Wedding reception on budget, need help with menu

Joined Dec 25, 2006
Ok... first things first... if you can make me come off as a "cheap caterer" then im glad, as its my own wedding, and its my own darn money lol!

also in the news, im out of a job (although there were some nice benefits in my payout i was not aware of... shoulda read my contract a little closer)

anywho... money is now tight, ive got 3 months before the wedding, im doin it for myself plus the (pre-invite stage so this number may vary) 140 guests.

when i say money is tight, im aiming for around £100 (or $150ish for you yanks)

great thing about the two families... no one is expecting much, its a pub family if you get my gist... they like to go to the pub rather than a posh restaurant.

i cant afford the golden caviar to go on the roasted new potatoes... but thats fine they wouldnt eat it... see where im coming from?

so... as this is out of my experience range... yes even though my last job involved a sit down dinner plus dessert at £1.70 a head... but i have no economy of scale and the employer isnt giving me £10k a month to cover staff and footing all the overheads (rent, rates, its their building, electricity and equipment) there (hence the cheap price) so.

i need help with a menu... anything you can name... i can probably cook, and i can certainly adjust the menu to suit my abilities.

the reception starts at 6pm (cant move it back the wedding isnt until 4pm) so im gonna be expected to provide a decent amount of food, but it wont be a sit down dinner.

im thinking of a basic menu outline as follows (need you lot to chime in with details or suggestions)

small sandwiches (think bread cut into 4 triangular sandwiches) with around 5 different fillings (have to be made that morning or day before really) probably 2 per person

some kind of salad, perhaps seperated into its components with dips and sauces provided, one small bowl (about a single handful) per person

some cold pasta dishes, a tomato+basil italian style and a chicken, bacon, sweetcorn, cheese and a white sauce one. one small bowl (about a single handful per person)

the only dish im thinking hot, meatballs with a homemade sauce, throw in some skewers, bound to be a winner, 3 or 4 per person (small meatballs) i think ive got a chaffing dish around here (or could get my hands on one)

cheese sticks, bread sticks, sliced baguettes, cold meats with dips (one platter of each say 20 pieces of meat plus appropriate size dip, 3 or 4 meats)

pork pies, scotch eggs, hard boiled eggs (in rose marie sauce maybe, i like that so... everyone else must lol), cheese and pineapple sticks,

also a soup of some kind (im sure ill have a soup kettle somewhere... not sure about the plug socket situation at venue, must remember to have a look to be sure... can you do soup in a chaffing dish lol?

as for dessert, im not sure wether to go down the "wedding cake only" category but thinking of the size of the cake ive got and the penchence of the 2 families for puddings lol,

maybe some extra sponge cakes maybe a trifle or two (or 6) and then little finger treats, sweet biscuits, chocolate fingers, jam/chocolate sponge rolls.

im not sure i can do above for £100 but thats my target... im gonna head on over to my calculator and work out for 140 people

then hope 135 dont turn up (lol jk)

who knows... maybe ill get a better paid job before then (i hope i do... lol minimum wage sucks)
Joined Aug 11, 2000
That's a whole lot of different foods for 140 people @ DINNER time for $150.

Consider doing a straight forward dinner, not as much labor involved and will cost much less in the long run.  Easier for others to warm and're going to be busy.

Aps: scotch eggs would work, maybe some chicken liver pate or brunschweiger, asparagus wrapped with proscuitto
Crostini with white bean dip.

chicken mirabelle or similar dish, price out thighs vs whole chicken.....thighs are better and cheaper here for this dish.
starch, rice is inexspensive
Veg platter or green veg
Green Salad, vinagrette
rolls butter

Wedding Cake, puddings, whathave you.  
Easy enough.....cost should be in line or darn close....cut out the scotch eggs if you need to reduce cost, go for deviled eggs instead.
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Joined Aug 11, 2000
Please chime in other caterers with suggestions for what appears to be a rock bottom, self cooked 140 person reception @ dinner time in early summer.

appears to be June from this post.  Not sure what's in season where you're you have any idea what'll be plentiful and cheap then?
Joined Apr 3, 2010
[h3]  In the Eighties I taught a class in how to feed a family of 4 for $2.00. Naturally I can no longer do this today and you can't give all the items for that buffet for $150.00   MISSION IMPOSSIBLE[/h3]
Joined Dec 25, 2006
i know, i know, zombie post

just to let you know how it went down

ok so the budget was extended to $200 dollars and the guest list reduced to around 70

there was plenty to go around but it was hella hot in a suit
Joined Dec 25, 2006
Ok so i scrapped the hot food, so no soup, no hot meatballs or skewers.

Ran up a hundred or so sandwiches, pork pies, crisps, trifle, scotch eggs, breadsticks, little biscuits, cakes etc

the kinda stuff you put out at a kids party basically...

it suddenly occured to me that it was my wedding and frankly, as long as no one went hungry, its all gravy so it was very simple.

i think anyway... it was a year ago and by that point i was tired so... lol
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