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Cook Talk

BBQ Wedding Self-Serve Buffet for 150
Rikki J Haus
Hi Ellen,

I'm preparing the food for our wedding in August 2018 for 150 people and I need to know the quantity of each item for that many guests. I've read lots of different opinions online and am in need of some guidance. Here's our menu:

Pulled pork on bun
Baked beans
Potato salad
Cole Slaw
BBQ sauce


Hi, Ricki. An exciting time for you! Keep in mind that considering gifts, outfit, travel, etc, on average a guest spends 200-500 out of pocket to attend your celebration.

Please read my article:

Also, here are some concerns before you start cooking:

A self serve buffet for 150 people requires about 4 people in the kitchen, day of, plus servers, and they can't be part of he wedding, as they will be setting up during the service.
It is CRITICAL that you have appetizers, and serve them before the meal! The guests will be standing around for nearly an hour after the service while you do photos, etc. and your staff is trying to get the buffet set. Here is a quote from my upcoming article:

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 punch 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; maybe shrimps if budget permits.

One appetizer service area is needed for each 100 guests.

You can see amounts on the fruit tray page and the veggie tray page. For dips/spreads, 1 pound bread or chips per 10, 1/3 cup per person if there is only 1, or 1/4 cup each for 2. I would not put the appetizers on the tables but in a separate foyer/bar/waiting area, I would keep the guests out of the serving area until the buffet is ready to serve.

For 150 people, I would plan on 3-4 in the kitchen and 8 experienced servers to set up, serve and clean up. With 150 guests, you need 2-3 serving lines.
This should include some very experienced people. Culinary schools, local diners that close at 2 pm or active church or school kitchens are some sources for staff.

Now back to the dinner menu. At a wedding dinner, you will need to provide options for people who don't eat pork, or don't eat meat at all, so the menu will require some tweaks. Also, remember to increase times 1 1/2 for 150 people.

Pulled pork on bun
1 pound ready to eat makes 5 sandwiches, which serves 4 people, or 12 sliders, which serves 5. 38 pounds for 150 people, prob a little left. 190 buns or about 360 slider buns, get good ones.
Add a slow cooker full of veggie sausages, I like Field Roast brand, or veggie burgers, - at least 10 servings
If children are attending, consider having a big bowl of swirled nut butter and jam, too.

Baked beans
3 gallons, which is 4 #10 cans, per 100. Have at least one gallon meatless for 150, mark it, set it on the line with the meatless entree
Potato salad
4 gallons, which is about 40 pounds of potatoes, per 100
Cole Slaw
2 1/2 gallons per 100
BBQ sauce
About 2 gallons per 100
1 gallon per 100
Traditional also to have sliced onions, 8 pounds per 100

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