Outdoor Wedding Catering Ideas and Tips
Here at Morris House Hotel, we host beautiful weddings in our outdoor garden and we have in-house wedding planners and event planners that assist couples with every detail. However, this article details ideas and tips for hosting a wedding in the great outdoors, but by organizing it yourself! Let’s start by saying that outdoor weddings are beautiful. If you’ve decided to have your wedding outside, you now have to decide whether or not to go with professional catering or to do it DIY style. Many couples prefer to leave it to the professionals, while many others prefer to do it DIY style. However, there are pros and cons to both, so in the end it all boils down to what feels right for you.
Choosing a Professional Caterer
The pros to having your wedding professionally catered are many, from not having to worry about the actual preparation of the food (just helping to come up with the menu ideas can be hard enough as it is for future newlyweds!), to having your food served to you and your guests by professional servers, and even to having professionals that are able to protect the food from an insect invasion, and last but certainly not least, to the much dreaded clean up.
Who wants to clean up after their own wedding? That’s where paying someone else can really come in handy. The cons to professional wedding caterers would be well, the cost. That’s about the only con we can come up with when it comes to hiring a professional caterer.
DIY Style Wedding Catering
The pros to catering an outdoor wedding DIY-style are the savings from not having to pay a professional. Catering a DIY wedding can also be a lot of fun for the bride, groom and wedding guests, depending on the creativity that goes into the planning, and the type of people involved! Of course the bride and groom don’t have to help clean up! That’s what family and friends are for! As far as protecting and keeping your food at proper temperatures, you can do that with the right tools.
The cons come in the form of a large amount of time added to wedding planning. When a professional caterer takes over these tasks, they have a process down having created and implemented it hundreds if not thousands of times before. So reinventing the wheel is a major con!
Food Planning Options and Ideas:
- Buffet – A buffet is a great idea for both DIY wedding catering and professional catering. With a buffet your guests are able to help themselves, saving the need for servers. With some creativity this can be both elegant, or fun and simple. Some popular outdoor summer wedding catering ideas are barbecue foods with salads, corn on the cob, fruit kabobs, fresh pineapple, etc.; cold buffets with cold cuts, rolls, breads, pickles, different dressings, etc. Hot buffets are also possible with the right equipment to keep the food hot and fresh. Always remember to make sure all of your food and drinks are kept at the correct and proper temperatures to avoid food borne illness.
- Sit Down Catering – This is a more formal option. You’ll want your menu to include several courses, with two main courses for your guests. When planning a sit down, you should also take into consideration whether or not any of your guests happen to be vegetarians or have any special dietary requirements. An efficient, courteous and friendly wait staff is also important for your special day.
- Finger Foods – Finger foods can be great as an appetizer and other courses of your meal as well! Finger foods are a popular choice at weddings. Some popular finger foods for wedding receptions include: Sandwiches (which we already mentioned in the buffet section), miniature tortilla wraps, bagels, mini quiches, miniature hot dogs and sliders with your choice of gourmet toppings, different types of kabobs, vegetables with dips, the list is endless.
- Drinks – Drinks can vary depending on whether you’re serving non-alcohol, or a combination of alcohol and non-alcohol beverages for your guests. You don’t necessarily have to serve a full complete bar. Some people choose to serve a little of everything, but it really depends on your budget. You can serve wine, beer, or have a full bar. A few particular favorite alcoholic beverages are flavored seltzer-punch mixed with seltzer is a great drink for any party, fruit drinks, water, soda – caffeinated or non-caffeinated, and you can even serve milk!
Do What Makes You Happiest!
At the end of the day, if you choose to go down this path of organizing an outdoor wedding yourself, hiring a professional caterer, or going the more traditional route of choosing a venue with an events coordinator, our best advice is to do whatever makes you happy. Of course, here at the Morris House, we offer you the best of both worlds with our fantastic, unique, outdoor wedding venue in center city Philadelphia, and our seasoned culinary and events management team who will make sure you have nothing to worry about!