Friday, January 6, 2012

Decisions: The Food

Oh, my god, the food. *cries softly*

Way back when, I heard a family friend talk about her daughter doing a potluck wedding reception. It sounded fabulous to me - I mean, potluck meals are awesome. Everyone brings something that they make really well, people eat buffet style and sit around and chat, and everything is just wonderful and happy. It's a kind of a large-family-brunch-across-a-lazy-morning vibe, and to me, that just sounds perfect for a wedding. (Well, that and dancing.)

However, it turns out that potluck wedding receptions are an issue about which people have strong opinions. Either they'll say, "Oh, my god, that sounds fabulous," or they launch into an explanation of how rude it is, how I'll end up with 85 pies and one loaf of bread, how I absolutely must not tell people what to bring, and how everyone will die of dysentery while fording the river (okay, they actually said, "food poisoning" ... ). Even one of my best friends, with whom I am usually in accord, was not in favor of the idea - "I'm not sure you understand how much work you're giving someone to organize this."

I know this must be possible, and I have emails out to various people at the moment. In the meantime, I'm going to be looking at other options, and it turns out we should be able to do this in a fairly reasonable way, even looking at upscale food:

  • A well-known local Italian caterer can provide pasta dishes for about $6 per person ($36-$45 for 6-8 servings, looking across dishes and serving sizes) and salad for about $2.90 per person, coming out to $880 in total. Another option is their soup buffet - I could overshoot 100 and still end up with soup, salad, and bread for $620. Not bad!

  • A local luxury grocer has a gallon of soup (10 servings) for $55.99, and salads at about $3.00 per person. This would end up at around $900, NOT including bread.

And what occurs to me is that we could do a hybrid approach:

  • potluck desserts (or ask a few choice friends to make cakes, pies, etc.)

  • soup buffet for 60: $68.99x4=275.96 (or a more generous estimate would put us at $344.95)

  • 40 servings of quiche, say 10 pie-sized quiches: I estimate a cost of $6 per quiche, putting us at $60.

  • Total: $404.95 (leaving a good amount of room to negotiate upwards on soup, salad, and bread)

I have to say that the hybrid approach sounds the least stressful - I don't have to worry about making some odd combination of food (to compensate for what might or might not be brought at a potluck), I can crowdsource very specific things (cake), and quiches are about the easiest thing in the world to make. Further, I will not be stressing about having dropped $1000+ on food before adding in beverages.

Sound off! Tell me what you think of potluck wedding receptions! Did you have a formal sit-down dinner? Did you do something less "traditional"? Tell!

1 comment:

  1. We're catering our own wedding reception for 60ish people. I've already talked about some of our ideas if you'd like to check it out:
    I should mention though, that both my boyfriend and I (as well as my mom) LOVE to cook. And we both think that the food is pretty important. Honestly if we were able to have the type of lunch (or dinner, we haven't decided yet) we want without having to cater it ourselves, we probably would.
    But per-plate rate around here is about 100-150€ (without drinks) and that's for okay food. Nothing marvelous.
    So, the only feasible solution is self-catering! Thankfully we all love cooking for large groups of people.