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Cater Your Own Wedding?
Yes you can!  - by Charish Hoover
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Recommended for smaller events only
    I know what it's like to want the perfect wedding but feel it's financially out of reach.  I'll also be the first to strongly encourage all brides to NEVER skimp on quality just because of price.  There's always something that can be sacrificed for the more important things regarding your wedding.  I'll leave that up to you. 

     When it comes to catering, and
hiring a caterer,  you truly do want to choose the most experienced, tried, and tested professional.  Price does matter.  You may find a caterer who charges only $5.00 per person, as apposed to a caterer who charges $40.00 per person.  That's ok, but I'll never forget what one caterer said to me.  Those words were, "$5.00 per plate may sound great, but that price is pretty expensive when the food tastes like #%@*"  Ehem! nuff said.  OK, back to my point.  This may or may not be true in every case.  I suggest that if you're interested in any caterer, ask for a sample tasting of the food items that interest you prior to hiring them.  Then, you will better know whether or not the food is worth the price, whether it be $5.00, or more.
    Another bit of advice is this.  If you're on a tight budget, but still want a fairy tale wedding, , , , DON'T invite the world to your wedding.  Try to keep your guest count below 100 people (60 is a good number).  One of the biggest expenses for a wedding usually turns out to be feeding your guests.  Pick a number and stick to it.  When it comes to your invitations, remember that it is ok to mention on the invite that seating is limited to names listed on the invitation.  This will hopefully deter your guests from extending their invitation to their own guest(s).

     If you are planning to hold your reception at a home, or memorial building, public hall, etc., catering your own wedding will be much easier.  If however you want to have your reception at
one of the more popular banquet halls or facilities, you may very well be told "No" when it comes to bringing in your own food.  This may happen because banquet halls often offer their own catering and that service is usually part of a package deal.  When your date is a prime, popular date, a caterer and hall simply would not prefer to have you booked for that day as apposed to a bride who wants to hire the facility for all of its services.  There's nothing wrong with this, it's simply business.  Any business will look out for it's best interest.  After all, they have expenses and employees, and it simply would not be worth it to them to turn away more money.  This does not mean however that you should not discuss the possibility of bringing in your own food at their facility.  The worst thing they can say is no.  This does not make them a bad business, they're simply sticking to what works best for them.
Suggestions for pleasing your guests' appetites.

1. Remember that you and your new spouse may have some picture taking to do after your ceremony:  Try to provide some great, yet inexpensive appetizers for your guests while they await for your arrival to the reception area.
Stuffed Mushroom Combo Franks in Blanket
*  Veggie platters with various dips.
*  Chips with salsa and/or other dips.  Crackers Are also a good addition.
*  Sliced fruits such as cantelope, grapes, water melon, with cream cheese/yogurt dip.
*  Various sliced Deli meats with rye bread, and or crackers for mini sandwich creations.
Check Out These Tasty Ideas Below!
Create a buffet of choices for your guests:

2. By the time you arrive at the reception, your guests should already have their hunger under control as a result of the delicious appetizers you've provided for them.  The only thing left now is to provide them with a more hearty menu.  Go buffet style, and your guests will enjoy the various choices offered to their tastebuds.  They can also decide how much or little they wish to eat.
Asian Combo
Beef Satay
Blacktie Combo
Chicken Kabobs
Low Carb Sampler
Premium Crabcakes
Quiche Lorraine
Buffet ideas that family & friends can help you with:

BBQ'd beef - have a large crockpot of this tasty meat choice cooked up and ready for self serve.
Be sure to have buns or tortillas available (enough per for at least 1 per guest)

Other inexpensive meat ideas: Baked and sliced ham, boneless turkey sliced and ready for self serve.

Quick, Easy, & Inexpensive Side Dish Ideas:

Potato salad ~ Green Salad ~ Rice Pilaf ~ Green beans w/bacon ~ Dinner Rolls
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