Speaking Of Weddings, How Much Can I Do Myself?

Decorating By Alison01 Updated 15 Mar 2009 , 6:40am by margaretb

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Alison01 Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 3:32am
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My fiance and I are getting married on August 1st! I want to do everything myself for the reception!! I want to do the cake, dessert bar, and help with the rest of the food. I will be off all summer since I'm teaching now, so I thought I could make some things and freeze them. My fiance doesn't like the idea of me doing this much. He doesn't want me making the cake (says I'll be too stressed) and definitely doesn't want me freezing anything. I hate to pay someone to make the cake, though. But I don't want to be stressed either! Can I possibly do all this myself, or do I just need to back off and pay someone!

20 replies
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Deb_ Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 3:43am
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Well, I think your fiance' is a smart guy. Do you want to spend your wedding day running around and worrying about things getting done? Or do you want to be able to go get your hair and nails done, relax and enjoy one of the most important days of your life.

I vote for "back off and pay someone" to do it........and I don't think you'll regret it.

Congratulations by the way, how exciting for you! icon_smile.gif

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Alison01 Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 3:57am
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Thank you for a quick response! I guess I'm just used to being the one that bakes and cooks and I love to hear comments on the food that I made! I would miss that part of it!! Maybe I need to just need to suck that up and start looking for a baker and caterer!

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indydebi Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 3:59am
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caterer talking here .....

what do you mean by "rest of the food"? any hot foods?

Food is a pretty time sensitive thing. This ain't your gramma's house at thanksgiving where you slap everything on the table 10 minutes before you eat.

When we do a wedding, we start cooking at least 3 hours prior to our scheduled departure time. This is when you'll be getting your hair done, yoru nails done, etc.

We arrive one hour before the reception starts to get everything set up. This includes keeping the hot foods hot, the cold foods cold, unloading a van FULL of food and equipment, etc. This is when you'll probably be at the church getting ready to be married.

When the guests arrive, we're watching the tables and refilling the appetizers and snacks for the guests (this is while the bride and groom are getting photos taken).

When the bride and groom arrive, we open the hot buffet and refill the pans as needed. (this is when you are eating and visiting with your guests).

When everyone is done eating, we're clearing tables and cleaning up the food tables area (this is when you are doing the garter toss, the first dance and having a good time with your guests.

My point is .... when are you going to have TIME to do "the other food"? icon_confused.gif

Catering ... be it hot foods or dessert tables ... is hard, hot, heavy work. You don't want to be a stressed out sweaty mess on wedding day.

This is your wedding day. Enjoy it. Don't work it.

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Deb_ Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 4:04am
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Originally Posted by Alison01

Thank you for a quick response! I guess I'm just used to being the one that bakes and cooks and I love to hear comments on the food that I made! I would miss that part of it!! Maybe I need to just need to suck that up and start looking for a baker and caterer!

LOL.....we're all alike in the comment dept. Instead of complementing your food and cake they'll be telling you how beautiful you look, so it's all good.
You'll be getting plenty of complements.

Listen to debi, she means it when she says you'll be stressed and sweaty!

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Alison01 Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 2:02pm
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thanks for putting that into perspective for me debi! We are having a cocktail type reception. Mainly finger foods. I do have friends and other family members that have volunteered to help with getting the food set up and all that. I wanted to do the dessert bar as the favors for the wedding and they could take desserts home (cookies, brownies, etc). I'm now thinking that I could handle that part (which could be done a couple days before) and let others handle the rest. I guess I need to focus on getting pretty for one day in my life instead of the food!!

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margaretb Posted 8 Mar 2009 , 1:42am
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I did my own cake for my wedding. You just have to make sure that there is someplace where it can be stored. I baked a couple days before and decorated it the day before and where we had our reception there was a walk in cooler where I could leave it until the next day. The problem was that the cake took longer than I had planned, but I didn't want to leave halfways through decorating it, and much to my embarrassment most of the set up was already done in the hall before I got there. I really should have been there helping more. Still, I would do my cake again (but I would do a better job now!). I would recommend that you do any flowers etc WAY ahead of time - do gumpaste or royal icing or whatever. I should also say that I used a stand where each cake has its own place and they are at three different levels. I don't think I would have been able to do it if the cake had required any additional work to set it up (piping or adding anything).

I think if you are doing a cocktail reception for a small wedding, you could manage. But it really will take away from your big day, and there will be things that you don't expect -- things that take too long or something was forgotten or messed up. I would say only do things that you will be finished with the day before (so if you are making the finger foods yourself, fine, as long as someone else will be heating and serving etc on the day). You do not want to have jobs to do on your actual wedding day. And also, you do not want to stay up all night before your wedding because you planned to do too much yourself and ran out of time!!

I am giving you encouragement in case your financial situation is such that you HAVE to do it yourself. However, if you can afford to hire it out, that will really be much easier on you and your family in the long run (after all, SOMEBODY has to do the serving, and that means they will not be really enjoying the wedding).

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Alison01 Posted 8 Mar 2009 , 4:26am
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thanks, Margaret! It's good to hear from someone who did their cake for their wedding and actually would do it again. I had actually thought about doing a cake with the three levels. That would be much simpler! I do have a tight budget so I'm cutting costs wherever I can. I hate to know I'm paying someone 500 dollars (or whatever price) when I can do it myself...if I do hire someone I might be a "cheap bride" lol!

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KitchenKat Posted 8 Mar 2009 , 4:42am
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Congratulations on you coming wedding!

Just echoing what everyone said, doing cake and a dessert bar and helping with the rest of the food sounds like you're taking on too much. I can understand where you're coming from though. You want to cut costs as well as be involved in the food so that things come out to your liking. I'm the same too. I think hot food is too much for a bride to handle but a cake is defintely doable and a dessert bar is feasible too. Just ned to plan, plan, plan and make as much as possible ahead way in advance.

I didn't make my own wedding cake but I did make my cousin's wedding cake in which I was the Matron of Honor and my little boy was a ring bearer. (I even flew in from another country for his wedding but that's another story.) I finished the cake on the eve of the wedding and delivered it to the reception site that same night. Someone from the bride's family was there to oversee set-up on the morning of the wedding. It worked out beautifully because I didn't have to fuss over the cake on the day itself. It was a lot of work and quite stressful but it was worth it.

Good luck and keep us posted

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-K8memphis Posted 8 Mar 2009 , 5:05am
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Well this is for a bit bigger cake but still...will give you an idea of what you might be up against.


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__Jamie__ Posted 8 Mar 2009 , 5:30am
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OMG....that link almost froze my computer. That's pretty impressive, done from home. Wow.

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__Jamie__ Posted 8 Mar 2009 , 5:32am
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Oh...that's you K8! I just realized it! Dang! Way to go! What a lot of work....sheesh!

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KitchenKat Posted 8 Mar 2009 , 5:46am
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Wow Kate! That's amazing! I wanna be just like you when I grow up! thumbs_up.gif

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pugmama1 Posted 8 Mar 2009 , 6:04am
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I think part of this depends on your experience. Have you done many cakes? Will your design be simple so that it won't take an excessive amount of time? Your fiance is telling you something here. Sounds like he wants a bride that can focus on that special day with him and not worrying about how many people loved the cake. Remember, when people get stressed they get cranky and tired and weepy. Whatever you decide I hope your wedding is lovely and memorable.

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Bluehue Posted 8 Mar 2009 , 6:23am
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Originally Posted by Alison01

I guess I'm just used to being the one that bakes and cooks and I love to hear comments on the food that I made! I would miss that part of it!! icon_surprised.gificon_surprised.gif I can't beleive what i am reading - i would of thought that you would rather be with your new Husband and absorbe all that your wedding day brings - and not even thinking about missing out of cooking skill compliments.
The time will just fly by and you will miss so much of the day.
And what pray tell would your new DH be doing whilst you are seeing to all the food icon_confused.gif I think you really have to start taking his feelings into consideration.
Gawdddd, just keep reading what Deb said over and over and then realise you can't do the catering and the bride thing.
More to the point - why would you want too?
Just for praise - surely not.

Your DH to be is one smart cookie - and wants a wedding day WITH you - not a waitress filling in as a bride.

I know my words sound harsh - but surely the day is about you as a bride - not your kitchen skills.

Maybe I need to just need to suck that up and start looking for a baker and caterer!
yaaahoooo, now you are talking like a bride to be.

I know i would feel embarressed if i was standing at a wedding and the bride came up with a platter in her hand - gee, it would make me feel like running and putting a pinny on and start with the washing up - NOT.

Hope you day is filled with joy and you look back and remember everything about the day - and let your angles do the rest.
Your guests will appreiciate the day more - truely.
Oh and so will your new DH.


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HerBoudoir Posted 8 Mar 2009 , 1:02pm
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If you have a big freezer, there's a lot you can do ahead of time. Brownies can be baked then frozen (I wouldn't cut them). Cookie dough can be made ahead and frozen (some can be baked but I think it works better to bake fresh for cookies). Cake layers can be baked and frozen. Rather than have to rush around baking AND decorating everything the week of, that will give you some extra time.

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SpoonfulofSugar Posted 8 Mar 2009 , 1:44pm
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I'm so glad that I didn't do anything on my wedding day except relax and have a good time....the days right before can be very stressful and to have the added stress of making the food and cake could be way too much....you don't want that to be your memory. maybe consider making some cookie favors or something like that if you really want to make something and then hire a caterer and baker. After doing a wedding cake I'm so wiped out after being up late to finish it etc...so I can't imagine that on top of the last minute details of my own wedding....you want to enjoy the day and not be stressed. Good luck with whatever you do!!! and Congratulations!

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majka_ze Posted 8 Mar 2009 , 2:52pm
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If you are set on making the cake, buffet and so on - let step back and think:
How many people will be there? What time is the ceremony and reception (the times here vary).
I don't see as many problems with baking and cooking itself as with all the work on wedding day.
I agree with all the others - you want to leave your wedding day free.

If you really do it yourself:
Can you get friend/friends or family member you trust to arrange the cake, set the dessert bar ...? It would be work for them and you need to stress this - this is no fun, they have there early and be working. Tell them THIS would be their big wedding gift for you. This shouldn't be your mother or any of the bridesmaids - they have their own part to play. Be sure that these friends don't let you down!

You can make your own cake - BUT:
Select the design carefully. Something like from k8memphis. Something what can be transported quite easily /I know, it IS a wedding cake - nothing is easy there/, doesn't need setup done by pro. It limits your choice. Keep it mind that other people do things they way. If it is important to you, that the buffet is set in precise way or similar, be sure you tell it this person. Better yet, make a drawing. It seems to be OCD but it clears many miscommunication problems.

Set your timetable so that you complete the cake the day before, latest on noon. If something happens - you will still have time left. Count backwards from there to set your schedule. As soon as you have it planned, step back again. Let your plan rest overnight and the next day think about it once more. Can you make it in this time, will you really commit for so long?

Here we have still big weddings completely done by family of bride. But it isn't the bride who does most of the work. This would be the grandma, aunt, sister of the bride or the "village women" as in friends of bride's mom. They all bake the week before wedding, cook the day before or in morning. But the bride only can help with previous preparations. On the wedding day she has only to be beautiful and enjoy.

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tinygoose Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 3:49am
post #19 of 21

Seriously, hire it out, go and get a massage and your nails and hair done, and let it go. It's your wedding day. The one day in your life when YOU get to be the princess! Princesses shouldn't be stressed or sweaty, just lovely.

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Alison01 Posted 12 Mar 2009 , 8:49pm
post #20 of 21

Sorry, I got MIA...I haven't turned my computer on at home since Sunday!

Thanks to all of ya'll for the awesome advice. (Kate, thanks for sharing that! It stressed me out just reading it but you did an awesome job!!!) I'm still thinking on this. I still don't have a final guest count (waiting on my fiance) but I am estimating about 200 at the reception. BUT, here is what I am thinking (I know I'm a little stubborn!!)....

EITHER I make ONLY my cake. I want a simple 3 tier square cake (all ivory) probably just with swiss dots or something simple and fresh gardenias on it, so the hardest part of the cake will be assembling it! In this case, I'll have my family do the dessert bar and get the rest catered. (I have about 15 people (mostly family and a few fellow baker friends) that have already volunteered to help with food) If I give each of them a couple of foods to prepare, I can probably get by without actually having to hire a caterer, but I need to think about this! And I do have one person in mind that I would let be in charge of making sure everything is in its place!!

OR I am going to hire someone to do the cake, and focus on the dessert bar myself, still with the help of family, and do some of the other foods too BUT ONLY the ones that I can do a couple of days ahead of time!!! Still, I'll have someone else designated to put everything out on my wedding day!

I have decided NOT to do anything the day before or the day of the wedding related to food! It will be very hard for me, but I will manage!!!

Thanks again!!!

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margaretb Posted 15 Mar 2009 , 6:40am
post #21 of 21

Just from what I have read on CC, you may have caterer issues if you are supplying some food -- they may not allow it as there are liability issues (if someone gets food poisoning) and quality issues (not wanting to risk their good name in case you are a lousy cook). For my wedding -- I think around 150 -- my mom did the food (enlisted her sisters & my cousins for help), and after she said she wished we had hired a caterer.

Personally, I wish I had had a much smaller wedding. However, I was in that mindset that I was obliged to invite these relatives and those relatives. There have been quite a few weddings now where the wedding was small or even just immediate family. If just immediate family, then usually there is a bigger family reception about a month later, and it's informal.

My wedding favour was Jelly Bellies -- I got the big bags at costco and put about a quarter cup per favour. Woo hoo!

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