Wedding Reception – Heavy Hors D’Oeuvres for 225

by admin on January 14, 2010

Time: Wedding 1:00 pm, reception immediately following at church

Number prepared for: 225
Actual number in attendance: 200
Coordinator: Jeanne


Swedish meatballs
Shaved turkey/ham/roast beef on snowflake rolls
Vegetable crudite
Fruit and cheese platters with dip
Cheese balls and crackers
Mini sweets

Total Number of volunteers for this particular wedding:

* Pre wedding food prep – 7
* Food service the day of wedding and during reception – 9
* Clean up – 6

Note: This totals 22 people but in viewing the specific division of labor for each food item below, you will notice that many people are doing multiple tasks. A grand total of 13 people volunteered to help with this wedding reception.

Buffet Table Set Up

The buffet table consists of 2 8-foot long tables, 1 48-inch round table, 1 milk crate, 2 cinder blocks and 2 rectangular Rubbermaid containers measuring about 8X12X3 inches high. The round table went in the center of the two longer tables and a milk crate placed in the center. Cinder blocks were put on both sides as well as the Rubbermaid containers to achieve a cascading effect on both sides of the middle.

The milk crate nicely elevates the floral centerpiece creating an impression that the centerpiece is larger than it really is. Even if you do not do this three tiered cascade effect, you should still elevate individual trays to be a different levels from each other. Simply placing all trays on the table is boring.

This is how the buffet table ends up looking just prior to the reception. To the far left are the plates placed in two stacks. You want people to go down both sides of the buffet table. The chafing dish with Swedish meatballs is next followed by three trays of cheese balls and crackers. The fruit tiers cascade down from the centerpiece on one side and vegetable crudite cascades down the other. The nuts are in crystal bowls on both sides of the floral display. After the vegetable crudite are two 3-level tiers of mini sweets followed by a large basket of rolls and a tray of deli meats and cheeses. Condiments such as salt, pepper, mayonnaise and mustard are last. Napkins and any utensils would be placed at the end of the buffet so that guests are not fumbling with them while serving themselves food.

Swedish Meatballs

Equipment needed:

* chafer slotted serving spoons
* extra chafer pan to rotate in fresh, hot meatballs on buffet
* 2 18-quart electric roasters from Sam’s
* Ziplock baggies

Total Quantities Purchased/Prepared:

* 5 5-lb bags of meatballs from Sam’s
* 12 cans condensed cream of chicken soup
* 1/2 gallon milk
* 8 cups dairy sour cream (64 oz.)

Swedish Meatball sauce recipe

1. Purchase meatballs from Sam’s.
2. Make sauce and add to frozen meatballs, repackage meatballs in ziplock baggies before the wedding and freeze. Sauce will be very thick at this point.
3. Defrost meatballs the day before wedding, bring to church either day before or morning of wedding. Or you could bring to reception site still frozen and using this to your advantage when packing the coolers with items that need to stay cool but not frozen. Be forewarned though that it takes *hours* for these meatballs to thaw so you will need to place them in the 18-quart roasters promptly upon arrival at reception site. In this situation, it took 2 hours of attentiveness to the meatballs before they were ready for serving. One person was assigned the job of breaking apart the meatballs, adding water to the sauce to thin it (and you will use about 4 cups+ of water for this but add by cupfuls at first) and keeping them stirred so they heated evenly and without burning. The electric roasters must be watched because they can burn food quickly..

Leftover Quantities: About 3.5 pounds, perfect quantity

Deli Meats on Snowflake rolls :

Equipment needed:

* large basket large tray (18″ X 24″)
* small serving forks (small ice tongs work great to pick up shaved meats!)
* condiment knives
* condiment bowls

Total Quantities:

* 10 lbs. turkey
* 10 lbs. roast beef
* 10 lbs. ham
* 5 lbs. Swiss cheese
* 5 lbs. American cheese
* 350 small snowflake rolls (22 dozen)
* Mustard – 1 pint
* Mayo – 1 quart

1. Purchase shaved meats, cheese, rolls, condiments from grocery store. You should speak with the deli manager a week in advance and arrange to have everything prepared in advance for your pick-up the evening or morning of the wedding.
2. Arrange for someone to slice rolls during or before reception and to tidy up the condiment area periodically.

Leftover Quantities: 7 dozen rolls, half of all deli meats and cheeses. If you have another meat item on your buffet , you should decrease the amount of deli meats you need to serve. In this case, the meatballs filled people up and the position of the deli sandwiches was probably a factor as well. Rather than being at the head of the buffet table, we had them situated at the end. Perhaps more of the deli sandwiches would have been eaten and less of the meatballs if we had had the two items side by side.

Vegetable Crudite :

Equipment needed:

* 3 large round deli trays dip bowl – in the wedding, we used a large, hollowed out cabbage
* small spoons for serving dip

Total quantities:

* 6 heads of greenleaf lettuce
* 10 cucumbers
* 2 lbs. red and yellow peppers
* 2 green peppers
* 10 lbs. Baby carrots
* 6 lbs broccoli
* 5 lbs. Celery Hearts
* 2 lbs (4 quarts). Cherry tomatoes
* 2.5 quarts of Dip, used 5 jars of Marzetti’s Ranch Dressing
*1 cabbage
* 1 small bag of radishes, cut into roses

1. Purchase broccoli, carrots, celery from Sam’s, wash, bring to church – Amy
2. Purchase peppers (red, yellow) from grocery store and prepare into strips, bring to church morning of wedding – Judith
3. Purchase cucumbers from grocery store and prepare by slicing, bring to church morning of wedding – Rachel
4. Purchase and make dip – Rhonda
5. Help making trays morning of wedding – Kathy, Rhonda, Connie, Jenny, Jeanne

Wash lettuce, remove leaves and place leaves on platter radiating out from the center. Be sure to overlap the edge of the trays by at least an inch. Arrange your vegetables in groups on the platter. I try to seperate celery and broccoli because their shades of green can be similar. The colored pepper strips make nice dividers between vegetable groups. Don’t be afraid to abundantly mound the vegetables. Be sure to leave a space for your dip container to be placed. If you get really creative or have time, a small pumpkin, head of lettuce or any round large vegetable can be hollowed out for a dip receptacle. Cover entire platter with damp but not dripping wet paper towels, cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator til needed. These can be done the night before the wedding.

We made a dip bowl for this wedding by carving out a head of cabbage. Remove the largest outside leaves and simply cut out and remove a center portion. Reattach the large leaves using toothpicks and place on your tray.

Leftover Quantities: Too much broccoli, go with 3 lbs next time. Very little leftover of other items.

Fruit and cheese cubes

Equipment needed:

*3 large, round deli trays
*bowls for dip – we used a single, carved honeydew melon in the shape of a basket
*small serving spoons for dip
*2 small cups to hold frilly toothpicks
frilly toothpicks

Total Quantities:

*10 lbs. white grapes
*7 lbs. red grapes
*3.25 lbs strawberries
*4 pineapples
*5 heads greenleaf lettuce
*7.5 lbs total of cheddar, colby and monterey jack cheese cubes
*???fruit dip
*2 honeydew melons for carving

1.Purchase cheese cubes from Sam’s – Jeanne
2.Purchase grapes, strawberries from grocery store, wash – Rhonda
3.Purchase pineapple from grocery store and cut into slices – Jeanne
4.Make fruit dip – Pat
5.Melon carving and display – Jeanne

Leftover Quantities: little leftover

We used two honeydew melons and carved one to look like a swan and the other like a ribboned basket. The swan was placed on the top tier to begin the “cascade” of fruit and cheese down the three tiers. Note that the grapes are placed in abundant clusters around the perimeter of the tray which then keeps the pineapple chunks and strawberries in place. Before placing fruit and cheese on the deli platters, line the trays with leaves from leafy lettuce such as Romaine or Green leaf. Be sure to overlap the edge by at least an inch.

Cheese Balls and crackers

Equipment needed:

*At least five trays, you will have two to three on the buffet but 2 more in the kitchen fully loaded with crackers and cheese so you can quickly refresh the buffet.
*small knives for cheese
*paper doilies to cover trays

Total Quantity Purchased/Prepared:

*3 boxes of Sociables crackers
*5 boxes of Pepperidge Farm crackers
*6 homemade cheeseballs

1.Make cheeseballs – Pat
2.Purchase crackers from grocery store – Pat
3.Arrange crackers/cheeseball on trays – Pat
4.Keep trays full during reception – All ladies

Leftover Quantities: 3/4 of 1 cheeseball and few crackers


Equipment needed:

*shell dish and large crystal bowl
*small spoons for serving

Total Quantity:

*7 lbs mixed nuts

1.Purchase nuts from Sam’s – Jeanne


Equipment needed:

*2 triple level servers

Total Quantity purchased/prepared:

*775 treats consisting of Bon Bons(85), 7 Layer Bars(120), Pecan Tarts(95), Black Bottoms(195), Brownies(160), and Mini Cheesecakes (120). These treats are cut into tiny 1-inch square pieces and placed in tiny paper muffin cups.

1. Dorsey and Dot are buying supplies and preparing Sweets.

Leftover Quantities: There were plenty of treats for all and plenty leftover for a smaller reception the next day.


Equipment needed:

*Punch fountain
*coolers for ice

Total Quantities:

*16 gallons total of punch (based on 8 oz. Per person, 250 people)
*40 lbs. of ice

1.Purchase ginger ale, white grape juice from grocery store – Jeanne
2.Purchase ice (40 lbs+) and bring to church morning of wedding in a cooler – Kim and Anne
3.Keep punch fountain full during reception – Abigail and Jenny

The beverages should always be a separate table from the main buffet but not too far away as to be difficult to find. One problem of this particular wedding which was created by the decorating volunteers and not the catering volunteers was that the punch fountain and table was located in the multi purpose room while the buffet was in the lobby. There were guests who did not figure out that there was something to drink in another room. Traffic flow is very important so think of the flow patterns coming off the main buffet table and where best to situate the beverage table to be easily acessible to guests without creating a traffic jam.

Wedding Cake – How to cut and serve

Click to take you to the “Cutting the Cake”

Clean up

*Help remove leftover foods and trays from buffet table to kitchen –
*Clean punch fountain –
* Clean trays (about 10-12) –
* Clean chafing dish pans (4) –
* Clean misc. items like creamer, dip bowls, utensils –
* Help package leftover food –
* Remove linens from tables –
* Take linens to cleaners/back to rental place
* Clean wedding cake parts and package neatly for return to cake baker
* Empty trash cans
* Vacuum reception area if carpeted
* Mop kitchen floor
*Someone to return all rental items like punch fountains, plates, chafers, etc.

Paper products – Heather will order

* 9″ plates – 1.5 per person (375)
* 6″ plates – 1.5 per person (375)
* 8 oz. Cups – 2 per person (500)
* forks – 1.5 per person (375)
* napkins – 2.5 per person (625)
* frilly toothpicks

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