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Question
Wedding reception for 275 guests.  We are preparing the food.  Before the bridal party arrives guests are able to snack on assorted dips and crackers/pretzels.  We have two different dips in mind.  Main menu, chicken fingers, ham biscuits, turkey biscuits, vegetable trays, fruit trays, macaroni and cheese and potato salad.

Any rule of thumb for how much to prepare or purchase!?

Answer
First, that is WAY WAY WAY too much food to serve before dinner, no one will eat dinner because they will have filled up on the appetizers.  Do yourselves an enormous favor and cut WAY back on appetizers.  The very best spice for a wedding dinner is hunger--and believe me you DO want your guests HUNGRY because wedding food is usually cold and only just OK most of the time unless you are really paying BIG BUCKS for the caterer.  What you want for appetizers are something light and not a lot--they are technically supposed to STIMULATE the appetite--not serve as a meal before the meal.  Restaurants have gotten so out of control with enormous portions and huge appetizers that the purpose of appetizers has been forgotten which is especially true now that appetizers are now entree-sized.
Cocktails and nibbles are all you want to serve pre-dinner and SMALL nibbles in a limited amount.  Everyone knows there is a big dinner coming and they just need a few bites to pique their interests, I've done weddings where instead of dinner, it was a big cocktail party and dance with heavy, meaty appetizer that everyone filled up on and were out for the entire evening which were a big hit, but if you're going to have a sit down dinner later, don't do this.
People serve way too much food because they want to appear generous and effusive on their wedding events, but they almost always go too far which is just WASTED and it costs a great deal of money to boot.
If I were doing this, I'd suggest drinks and 3 kinds of nibbles--none very heavy.  I would consider something like pretzels with a beer-cheese or sweet-spicy mustard dip, maybe a fruit platter of nice seasonal fruit and a tray of assorted cheese cubes on toothpicks--and use several different cheeses.  Pepper jack, a good Swiss, a nice Colby or Cheddar, Muenster, smoked Gouda and a nice Havarti.  
I'm happy to continue to advise and help and if you still want to do your original plan, cool. I'll be happy to help you figure the right amounts to buy and there are rules to know how to do it.  Think about what I wrote and get back with me and we'll get it done.
All the best!

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Teri Davis Newman

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I am a wedding and party planner in St. Louis, Missouri and I do weddings and parties all over the country! My brides are my number one priority as I understand how important their wedding day is to them! Any questions about catering and cooking for large groups. This would include recipes, cooking techniques, what to serve, how to prevent food poisoning, food storage and food integrity. I have thousands of recipes that are scaled for large groups and gatherings and will be happy to share them! If you are in need of professional assistance for helping you to plan your wedding, party or corporate event, please feel free to contact me! I do a limited amount of weddings and parties every year in order to make sure that I have the best service for my clientele. Feel free to visit my business website at this address: WWW.EXQUISITEEVENTSUSA.COM for detailed information on what services I offer. I have price point weddings for every budget--no matter what size and I am very specific about what you get for your hard-earned money.

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Catering and parties are a large part of the restaurant business. I do a lot of catering for local parties and weddings.
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Graduate, Le Cordon Bleu, Tokyo, Japan

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Graduate, Le Cordon Bleu, Tokyo, Japan

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Allexpert.com expert for 9 years, owner www.yahoogroups.com/reciperequest with 30 thousand original recipes on site.

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