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Cook Talk

Reception for 125
Hi Ellen,

Thank you for your insight!

I am hosting a wedding reception for 125. Of that number, it's approx. 85 adults and 40 children. The reception is at night at approx. 8:00 PM - 8:30 PM. The attendees know that a full dinner will be served afterwards, but I do not know if that will deter them from eating ahead of time.

I am planning lasagna, baked ziti, meatballs, salad (Olive Garden style), breadsticks catered by Olive Garden, wedding cake, tea, lemonade and coffee.

The lasagna and ziti recipes both make enough for approx. 12 adult portions. The meatballs are fairly large (golf ball sized).

Can you tell me how many servings to make of the two entrees, with meatballs, salad and bread on the side?

Is 1.5 breadsticks enough for every person?

Thank you for your help!


Yes, most people will eat before hand, especially with kids, and that does reduce amounts.However because of the lateness of the hour and the very large number of kids, I strongly suggest you have an appetizer table ready when the guests hit the door, this will prevent a LOT of fussiness. Nothing too elaborate; I would do a fruit tray for 100 (see the fruit tray page), a cheese and cracker board with about 8 pounds of cheese and 6 pounds of crackers; about 6 pounds of mixed nuts. You could add one more item if you wanted to. Minimum fuss, maximum happiness for kids. Put out a punch bowl with lemonade, and people will pass time till the bride arrives.

lasagna, do 8 pans, make one pan meatless for any vegetarians.
baked ziti, do for 60.
Yes, you will have some left, but this way everyone will get what they want.

meatballs, 2 per adult, 1 per kids, maybe 20 extra

salad (Olive Garden style), use the salad guide in the plan for 100 page, do for 100 with a little extra. With that many kids, consider a few pounds of baby carrots with Ranch for dipping- kids seem to inhale these.

bread sticks catered by Olive Garden, 2 per adult, 1 1/2, OK for kids

wedding cake, this is a costly item. If you are watching the budget, consider a smaller cake with a cupcake or cookie and bar assortment. Very trendy and less expensive. With all the wonderful Italian cookies available, this could be a make-ahead and freeze project.

tea, 9-10 gallons, 1/3 unsweetened
lemonade, 8 gallons
coffee, do dinner coffee from the beverage page, about 3/4 would be enough unless they are pretty serious coffee drinkers. At this hour, be sure there is some decaf.

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