Lunch Wedding Reception for 350-400 Guests

by admin on January 17, 2011

Date: September 4, 2009     Ceremony at 11:00am
Reception Location: Church lobby/back of sanctuary immediately after wedding ceremony
Number of Guests: 425 invites, 375 in attendance

Menu and Amounts Purchased/Prepped:

Note:  This blog focuses on non-professional catering by church volunteers, etc. so the amounts indicated are probably not what a catering company would use since they are in the business of providing food on a much larger scale and more frequently.  You WILL have leftovers using these amounts listed below but I’d rather have too much than run out.  I always encourage the mother of the bride that many items on the menu can be frozen for later use or used the next day to feed hungry out of town guests and relatives staying with the family.  Swedish meatballs can be frozen and later served over buttered noodles for dinner.  Strawberries, deli meats and cheeses, all freeze quite well for later use.

Swedish Meatballs
Hot crab dip – 16X recipe  (none left over, btw), Served with Melba Rounds (10 boxes)
Deli Meats on Kaiser Rolls

Turkey – 25 pounds  (Have the meats and cheeses pre-ordered a few weeks ahead for pick up the day before event.  Saves you time.)
Ham   – 25 pounds
American  – 5 pounds
Swiss cheese – 5 pounds
Rolls  – 600  (These were supposed to be mini Kaisers about 2 inches across, grocery bakery made regular sized and there was way too many left over.  I do pre-order these rolls from the grocer bakery a few weeks in advance and pick up either the day before or morning of event.)
Mustard – 1 pint
Mayo – 2 quarts
Dill pickles – 1 gallon

Texas Caviar – 10X recipe
with  Carr Water crackers – 13 boxes

Fruit and Cheese Platters

Cubed cheese – Monterey Jack and Pepper Jack
Grapes – 22 pounds
Bing cherries – 6 pounds
Naval Oranges (served sliced) 2 bags
Plums – 10
Cream cheese dip – 2X recipe

Vegetable Crudite

Greenleaf lettuce – 6 heads
Carrots – 15 pounds
Celery  – 7.5 pounds (6 “bunches” of celery yielded 270 2″ inch pieces of celery)
Broccoli – 9 pounds
Cucumbers – 12 slicing cucs
Peppers – 3 pounds
Grape tomatoes – 3 pounds
2.4 quarts Marzetti Ranch Dip

Chocolate Fountain – Used a chocolate fountain rental company that brings fountain, sets it up, provides basics like pretzel rods and marshmallows and skewers, staffs it with an attendant  and then takes it away and cleans it.

Strawberries – 4 cases
Bananas  – 1 case
Nutter Butter cookies – 7 packages
Oreo cookies – 7 packages
Maraschino cherries – 1/2 gallon jar from Sam’s
Marshmallows
Pretzel rods
Sugar Wafers – 20 Murray brand packages
Cream Puffs – 4 boxes from Sam’s (not enough)

Beverages
Ice Water
Peach Tea
Lemonade
Ice – 90 pounds minimum

Paper Products
9″ plates – 450
6″ plates – 450
8 ounce cups – 600
Forks – 450
Napkins – 750
Frilly toothpicks

Friday Prep – 4 People

1. Purchase strawberries, grapes, bananas.
2. Wash grapes and snip into small clusters.
3. Make Swedish meatball sauce.
4. Slice cheese (American and Swiss) in half slices.
5. Cube Monterey Jack Cheese blocks.
6. Wash broccoli, celery, carrots, peppers, grape tomatoes. (Unless packaging says they have been pre-washed and are ready to eat.)
7. Slice green peppers into strips.
8. Broccoli into florets
9. Make fluff dip.
10. Oranges, cucs sliced.
11. Celery cut into sticks.
12. Make crab dip and refrigerate.
13. Make Texas Caviar (can actually be made a day earlier which is what we did).

The Friday Prep Crew!

Saturday Morning Prep and Servers – 6 people (Servers wore white button down shirts, black pants or skirts and black apron)

1. Wash strawberries and mound on white trays.
2. Make dill dip
3. Arrange fruit on 4 white platters.
4. Arrange veggies on 4 white platters.
5. Arrange ham, turkey and Am. and Swiss cheeses on poly trays.
6. Prep lemonade syrup into 2 1-gallon pitchers.
7. Arrange cubed cheese on 4 platters.
8. Mustard and Mayo into ice tea glasses (4 total)
9. Chocolate fountain items into bowls, covered and on buffet (except creme puffs, get them in bowl and store in fridge)
10. Put crab dip into 2 round chafer pans in oven at 10:30 am.
11. Add sauce to meatballs, into chafer pans (3 of them) and in oven at 10:00 am.
12. Crackers for crab dip on 23″ round platters.
13. Crackers on other platters.
14. Set up chafers with water and light sterno at 10:45 am.

Posted “Do Lists”, timelines and recipes for Friday and Saturday helpers and servers.


Beverages and Chocolate Fountain were located in the church lobby.  This “cloverleaf” of round tables is my favorite configuration for serving beverages to hundreds of people in this facility.

There were two identical buffet tables on opposite corners of the rear of the sanctuary.   About 45 minutes into the reception, the servers began consolidating the two tables into one after the majority of guests had gone through the buffets once.  The order of food presentation on the buffet table was:

Plates
Basket of rolls
Tri-level server with meats on two trays and cheese on third
2 goblets with mustard and mayonnaise
Texas Caviar and crackers
2 Trays of vegetable crudite (Dill pickles were on these platters)
Centerpiece (trays of cubed cheese on both sides)
2 trays of fruit crudite
Hot crab dip
Swedish meatballs
Napkins

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