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So relieved that I found your website again! You were a lifesaver in planning my grad parties and now we're onto weddings.
What are your recommendations for amounts? I am having a 5.30 pm buffet for a mixed age crowd of 170 guests. No appetizers will be served, however the cookie table will be open. There will be rigatoni and sauce, fairly large meatballs, baked italian chicken breasts, green bean almondine, tossed salad and rolls.
Thank you in advance!!
Malisa, wedding make some special demands, particularly when it has been a long time since lunch.
Please consider 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 beverage 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 serves about 100 guests, so you would plan 2.
You will need about 3 people in the kitchen and 10 out front to set up, serve, and clean up this size party. Some will not attend the wedding, they will be prepping/serving. Also, please read the wedding dinner article to help with your planning.
Once you start serving dinner, it will take 3 serving lines or 2 double-sided lines to serve everyone in under an hour.
Now as far as the dinner is concerned, remember that the average guest spends $200-500 to attend by the time they have dealt with gift, outfit, travel, etc. So you want to plan a menu that has a little oomph to it. For example, if I were doing this type menu and watching the budget, I would still add antipasto veggies (made ahead, marinated and chilled, about 4 gallons), as well as an eggplant and/or zucchini casserole made with cheese that could also serve as a vegetarian entree for any non-meat eaters, and there will be some. About 32 pounds ready to cook veggies. Seasoned olive oil for bread dipping on the tables, and really good bread, about 22 pounds. Parmesan on tables, shredded is classier than grated, about 1 pound per 10-12
In addition, one server full of a gluten free pasta. It is a big deal these days.
rigatoni and sauce, 1 pound pasta per 4, 1 quart sauce per pound. Be aware that casseroled, presauced is WAY easier to heat and serve without mushiness, if you don't overcook the pasta to star with
green bean almondine, 35 pounds green beans. See the ellens better green bean casserole recipe on this site.
tossed salad, use the plan for 100 table, do 1 1/2 times the amount
Hope this helps. If this saves you time, trouble, or money, please make a donation, maybe a dime or quarter per guest, to support this site. Thanks.