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Cook Talk

Wedding Reception for 250
We are trying to plan a simple reception and need some help with menu and the amounts needed. Here's what we are planning so far.
Shredded Beef and Shredded Chicken Sandwiches. How much of each and number of buns that will be needed? Then we would like to have sides of Pasta Salad, Potato Salad, Scalloped Potatoes and Green Beans. Also we will have Relish Trays, Chips and Pretzels and Nuts. How much of each? And is this an ok menu?

Thank you for your help.


this is an OK menu, if you fill out the appetizers.

Amounts depend partly on what time of day- if you have a 12 o'clock service, people don't eat lunch and come hungry; if 1 o'clock, most will eat before they come.

It also depends on the mix of guests, whether alcohol is served, what the dessert plans are, and more.

This is a very big party, it requires at least 4 people in the kitchen and about 15 to set up serve and clean up. These should not be any members of the wedding party, especially the bride and her mother- see my article on the wedding dinner for a discussion. It also requires a commercial kitchen to prepare, store and serve the food safely; rental of serving equipment and plates/glasses/flatware. You are looking at about $18 per person, minimum.

You could cut costs in half, approximately, by having a 2 pm service with reception only or a 7-8 pm service with a dessert reception.

Talk this over and then write back with time, venue, etc- or use the email contact at the bottom of the page for a more lengthy discussion.

It is an afternoon wedding, 2:30. Reception is at 5. Alcohol will be served. It will be mostly adults, with about half of them being around the bride and grooms age of mid 20's. We do have a commercial kitchen to prepare, store and serve the food. We have some of our kitchen help lined up and are working on the remainder. We also have plates, glasses and flatware covered. The only dessert on our menu is cake.
It looks like you have at least an hour between the end of the service and the start of dinner. You definitely need 3 appetizers site tables, with at least 3 items; a cheese tray with crackers or bread, a fruit tray, and some kind of dip spread, or bruschetta type thing and a punch (two if one is alcoholic, one needs to be non-alcoholic) would be very nice. This gives time for finishing the dinner prep/setup and for the photos and protects from hungry and therefore irritable children and grown ups.

Relish Trays, 3 classic from my veggie tray page
Chips 1 pound per 10, 1/4 cup dip per person
Pretzels and Nuts- 6 pounds each per 100.

Shredded Beef and Shredded Chicken Sandwiches.
5 beef for every 3 chicken, about 175 to 75, and you have to allow some extra for seconds and because you don't know exactly how it will split.

It takes 7 1/2 cups (just shy of 4 pounds cooked weight or about 5- 5 1/2 raw) shredded meat and an equal amount of sauce to make 12 good size sandwiches. You would do about 14 times this for the beef, 8 times for boneless chicken. Bone in chicken weighs twice as much for the same amount of meat.

Pasta Salad, 12 pounds dry pasta plus add-ins
Potato Salad, at least 6 gallons
Scalloped Potatoes- good. popular and serves as an entree for any vegetarians. 80-90 pounds raw potatoes
Green Beans.b 55 pounds ready to cook.

It is never amiss to have some additional sweets and desserts- if not, be sure you have enough cake. A "kitchen cake" of a two layer full sheet serves 100. Same cake and icing but MUCH cheaper than an ultra large wedding cake

Thanks so much for your help. We will get some appetizers lined up and think about additional sweets or desserts. Thanks again.
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