Weddings are becoming smaller than ever these days and as a result, we’re seeing more and more couples take on the catering element themselves. Handling the food for a 250-person wedding on your own might be pretty crazy, but food for 10 people? That’s fairly doable if you put a detailed plan together and set your expectations accordingly.
“These days, less is more,” says planner Elizabeth Wexler, who has been working with clients on their micro weddings during COVID. “My overall advice: Plan ahead, keep the cooking team small, divide, and conquer.”
Meet the Expert
Elizabeth Wexler is the founder of Emlan Events, a New York-based wedding and event consulting company. She has a decade of experience in the events industry.
Whether you’re planning on cooking all the food yourself or coordinating directly with the foodservice team, here is a guide with everything you need to know, from pros and cons to the cost.
The Pros and Cons
Cait Goodman did all of the food for her Brooklyn celebration with her husband Nate, who works in the food industry. “Our dessert was less than ideal because I’m not great at making desserts and my sister, a former pastry chef who was going to make it wasn’t able to at the last minute—two days before the dinner,” she says. “If I could do it again, I would have ordered a dessert from my favorite bakery or simplified.”
- Catering your own wedding can be really fun and rewarding! “It will definitely be memorable cooking with your family,” says Wexler. “Perhaps you cook family recipes—how special is that? Create a menu of foods that bring back childhood and fond memories.”
- It’s a sign of love for your guests. “Food is how we show love in my family so it felt really special to cater and serve our wedding dinner,” Goodman explains. “To look my loved ones in the eye as I handed them a beautiful plate of food that I planned and prepared was the best experience. Totally worth all the effort.”
- Less risk in terms of COVID. “When planning any event during these times, we have to be careful with the number of people we surround ourselves with,” says Wexler. “Catering your own wedding will help limit the number of people at your venue. Less staff and vendors mean less opportunity for exposure.”
- It is a cost-effective option. If you plan and budget accordingly, you can save a lot of money on the food at your wedding—think thousands of dollars!
- It’s a lot of work. The stress (and amount of time and work) of catering your own wedding just might not be worth the amount of money you are saving. “It’s tons of work,” admits Wexler. “Who wants to be working leading up to their wedding? You deserve to relax and enjoy every moment of your wedding!”
- Poor planning could lead to high food costs. If you don’t plan accordingly, you might not end up saving much money at