As I've mentioned before we were on a tight budget for my sister's wedding last year (I think all in we spent just under 12k for everything) and I knew going in that food was going to be the biggest cost. We had about 75 guests and if we wanted to do a sit down dinner we were looking at around 90-100 dollars per person, excluding tables, cutlery, tablecloths, flowers, etc... Clearly that wasn't going to work.
Even before getting quotes on the sit down dinner I was really pushing for a rolling menu, which is basically passed hors d'oeuvres, strictly because I have yet to have a great dinner at a wedding. Yes, they are always fine, but something is always cold or rubbery and for us vegetarians the options are usually pretty slim. It always pains me because you know how much the couple invested and if you were to spend over $100 per person on food only at a restaurant, you know you would be getting a killer meal. Also, in this case we knew that the venue was going to be so incredible and we really wanted people to feel like they could walk around and mingle rather than being stuck at a table. Not all the guests knew each other, as the groom's family as local and the bride's is from California, so we thought this would be a great opportunity for everyone to spend some time together- there is nothing like a few drinks to break the ice!
Once we were sold on the idea of a rolling menu we contacted Tim S. Hopkins Catering which came highly recommended from a friend and they planned the menu with my sister. My sister only eats fish, and her husband is very much a meat and potatoes guy so together hey came up with a menu that would appeal to all tastes. The wedding was held on the North Shore in Massachusetts, which is a bit of a drive from Boston and my main concern was people drinking and driving without getting enough to eat. I had the idea to do meat and veggie sliders at the end of the night with a side of fries, to try make sure that people had enough food before they drove. This was absolutely our biggest concern in planning the event and due to that we choose to have the wedding begin early, around 3pm, and end at 8pm because we all know that day drinking differs dramatically from middle of the night drinking. (Also, I number of guests shared a party bus or got a room at a nearby hotel). We really wanted to make sure that people would have time to get dinner locally before driving back, if they were still hungry. Well, it turns out we had more than enough food and when you add in the pizza we got for the kids there was even a ton left over!
The entire night people kept remarking on how wonderful the food was, and how happy they were that they didn't have to sit down for dinner. Guests were able to eat at the beach, while playing boccie, while dancing... it really was perfect and it was exactly what we had envisioned. Even my dad and husband, who had given us such a hard time about not having a "real" dinner, admitted that this was so much better and both kept remarking on how full they were. That, my friends, is success!
I cannot say enough wonderful things about the caterer we chose. The food was insanely good, their service was impeccable, and the clean up was remarkable. They were even able to do the impossible- keep me on time! All in with food, tables and chairs we paid about 60 dollars a head which meant we had an additional 3k to spend on everything else! Considering that was 1/4 of our overall budget, I'd say we did good! Like really, really good.
Below are a few snaps from the passed apps. As you can see Gray really enjoyed sampling everything.
Since I'm talking about food, I have to share with you all a recipe that I tried out last night that was so easy and so good, you can bet this is going to be part of our spring / summer dinner rotation! We had it as a side with fish tacos but you could easily bring it to a barbecue or brunch. It looks very impressive and takes about 5 minutes to make!
Ingredients (serves 6):
- 2 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 bunch cilantro leaves with tender stems, cut into 2 inches pieces
- 4 celery stalks, thinly sliced on a diagonal
- 2 small cucumbers or 1/2 large, thinly sliced
- 6 scallions, thinly sliced on a diagonal
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
Whisk vinegar, oil, soy sauce, sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes in a large bowl. Add cilantro, celery, cucumbers, and scallions. Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Salad can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover and chill.
(adapted from Bon Appétit)