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Cook Talk

Wedding Buffet for 165 people
Hello Ellen!
I am hosting an evening wedding in less than three weeks and have no idea what I'm doing (never done anything like this before). I was planning on food for about 100-120, but 165 people RSVPd to the event, so I'm a bit nervous about food amounts. It is taking place on a Sunday evening in an old remodeled movie theater which is set up like a dinner theater. The theater has a tiny kitchen with a ton of refrigerator space, but no stove/oven or any way to heat food. Because of this, (and the fact that its Memorial Day Weekend) I decided to go with a picnic theme on the more casual side and serve roasted meat (turkey and chicken) from oven roasters with potato salad, coleslaw, pickle spears and either dinner rolls or pasta salad. I'm not sure if I am going to have enough food.

We are smoking 105 lbs of turkey and 60 lbs. of chicken.
75 lbs. of coleslaw
75 lbs. of potato salad
20 dozen dinner rolls (with butter packets)
and/or pasta salad (not sure how much we would need or if we need a pasta salad)
2 gallon jars of pickle spears
10 gallons of iced tea
10 gallons of lemonade
10 gallons of water
1-2 kegs of beer
7 boxes of wine (5L)
wedding cake
There will also be a large popcorn machine w/ popcorn available for the guests

I was told to plan for 4oz. of coleslaw and potato salad per person, so I was planning on purchasing 50 lbs. of each until I looked at your website and adjusted it to 75 lbs! Is this going to be enough food to serve 165 guests? I'm trying to make the menu as easy as possible. Thank you so very much!


If 165 rsvp'd, your bride can expect 180-200 people, because not everyone rsvp's. So I am going to give per 100 with suggestion you consider doing double.

You have another concern: each electric roaster requires a full electric circuit and most rooms only have one circuit. When you set up the serving, it will be 3 serving tables or 2 double tables, so you are looking at 4-6 roasters- how will you do this

Remember that 100 people eat 115 servings approximately with buffet service.

One option would be to serve the turkey sliced cold.

We are smoking 105 lbs of turkey and 60 lbs. of chicken.
Assuming this is whole, bone in, to make sure everyone gets some, have a server serve the first round
Also, you have no provision for any non-meat eaters- at least a crock pot of veggie patties or sausages
75 lbs. of coleslaw, 2 1/2 gallons per 100
75 lbs. of potato salad, I do 40 pounds potatoes per 100 plus add-ins, about 4 1/2 gallons per 100
20 dozen dinner rolls (with butter packets), 12 pounds per 100, 3 pounds butter per 100
and/or pasta salad (not sure how much we would need or if we need a pasta salad), pasta salad, 6 pounds dry pasta per 100 plus add-ins
2 gallon jars of pickle spears- OK

10 gallons of iced tea, do 12, and 4 unsweetened
10 gallons of lemonade
10 gallons of water
1-2 kegs of beer- each keg serves 40
7 boxes of wine (5L) serves about 100. Consider doing a sangria so the wine is NOT served in the box.

wedding cake, since this is a large party, they need to consider a wedding cake for 100-120 and either a grooms cake such as chocolate or spice, for 100; or "kitchen cakes" which are sheet cakes in the flavor of the wedding cake and much less costly.

There will also be a large popcorn machine w/ popcorn available for the guests
6 pounds kernels per 100

You seriously need an appetizer plan 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 (see fruit tray page), a cheese tray (8-10 pounds cheese and 6 pounds crackers per 100) and an attractive dip or spread (6 pounds potato or 8 pounds corn chips per 100, with 1 pint salsa/dip/queso per pound); 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 serves about 100 guests. You would do 2.

Thank you for your donation.

for my wedding we are having the following
165 people are invited...

roast pig
Potato salad
Mashed Potato
Baked Beans
corn or some other veggie

how much of each should i plan on. or anything i should CHANGE??
wedding is August 4,2018

Lisa, do you have your heart set on roast pig? tis one of the riskier and more difficult choices, for several reasons:
- VERY difficult to finish a whole pig (and you would need 2 at least- 170 pounds) at an exact time
- messy to serve and eat if people are in dressy clothes
-a part of your guests will not eat pork, so the menu has to be broadened to serve non-pork eating guests.

If you want this it can be done, but roast pork loin s dressier and much simpler o manage. Please write back.

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