TME Tips: 5 Things You Should NEVER DIY- Part Two: The Food

Today we're continuing our exploration of the things you should NEVER DIY.  Last week, we covered The Flowers.  This week, we're covering one of my favorite things about any party- The Food!  Want to add a little bit of your own spice to the menu?  There are ways you can, but read on to discover why tackling the whole deal yourself is a big fat no-no.Number Two - Your wedding day menu.If you've been around awhile, you know I love to eat.  I also love to cook!  From haute cuisine, to comfort food, wedding menus vary as much as the couples getting married.  But as a newly engaged bride, you're liable to suffer from a bit of sticker shock while shopping for your nuptial meal.  Catering can be pricy- but this is one biggie you do NOT want to tackle on your own.  Picture this: You just got your first round of menus and quotes from local caterers... You're about to pass out.  There is no WAY that should cost $x... it just can't!  Hmmm.. In your family, your mom is the BEST cook. You can't imagine getting married without everyone you know experiencing her signature arroz con pollo.  And your aunt makes a baked mac and cheese that is to DIE for.  And wait!  Your future mother in law bakes a German chocolate cake that has everyone talking for weeks.  You'd just LOVE to have these dishes featured as a part of your big day- now to figure out how to talk them into (I mean) ask them to provide their services... or, maybe you can try that great appetizer recipe that went over so well last New Year's Eve... or maybe...

Just hold it right there! Unless you've got a caterer in the family,* you're looking at a ton of red flags!  Has your mom ever made a meal (or even a side dish) for 100+ guests?  The logistics are very different in cooking for any large group- there's the actual food prep, the cooking, and the storage it takes to deliver a tasty, hot, and SAFE meal.  There's refrigeration, reheating, and dealing with leftovers.  It's a really good idea to not risk food poisoning for your guests.  Have you considered the shopping?  That's a lot of chicken. Or macaroni. And flour.  And have you thought about how it's getting there? (here's a hint- it can't wait in the limo while you're getting your hair done.)  Who's heating it up?  Who's cleaning it up and taking it back home with them?  Many halls that do allow outside catering have clauses in their contracts about insurance coverage- and some don't allow self catering.  With most banquet halls, it's not even an option.  Even if you're having an at home wedding, a guest list of a certain size does tend to be prohibitive.

Also to consider - does your mom, aunt, mother in law *really* want to be cooking the night before the wedding?  A wedding is very much a family experience- other family  members are going through their own emotions, and would probably welcome a time to relax and reminisce as opposed to stressing over whether the roux is coming out right!

*A Note- if you DO have a caterer in the family, and you'd like them to cater the wedding, by all means, ask them - but offer to pay them for their services! Everyone will be happier in the end!

Now I'm not saying you shouldn't look to the menu or your heritage to bring yourself into your big day. There are a bunch of ways you can do that and still save money.  What you can do: To save money, consider cutting courses completely.  Or simply, ask your caterer or hall what they CAN do for you within your budget.  You might just be surprised. Ask the caterer or chef if they can create a dish that hearkens back to your culture- or even use the recipe of a dish one you'd love a family member to make. Have your family member make that special dish, but serve it at a pre- or post- wedding celebration.  Think, engagement party, rehearsal dinner, post wedding brunch, couples' showers. If you want to have something homemade, maybe consider something easy- like brownies, cookies or muffins. Hand wrap them and give them out as favors.  That can become a fun pre-wedding bonding moment with your bridesmaids- a few nights before the wedding.

Another option: consider an ultra-intimate at home wedding.  You, your fiance, parents, siblings and very, very closest friends- with 30 guests tops, you can definitely have all the home cooked goodness your heart desires!  I'd still call a caterer though~ <3

Keep Celebrating and Happy Planning!