Do You Have Any Advice for Catering My Own Wedding?

Good Questions

Q: I am getting married next year, most likely in either March or April. We are thinking we'll have a wedding party of about 100 to 120 people. I have always dreamed of catering my own wedding. I love to cook and it's something people know about me so it's important to me to give it a good college try before potentially hiring a caterer.

My question is this: Has anyone in The Kitchn community undertaken such a feat at that time of year? I think it would be much easier in the summer because we could do an outdoor/grilling party but the summer won't work for us. I need ideas for indoor food. Any suggestions, advice, or support you all have to offer would be appreciated.

Sent by LeannEditor: Leann, first of all, congratulations! We applaud your desire to cater your own wedding and to share yourself in that way to your guests. It is definitely possible to cater your own wedding, and there are more and more resources for this online.

My own personal opinion, however, from extensive experience in catering and weddings, is that a guest list of that size is very difficult to cater on your own without a lot of help. So I think this depends on what your idea of catering is. If you want to be actually cooking and serving on your wedding day, then this is a crowd size that probably won't let you do anything else that day. You may want to reconsider that, as it will be hard to focus on the guests themselves and on getting married if you have that much cooking and serving to do. But, on the other hand, if you just want to be involved with the food and help cook it ahead of time, then if you get a lot of help on the day of, you may be able to pull it off.

This also depends on what sort of meal you want to serve. If it's just finger food and hors d'ouevres, then sure, you could whip up a lot of appetizers and meats and cheeses ahead of time and hire a couple waiters to serve these. But if you want a full hot meal, again, the logistical issues on the day of will necessitate a lot of help.

Personally, I also wanted to cater my wedding. I am so glad now that I did not. We had a wonderful caterer and I designed the menu and they even used some of my own recipes. But I didn't have to worry about a thing on the day of the wedding. I did, however, make my own cakes and ice cream too. My aunts and grandmother brought homemade cookies. So there was a lot of personal, homemade food.

So those are my own personal opinions. I in no way would want to talk you out of something you want to do for your own wedding, especially if you have a lot of help standing by! But don't underestimate the sheer labor and coordination involved in feeding that many people, on one of the most memorable days of your life.

One writer for our site, Jill, did cater her own wedding with her own two hands! Here's a look back at how she did this. It was a lovely meal!

Living the DIY Wedding: The Food
Living the DIY Wedding: The Cake

Here are the posts I did about my own catered wedding with homemade cake and desserts:

Home Cooking: The Homemade Wedding Cake
DIY Wedding Inspiration: How To Make Your Own Wedding Cake (Without Losing Your Mind)
Home Cooking: The Home Cooked Wedding
Home Cooking: The Family Dessert Buffet
DIY Wedding Cake and Ice Cream: The Recipes

Readers, what advice, recipe recommendations, and other suggestions do you have for Leann?

Related: Catering Your Own Wedding: A Step-by-Step Guide

(Image: Bom Yi Kim)

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