I'm Catering a Big Wedding This Spring. What Should I Make?

Homemade Weddings

With spring comes wedding season, and I just made plans with a friend to cater her wedding later this spring. I've done similar things before (like the sit-down dinner for my brother's wedding a year ago), but this time will be a little different: we're just serving hors d'oeuvres and small sweet bites after a late evening wedding. The crowd will be fairly large: about 250 people.

So this is the moment when I turn to all of you and ask: what should I make?

My two best friends from childhood, Ann and Sarah, both come from large families (as do I), and Ann's younger sister is marrying Sarah's youngest brother. This isn't as coincidental as sounds; the families have always been close, and a merger seemed inevitable at some point in time! So the wedding is something of a family affair; my dad is officiating; my brother is the best man; another brother is shooting the photos; my sister-in-law is making the wedding cake. It's my favorite sort of wedding — one where there's a lot of love and friendship not just between the bride and bridegroom but between the family and friends on both sides as well.

I'm going to share the whole process of planning and prepping the wedding food with you, but first I need a little help with the menu. The budget is about $2000, which I think is plenty for food and drinks (they're not serving alcohol, mostly for reasons of cost). There will be a wide array of dietary needs; I would like to have plenty of vegetarian and especially gluten-free food.

I'm planning on making four to five savory bites, plus two sweet bites (there will also be cake). The sweet bites are the easiest; we'll do a mini lemon tart in phyllo crusts, and I will probably also do something gluten-free like a dairy-free berry pudding or mini cheesecake.

The savory bites are less planned out, however. The bride is interested in having some kind of tomato-mozzarella bite on toothpicks, and also perhaps a bruschetta or crostini bite. I'll only have a couple full days to work on all the prep, and ideally a lot of this could be made at least a day ahead and held in the fridge.

You guys always have such good advice for big parties like these; any suggestions for make-ahead appetizers and finger foods?

Wedding Questions from Our Readers

(Image credits: Becca Rillo Photography at The Frosted Petticoat via Austin Wedding Blog)

26 Comments