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Many couples chooses to do catering themselves in order to save costs or make it a more relaxed and personal affair. If this is an alternative, keep in mind the following:
Plan everything carefully beforehand, and include
- The menu
- The timing of when to make the dishes as some foods can be prepared and frozen weeks beforehand... others not!
- How to garnish the dishes. Sticking to the table theme is often the easiest and most effective.
- When must the dishes be served and who will be 'in the back' getting it all ready.
Spread tasks amongst willing relatives and friends. Make a list of people that love cooking and those that would prefer to concentrate on garnishing and side dishes.
Hygiene and health is your most important consideration. Checking the following beforehand will ensure peace of mind and no stress!
- Know your guests allergies and state if nuts were used in recipes.
- Ensure you have enough fridge space to store defrosted and/or cooked items in properly. Make sure to store raw and ready-to-eat foods separately. Ask friends to store the alcohol as food takes first priority.
- Prepare food-groups (meat and salads for example) in separate areas or clean properly after each session. Cover prepared dishes or foods well in airtight containers.
- Ready-to-eat foods, those labeled with 'keep refrigerated' and cooked-to-eat-later foods must be kept cold at all times.
- Serve re-heated foods immediately. Don't reheat more than once.
Wedding (cup) Cakes are very 'now'. Make 1 large one for great impact or a centre piece for each table with the right amount (1 per guest) stacked in a cake-tower.
Crockery, cutlery, napkins and tablecloths, sugar, salt and pepper etc. need to be borrowed, hired or bought. Research properly as it's often cheaper to hire these than buy them. A great idea here is to ask your 3 most dependable female family members or friends to compile a list of things that should not be forgotten - and compare these.
Waiters can be found in any group of teenagers. Ask your friends to organize cousins or younger siblings to help out on the big day - for a small fee! One waitress will do for about 20 guests. They will need a verbal and written list of what they need to do beforehand.
Champagne or wine can be bought on the following calculations: 30% of your guests will drink a white Chardonnay, 30% will drink a cabernet red wine and the rest will be happy with champagne. When that is all on offer, most people will be more than happy. Make sure there is 1 or 2 different fruit juices on offer for the rest. Another way of keeping your guests happy is to state in the invite that champagne, white and red wine will be served but that guests are more than welcome to bring their own favorite drink if they wish.
Flowers can be kept simple and done at a fraction of the cost. A good and gorgeous table setting can be achieved by hiring a lot of tot glasses (one in front of each plate and more spread over the table), each filled with a single flower and some with a little salt and a single candle (the salt makes cleaning wax afterwards easy).