Monday, June 22, 2009

Catering Your Own Wedding: 2 Months Ahead Checklist

___________________________________________________

Go Back to the Cater Your Own Wedding Index
___________________________________________________

:Part 7: 2 Month Checklist:



2 Months Before
  • Food:
    • Keep track of your RSVP's to give you an idea of your head count
    • Plan your side salads
    • Research the bakeries in your area and price out roll options
    • Coordinate coffee service.
  • Bar:
    • If you decide to do your own bar as well, compile a drink menu
    • make a list of necessary grocery items (garnishes and mixers)
    • research options for bar service
    • Compile a list of glassware etc, you will need to add to your catering supply list.
  • Manpower:
    • Complete your list of volunteers
    • assigned each person one or two specific tasks
  • Catering Supplies:
    • Make final decision on china vs. disposable options
    • organize acquired items in your house
___________________________________________________

1) Food:


Image courtesy of Hannabidays
  • Keep track of your RSVP's to calculate your head count
  • Plan your side salads
    • delegate to helpers
  • Research the bakeries in your area and price out roll options
    • ask about different roll options
    • find out pricing information
    • find out about pickup/delivery
    • ask about freshness
Make sure you have a way to organize your RSVP’s. Hopefully by this time, all of your invitations have been sent out and rsvp’s are starting to come in. Organize your RSVP list either by compiling your own spreadsheet or use an online service to add it up for you.

Wedding planners estimate you can expect about 60% of invited guests to come. Using this number, review the menu you made and make changes as you go along to suit the amount of food you'll need for you this many people. If you need more help coming up with amounts, we'll give you more tips as we get closer to the date.

If you decide to serve side salads in addition to your sandwiches, start researching recipes now.
I suggest pasta or bean salads with vinaigrette dressings because they hold up well on a buffet table for hours and best when made ahead a couple of days.

Side salads are a great job for family members
who want to help with the wedding but will be involved with the actual ceremony to help with food prep the day of. For our wedding, I asked both our Mothers to make a salad, so we had two side salads to serve. They were super happy to be involved, the salads turned out great, and I didn't have to do any of the work. Win win!

Coordinate coffee service. This is something we haven't touched on yet. Serving coffee after serving your food is important because it can definitely help the pace of your party surge ahead instead of drag along due to guests suffering from food comas. People love coffee, so think about what you may need to serve along side your coffee, like sugar and cream.

___________________________________________________

2) Bar:


Image courtesy of JaniceLin
  • compile a list of drinks you wish to have available
  • make a precursory grocery list for your drink list
    • alcohol
    • non-alcohol/mixers
    • garnishes
  • start thinking of bar service
    • professional bar tenders w/ liquor license
    • friends who you can hire as bar tenders
  • Compile a list of glassware etc, you will need to add to your catering supply list.
If you decide to supply your own bar, start to decide what drinks you want to serve. The biggest decision here is a full bar vs. beer or wine. As I said before, I suggest serving some liquor to allow a selection of cocktails. Full bars make guests feel taken care of and it always seems to up the ante from a good wedding to an awesome wedding. Make a list of drinks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic, you'd like to serve, along with any garnishes. Here is the sample menu we came up with for our wedding.

Make a coordinating grocery list for your drink menu. Start thinking about where you will purchase these items.

You will also have to decide how the bar will be served:

Does your event space require bar tenders who can supply their own liquor license?
If so, you'll have to look into this and research costs. We needed to provide this for our event space, which turned out to be a hefty sum of $500. However, I don't regret spending the money for a second. Providing our own bar instead of hiring a catering service to provide it for us still saved us a bunch of money. And alcohol is one of the single most important elements of a social event. It helps lubricate social interaction and helps people relax and have a good time. This is something worth spending the money on.

If you are not required to have bar tenders with a liquor license, decide if your bar will need to be manned or not. If you feel it does (which I suggest, as it will be more organized, look better and be easier for everyone involved), perhaps you have some friends, or friends of friends you can hire to tend your bar for a lower cost then hiring professionals.

Compile a list of glassware, napkins, or other materials necessary for your bar and add to your catering supply list. .
If you decide to go with plastic glassware, I suggest using the hard plastic glasses as opposed to the soft solo glasses. Although a bit more expensive, they appear way more classy then the thin plastic. I suggest 16 oz. glasses for beer and the squat 9 oz. for cocktails and wine. Remember when coming up with amounts necessary, people ALWAYS set their glasses down and lose them, so you should probably arrange for 3 glasses for every person coming. Will you give out bar napkins with each drink? Will you need any fancy items like umbrellas or stirring sticks? Keep in mind these things when planning your list.
___________________________________________________

3) Manpower:


Image by Chris Dilts Photography
  • Complete your list of volunteers
    • shopping
    • food prep
      • days before
      • day of
    • Event set-up
    • Event clean up
  • assigned each person one or two specific tasks
Assign tasks to your volunteers. By now, hopefully you have a list of people who have volunteered their time and efforts as well as a list of things you need to have done. Try to match skills your volunteers have which would make them the best candidates for different tasks. People who will be involved with the wedding ceremony like direct family members and friends in the wedding party should not be asked to do to much prep work during the wedding itself. Perhaps schedule these friends for help in the days before the wedding.

Try not to over burden any one person with too many tasks.
Spread the work around as much as possible. You don't want to make your friends feel like they are being taken advantage of. The more people you have involved, the more a feeling of community you will create.

Make a full list of tasks and who is assigned to do them including contact info for each person and share this list among all your volunteers. By sharing your list, if volunteers need to communicate together, they can do so around you, not through you. The more people you have involved, the more organization you will need to keep everyone's tasks in order. The more organization, the easier and smoother everything will go, ESPECIALLY IN THE LAST WEEK!

___________________________________________________

4) Catering Supplies:


Image courtesy of RossMat5msu
  • Make final decision on china vs. disposable options
  • organize acquired items in your house
    • Clean out area in your house to store items.
    • Place items in boxes
    • Label your boxes with what they are and where they go
Make a final decisions on your catering supply needs. Go over your sample list of menu items and your list of bar needs. Either set up your rental order, arrange for borrowing items, or decide where you are going to purchase disposable items, be it online or from a whole saler like Costco.

In terms of amounts: I would suggest ordering/borrowing the following amounts:
  • plates/paper trays: 1 1/4 per person (meaning every fourth person will need 2)
  • silverware: 1 set per person
  • glassware: 3 per person
  • dinner napkins: 1 1/4 per person
  • bar napkins: 3 per person (if you decide to serve them: this is optional)
  • Buffet bowls and platters: can probably be borrowed from friends and family. Large flat baskets will work well too
  • Buffet Supplies:
    • 5-10 pairs of small tongs , one for each of your platters depending on the size of your wedding. Don't worry about the exact number of platters, you can find cheap tongs as low as $1 or less.
    • you may want a few olive oil and vinager dispenser bottles. 1 for each.
  • table clothes: 1 per table
    • The decision here is if you're having circular or rectangular tables. Your event space may not give you a choice, but if you have to rent them keep in mind:
      • Circular
        • looks more classy
      • Rectangular
        • You can fit more people at rectangular tables
        • they take up less square footage. You can usually fit 8-10 people at a standard 8ft x 3 ft rectangular buffet table.
        • If you get rectangular tables and line them up in long rows, you can get rolls of plastic table cloth material. They usually come in 150 ft. rolls which is enough for 16 8 ft tables.
Clean out area in your house to store items. When acquiring your items, make sure you have a closet, side room or area in your basement which you can begin to stock pile items in.

Place items in boxes, if the are not already to ensure an easy way to transport them later.

Label your boxes with what they are and where they go, for example: Plates/Food or Glasses/Bar. This will help you immensely when you're setting up for the wedding.

That should keep you busy for the next month. We'll check back in 1 month before your wedding.
___________________________________________________

Continued Reading in the Cater Your Own Wedding Series:
Final Month Checklist
Final Week Checklist



Feel free to send me an email if you have any questions about my plan or about how to plan your own event.

3 comments:

econcept infotech said...

Essen Speciality Films Pvt Ltd. offer Dining Table Mats from India.

Ross said...

Pretty cool stuff, I saw this site with some useful info on Bar Tables Hope it helps

Anonymous said...

Many jewelers have personnel links jewellery on staff that is able to create a unique piece of jewelry to your specifications, links of london bracelet sale and if there are no personnel that can accomplish this task, links of london charms sale they can order it specially made for you. Not only do you have links of london womens watches the option of making this piece exactly the way you want it links of london rings sale to look, but no one will have one exactly like it. links of london necklaces sale Unique diamond jewelry does not have to be gaudy, but many people think gaudy is gorgeous.