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Cook Talk

wedding for 300
Schaquana Spears
Hi I'm getting married and trying to feed 300 people ham, turkey, rice dressing, green beans, shrimp fettucinne and dinner rolls please can you tell me how much food will I need to buy
OK, Schaquana, 300 people is a VERY large party. It requires a large commercial kitchen and about 500 pounds of foods. In addition, be aware that you will need 4-5 people in the kitchen and 15-18 out front to set up, serve, and clean up a party this size, and these will not be at the wedding, they will be working.

You may decide that a smaller wedding, catered or partially catered is a happier plan for you.

I don't recommend self catering for anything over 60-130, especially if you have not cooked for over 100 before. To begin, you have a few little difficulties with the menu. For example, you have any vegetarians (and with 300, you WILL have some), they can't eat any of the entrees.

Also, you need to add a plan for an appetizer section (3 sections, actually, with 300 people) and here is why.

A self-catered buffet is a real challenge to the organizers, and things don't always come together as smoothly as hoped. By planning and setting up an appetizer area or "nibble table" which is ready when the guests begin to arrive, the cooks and servers have time to complete the arrangement of the dinner buffet. This is especially critical if there are children among the guests, or there is a wait before dinner, as at a wedding reception.

This does not have to be complicated. Three items, plus a punch, or two if one is alcoholic, are sufficient. Typically, include a fruit tray, a cheese tray and an attractive dip or spread; or you can go with a dinner theme such as TexMex with chips, salsas, Texas caviar and guacamole; Italian with bruschetta or antipasto; maybe shrimps or other cold seafood, if budget permits.

One appetizer service area is needed for each 100 guests.

Yes, lots of people write in about doing for 200-300 and up, and I do try to answer their questions; but the happiest follow up reports come from people who keep the party below 150.

Take a look at the shopping and planning for large holiday meals article at the top of the Big Pots section, it covers amounts for a turkey and ham meal; then read the article on wedding dinners- the button is at the top of the cook talk page- and then write back with your proposed appetizer plan and some more ideas about your menu, and I will try to help.

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