Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life. So why not add a personal touch by catering your own wedding buffet?
Not only will this give you more control over the menu, but it can also save you money. And, the best part about it is you get to enjoy the delicious food you’ve thoughtfully prepared for your big day!
If you’re not sure where to start, we are here with some tips to help you cater your own wedding buffet. Keep reading to find out more.
Can I Cater My Wedding?
Of course, you can! Catering your wedding is a great way to add a personal touch and save money simultaneously.
That said, it’s essential to realize that catering your wedding is not for everyone. It requires careful planning and preparation, and it’s not something that you should try to do at the last minute.
If you’re organized and up for the challenge, catering your wedding buffet can be a fun and rewarding experience.
What Is A Self-Catered Wedding?
Self-catered wedding is simply a wedding where the food is prepared and served by the hosts (that’s you!) rather than being catered by a professional catering company.
One of the benefits of self-catering your own wedding is that it gives you the opportunity to personalize and truly make it special with your own ideas. So, if you have specific dietary requirements or just want to serve up a family recipe, self-catering is the way to go.
Another plus side is that professional catering services can be expensive, so self-catering is definitely the more affordable option if you’re on a tight budget.
Of course, self-catering also has its challenges. It’s important to remember that you’ll be responsible for everything from menu planning to food shopping, cooking, and serving. This means you’ll need to be organized and have a good plan.
Is It Better to Cater Your Own Wedding?
To answer this question, it really depends on your individual circumstances. If you’re seeking a unique buffet idea, then catering your wedding can be a great option.
However, if you’re not confident in your cooking abilities or are short on time, it might be better to leave the catering to the professionals.
Tips on Catering an Affordable Wedding Buffet
Depending on your budget and the size of your wedding, there are a few different ways to cater your own wedding in a cheaper way.
Keep the menu simple: This means sticking to tried-and-true dishes that are easy to make in bulk. Another cost-saving tip is to use your slow cooker or Instant Pot for some of the dishes. This can help to reduce your overall cooking time.
Of course, you can also cut costs by shopping at discount grocery stores or taking advantage of sales and coupons. And, if you have friends or family members willing to lend a hand, ask them to pitch in with the cooking or preparation.
5 Casual Backyard Wedding Catering Menus
A backyard wedding can save you thousands of dollars over a hotel or banquet hall rental.
Finger foods are the way to go when catering your own backyard wedding. You don’t want anything that requires utensils or plates. Some casual backyard catering menus include:
1. Assorted sandwiches
Wouldn’t your guest love some mini burgers or sliders?
2. Macaroni and cheese
Try adding variations, such as lobster macaroni and cheese or truffle macaroni and cheese.
3. Potato salad
Try out different flavors and mix-ins, like dill or horseradish.
4. Chips and dip
Nachos with guacamole or pita chips with hummus are both great options.
5. Veggie tray
Opt for easy veggies to eat with your fingers, like carrots, celery, and cherry tomatoes.
DIY Wedding Food Ideas
It is an absolute must that you have a self-serve food station at your wedding. This will save you from all the trouble related to extra expenditure!
Some great DIY wedding food ideas include:
1. Chili bar
Try out some exciting flavors as a part of your chili bar. You could add toppings like cheese, onions, and sour cream to make it more filling.
2. Taco bar
Introduce a unique blend of cuisines at your wedding with a taco bar. Add some chopped veggies, salsa, guacamole, and sour cream to make it more interesting.
3. Build-your-own sandwich or wrap station
You can try cool fillings, such as roasted vegetables, chicken, turkey, and bacon, and let your guests build their sandwiches or wraps.
4. Fruit and cheese platter
Get colorful and elegant with a fruit and cheese platter. Combine some of your favorite fruits with a variety of cheeses.
5. Donut wall
This is one of the most popular food trends right now, and it’s perfect for a DIY wedding! All you need is some string or yarn and some donuts.
Self Catering an Appetizer
Self-catering an appetizer is a great way to save money. An appetizer can indeed be anything you want it to be. Get creative!
You can either do a veggie and dip platter or an assortment of finger foods. Some ideas include:
- Fruit kabobs – Go for fruits such as cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, pineapple, and grapes.
- Cheese cubes – Cheddar, swiss, and mozzarella are good choices.
- Mini quiches – You can make these ahead of time and freeze them.
- Cake pops – These are easy to make and you can get creative with flavors such as chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry.
- Brownie bites – Make mini brownies or use a brownie mix and bake them in mini muffin tins.
- Build your own sundae bar – guests can let their creative side show with this one!
Make Ahead Food
You absolutely must make as much food ahead of time as possible. This will save you so much money and keep you relaxed leading up to the big day. As a wedding venue kitchen, you can opt for an industrial kitchen or a catering kitchen. This way you don’t have to worry about storage or leaving your kitchen in a mess for days on end.
Some great make-ahead food ideas include:
- Cookies – Try making a big batch of your favorite cookies and freeze them. They’ll last weeks in the freezer.
- Casseroles – Casseroles are another great make-ahead food. You can make them a few days in advance and then just reheat them when you’re ready to eat.
- Lasagna – lasagna is another great make-ahead option. You can make it a few days in advance and get it reheated prior to eating.
- Soup – You can make a big pot of soup and then freeze it in individual servings. Try lentil soup, vegetable soup, or chicken soup.
- Stews – Go for some unique stews like beef stew, lamb stew, or even fish stew.
Self Catering a Dessert
One of the best things about a wedding menu is that you can get creative with the dessert. Self-catering a dessert lets you customize it according to what you and your spouse-to-be love. Some really look up to these lovely dessert bites to feel more festive.
Some fun ideas include:
- Cupcakes – Mini cupcakes with different frostings are a big hit. You can even get creative and do some unique flavor combinations such as lavender and lemon.
- Brownies – You can’t go wrong with brownies. You can even add frosting or serve them warm with ice cream.
- Ice cream sundae bar – This is a great option if you want to serve something cold and refreshing. Set up a toppings bar with all of your favorite toppings.
- Cheesecake bars – These are always a crowd favorite. You can even make them ahead of time and freeze them until you’re ready to serve.
- Candy buffet– This is incredible for those with a sweet tooth. You can fill jars with different kinds of candy and let guests help themselves.
- Assortment of cookies – This is an amazing option if you want to have something for everyone. You can even do a mix of savory and sweet cookies.
Order Restaurant Food for Your Wedding
Ordering restaurant food for your wedding is a good option, especially if you’re on a tight schedule. This can be a great way to save money and still have delicious food.
Some famous restaurant foods include:
- Pizza – You can’t go wrong with a classic cheese or pepperoni pizza.
- Chinese food – Try out some chicken and cashew nut salad with Chinese fried rice.
- Mexican food – A fajita bar is always a good idea, with chicken, beef, and vegetarian options.
- Sub sandwiches – Get a variety of meats and cheeses to make your own perfect sandwich.
- Noodles – Chow Mein with vegetables is a filling and tasty option. Add some fried wontons on the side.
Make sure to give them clear instructions on what you want and when you need it.
Have Fun Catering!
That’s it! These are just a few tips to help you cater your own wedding on the cheap. With some planning and creativity, you can easily save thousands of dollars on your wedding catering bill. So have fun with it, and enjoy your big day!