Cooking for Parties/Wedding reception
QUESTION: I am trying to plan my daughters wedding receptions for March 2nd. I know I am running behind, lol. It is a 2:00 afternoon reception and with the help of several friends we are having these finger food:
Cheese balls w/crackers
Crab salad in fillo cups (purhased from Sams)
Chicken Salad on half mini croiisants
Spinach dip w/Hawaiin bread
Pin Wheels (purchased from Sams)
Fruit Display w/ chocolate fountain and dip
Vegetable Display w/dip
Marshmallows and Stick pretzels w/chocolate fountain also
Mini Sliders on Kings Hawaiin Rolls
Ham/Cheese/olive/1/2 cherry tomato Skewers
Cheese cakes for Groom's cake (from Sams)
Cheese cake bites (from Sams)
I am not sure of how much of each to have. Some have told me 1 & 1/2 servings of each per person but how do you figure that for some of this stuff? I appreciate any help.
ANSWER: I can't tell you how much you will need without knowing the number of guests
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QUESTION: I am so sorry. We are planning for 200 guests. Thank you
You have WAYYYYYY too many food dishes here. You need to cut your dishes in half or you are going to have tons of waste and it's going to be impossible to do this menu unless you hire professional help. For example, Crab salad costs about $15 a pound to make and for 200 people you will need about 100 pounds of it. That's $1500 JUST FOR THE CRAB SALAD--which will turn the phyllo shell to mush within about 15 minutes so this dish cannot be made in advance. You also want to have chicken salad, why? You don't need both and you're looking at another $500 for that--IF YOU MAKE IT YOURSELF. Both of these dishes combine meat and mayonnaise--a lethal combination on a summer day. How will you keep them below 40 degrees? Cheesecake and cheesecake bites? Redundant, expensive, and unnecessary. How are you planning to keep 400 sliders hot (over 140 degrees)? How are you planning to keep all of these highly perishable MAYONNAISE BASED dips below 40 degrees so that you don't give all of your guests food poisoning? There's a few more things you need to consider too.
Obviously you don't have professional credentials and equipment which means you are going to be responsible for a disaster on your daughter's wedding day. I'm not trying to be mean, but you are in WAY over your head--catering is NOT about cooking as much as it's about logistics and timing and there's no way you are going to be able to do this--even with volunteers. This is much too big of a job for an amateur and, unless you have a licensed kitchen, the venue won't let you bring in food. It is impossible for you to have a party of this size and do all the cooking yourself at your home because unless you have commercial facilities or are going to call a catering company to come and help you. You will NOT be able to get a home kitchen certified or licensed because most states won't even look at a home kitchen. Let me give you a few more things to consider because I know you haven't realized the magnitude of what you are thinking of doing and it is not possible for you to have a party of this size outside of a commercial venue--can you park 200 cars at your home? Commercial venues DO NOT ALLOW food to come in from an unlicensed kitchen and the reason for that is to prevent food poisoning. The average home refrigerator does not have enough space to store the food you will need for this party which means you are risking food poisoning. Do you think you can cook food and have it ready for all these people? You can't fit macaroni salad for 200 in a home fridge let alone all the OTHER FOOD!! You are talking about nearly 200 POUNDS of dips ALONE, THEN YOU CAN FIGURE ANOTHER 200 POUNDS OF MEAT. Where are you going to store this? A RESTAURANT would have a hard time feeding 200 people that came in all at once and you are not going to be able to do this by yourself. Don't ruin your daughter's wedding to save money (because you won't be saving any) and she will never forgive you. Even a professional caterer would need about 25 people to pull off this size party--it's why they have to charge what they do. What is going to happen when your guests sue you for giving them food poisoning--and I know of several cases where this has happened--friends WILL sue you--and you can DIE from food poisoning, did you know that? Your menu is filled with difficult to prepare and very perishable foods that have an extremely short shelf life. You have chosen many dishes that cannot be made in advance too--this means you are going to need at least 30-40 people to help you get the food out and are you going to miss your daughter's wedding because you can't leave the kitchen? Call a professional honey. You are in WAY over your head. Believe me--all day long I deal with idiots who blithely think they can do food for 200-300 people. Most of them listen to me and the ones who don't spend their wedding day saying to me "I'm SO SORRY I didn't listen to you when you told me not to do this". Seriously--don't do this. I've been a very successful professional wedding planner and caterer for 30 years and I know what I'm talking about.