Fabulous DIY Foods For A Wedding Reception
You've made the decision to skip the caterer and make your own foods for the wedding reception -- now it's time to start planning. When you're making a menu keep in mind details such as the number of guests, the location, the time of year, and the time of day. Simple is elegant, so pare down the menu choices. Also consider the space available in the freezer or refrigerator and how many ovens are available. Definitely enlist the help of family and friends in the planning, preparation, and food service. If you feel stressed, take a step back, breathe, and review. This is your special day, so simplify a little more.
Tasty And Inexpensive Appetizers
Try to serve both cold and hot appetizers for a nice variety. Set out plastic serving trays
filled with small bites guests can choose from. Have decorative and inexpensive party picks
for picking up messier foods. Stock up on beverage napkins
and appetizer plates
for guests to eat off of. Try some of these tasty appetizers suggestions:
- Fruit kabobs—prepare ahead of time using bamboo skewers and arrange on trays and cover with plastic. Kabobs are easy for guests to pick up, fruit does not roll off the platter, and they are very colorful. Provide a sweet dip or two for the fruit. Make sure there is a serving spoon in the dip dish.
- Meatballs—Make your own meatballs up to 3 months ahead of the event and freeze. If you partially freeze meatballs on cookie sheets for about 20 minutes they will not stick together in the freezer container or bag. Simmer meatballs in your favorite sauce for about 20 minutes before serving.
- Puff pastry treats—Spinach and artichoke puff pastry appetizers can be made ahead, sliced, and frozen for up to 3 months. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes before the reception. Look for recipes online.
- Cheese and crackers—Variety is the key here. Different cheese choices are fun, but you don’t have to go overboard. Roll a log of goat cheese in chopped herbs or warm up some Brie cheese. Make a platter 2-3 days ahead, arranging different cheese slices on the tray. Wrap tightly in plastic and store in the refrigerator. Add crackers when it's time to serve. Consider a variety of crackers, including Pretzel chips, almond crackers, and melba toast. Add small bunches of green and purple grapes to the platter, as well as thin slices of a tart apple for more visual appeal.
Lighter Meals Can Be Easy And Tasty
Will the reception be held mid-day? This is the perfect time for a lighter meal to keep guests satisfied. Keep it simple, but dress up tables with decorative trays, flowers, centerpieces, and even confetti sprinkles. Napkins.com offers awesome serving trays in our TrendWare collection that add color and style to any table.
- Tea sandwiches are fun to make and so yummy to eat. Add fillings first and then cut off the crust and shape the sandwiches. Fillings can include egg salad, ham and Swiss cheese, cucumber and cream cheese, chicken salad, salmon spread, and more. Make some vegetarian options for those with dietary restrictions. Arrange the sandwiches on tiered cake stands for visual balance.
- Have a selection of fresh, seasonal fruit arranged on trays. Add sprigs of mint or basil leaves for decoration and have a honey and cream cheese dip on the side.
- Set up a coffee and beverage bar. Napkins.com has hot or cold paper cups that are an inexpensive solution and great for coffee or punch. Modern see-through beverage dispensers are so stylish and can be found almost anywhere for a bargain. Add slices of orange or lemon to the dispenser for visual pizzazz.
- Instead of a huge wedding cake, why not try the very-popular dessert bar? Have a wide assortment of sweets arranged at different heights on a serving table. Make one section of the table an ice cream sundae station. The key to success is a wide variety of choices to please all the guests. Try to make tablecovers, trays, and cupcake icing match the colors of your wedding.
Sit Down Meals For A DIY Wedding Reception
The easiest solution is to have a buffet for guests. Solicit the help of family and friends to set up the buffet and attend to trays or warmers that need to be refilled or restocked. A popular wedding trend is food stations, but we suggest you stick with one style or cuisine for simplicity and balance. Here is a sample Italian menu:
- Minestrone Soup--Easy to make in large quantities, healthy, and delicious, serve minestrone soup with freshly ground pepper and parmesan cheese.
- Caprese Salad—Arrange fresh mozzarella, tomato slices, basil, and balsamic vinegar on trays. You could also create caprese salad skewers for a grab-and-go option.
- Lasagna—Look for recipes that you can make ahead and freeze for up to 1 month (must be thawed for 24 hours before cooking). Allow plenty of time for baking, and remember you may need extra ovens. Keep lasagna servings in a warming tray or chafing dish. Be sure to have a vegetarian option.
- Caesar salad--Make dressing the day before and make homemade croutons up to 4 weeks ahead and store in an airtight container. Add dressing just before serving. Mix in cheese and croutons.
- Rolls—These do not have to be warm, but everyone loves whipped butter.
Now put your feet up, relax, and enjoy the moment. Celebrate the day -- congratulations!