might be a shoestring. I will never forget that wedding because it was so lovely.

One of the punches served was especially refreshing and I would like to give you the recipe here. It is a punch you will not fail to serve once you taste it!

Ice Cream Champagne Punch ( make with or without Champagne)

2 quart bottles of iced cold ginger ale
2 quart bottles of iced cold Raspberry Soda
1/2 gallon of raspberry ice cream.
1 bottle of champagne or sparkling white wine, be sure it is also cold.
Mix the liquids together in a large punch bowl.
Unpack the ice cream and float the whole half gallon of it in one piece in the punch.
It acts as a giant ice cube to keep the punch cold, but as it melts it adds taste and sparkle to the punch as well. It froths up a bit as it melts down into the punch making it a pretty concoction.
Delicious! Leave out the alcohol to serve for children or those who do not wish alcohol.

If you hire someone for the night to serve, have them dish it up in clear glasses to your guests.


  1. When I nearly got married, and glad I didn't (lol), I wanted to have a "potluck" meal. Everyone bring a dish! (yes, I'm a cheap Jew. Why pay a fortune when you can take shortcuts. LOL)

    There were a lot of people who thought it was a great idea and that it'd be nice to have simple homecooked food, plus it gave everyone the opportunity to participate!

    PS: Thanks once more for making me hungry. :]

  2. It is the Scots who are frugal.
    It makes a lot of sense to have pot luck meals for occassions. There are a lot of wonderful cooks out there who adore helping out.
    Most ladies are very competent with making things lovely and I think having friends help to plan a wedding, making them all part of it, is a super idea.

  3. wow that sounds really delicious and insures a cheerful party too, lol

  4. Can I tell you again how much I love this blog?

  5. Doc, you can tell me til the cows come home!! ;)And, whats more, I won't get tired of hearing it either.

  6. agrees with Doc, i tried some recipes here too

  7. I wanted to thank you for helping us have the nicest wedding we could imagine. I used most of your ideas to cater and do the wedding with help from my Mom and my aunt and it was beautiful.
    Everyone remarked how wonderful and refreshing the wedding was and we didnt sacrifice any of the glamour or the holiness of the day at all.
    We rented the tent, got a floor and chairs and even 2 waiters and a bar tender and the cost was unbelievably low compared to having it done professionally.
    We splurged on cake and champagne and music and it was a dreamy wedding.
    Thank you so much for the inspiration.
    Love, Olivia (married Dec 30)

  8. I recently visited this great restaurant where our lovely waitress in only her second shift ever had to tell me about all these new dishes, I’ll always remember that taste.