WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Help a reader: Wedding food deals

Posted August 2, 2012


One of our Smart Shopper readers needs your advice on where to buy party trays and other wedding food for a reception she is throwing for her daughter. Can you help?

Here is Janet's request:

"I'm planning a wedding reception for my daughter for 200 people. We are going to do (go purchase) the food ourselves. Can you ask your readers where is the best place to purchase (Sams, Costco, Harris Teeter, Kroger.....) ready made veg. trays, fruit trays, meat trays....... I'm interested is both good prices and good quality. We are thinking about serving the following along with wedding cake and punch:

cookie trays
mints/nuts (6 lbs per 100 people)
veg. tray (already made)
fruit tray (already made)
cheese tray (7 lbs per 100 people) or cubed cheese
fancy crackers for the cheese
sausage balls
meatballs in sauce
meat rolls (roll up slices of meat with a maybe a toothpick in it) or cubed meat (already made) or already made sliced meat sandwiches
mixed sandwiches (chicken salad, pinto cheese.....) (already made)
small rolls/buns (partially slices in two?) (depending on what we do with the meats : mustard and mayo.....)
chips and dips

Any and all comments and suggestions would be appreciated.


Congratulations on your daughters upcoming wedding, Janet!


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  • tri4sale Aug 2, 2012

    Janet - the dirty little secret of the catering world is they often buy in bulk from costco/BJs/Sam's and "doctor" it up to justify their inflated prices. Yes, its easier to just call a caterer, but then, its easier to just go to the store and shop without coupons :) To save money you'll need to do it yourself.

    Keep the menu somewhat simple, and buy in bulk your meats from the wholesale clubs, and pickup fruit from the farmer's market wholesale drive thru. Depending on time of year is what you'll find there and the price (picked up blueberries $15/flat a few weeks ago)

    I've picked up the meatballs from BJ's added homemade sauce and I still get raves about them. Your hardest part is cooking and keep warm enough food for 200 people. Make sure the church kitchen as the necessary equipment to cook and then keep it all warm. Good luck.

  • ascherer Aug 2, 2012

    Janet - depending on when the wedding is (and my schedule) I maybe able to help. I make sausage b*!!s, cheese straws, and cookies every year for Christmas. They freeze great. I am not a caterer. If you would like to discuss this in more detail (including tip you can use to DIY) contact me at Good Luck. Annaliesa

  • tarheelfan4life2005 Aug 2, 2012

    jdouglas13....I have to agree with you on this one. I just got married and would never attempt to try and do this. We had 50 guests and had a BBQ restaurant cater the food. You could probably save money doing it yourself, but at what other expense?

  • 2thebeach Aug 2, 2012

    My daughter was just married and we did a lot ourselves, but did opt for a caterer for the reception. We had a brunch the next day, and from Costco, purchased Nancy's quiches in the economy sized boxes - they were a big hit with everyone and could be served at room temperature. They might work instead of meat rollups and would be simpler. - good luck

  • bparrish004 Aug 2, 2012

    Do the trade/community schools have those in the culinary
    dept. that you could "hire" to cater for you at lesser

  • sunandsea Aug 2, 2012

    My sister and I did the food for my wedding, last year. We prepared alot and froze it ahead of time. Flank steak, nuts, veggie's, etc, we bought at Sam's club. The chicken for teriaki and marsala chicken, we watched for sales at Kroger, Food Lion, etc and froze after preparing....but I loved having boiled shrimp with cocktail sauce and the best deal for the size and quality of shrimp was at Harris Tetter, when they have buy 2, get 3 free. It was the 21-30 count and I believe came to around $55 for 10 lbs. We also did meatb@#$. If you are doing this yourself, enlist help from family and friends and freeze as much as you can ahead of time. Meatb@#&, sausage b@#$&, cheese straws, all will freeze great.

  • julietblack Aug 2, 2012

    If you know that someone that has a military card, you can go the commissary, food is much cheaper (this is what I did). Kroger's marked their items down daily, and the fruit is still very fresh. I would do that, but you must go in the am before 10 am. Mints/nuts,I would check out Big Lots or Ollies. I have a couple of great caters as well, but think you can do it just as cheap yourself. I also have a military id and will be glad to take you there. Need more infor contact me at

  • Packy Aug 2, 2012

    When I was married, my mom and her friends put together the food for our similar to what you're serving. I didn't stress out at all about it...they had it all under control. I think most of the food came from Sam's.

  • payton87 Aug 2, 2012

    My husband and I used a local smaller caterer for 170 guests for a buffett dinner and cocktail hour h'orderves(fruit, cheese, nuts) all for $1,300. Everyone loved the food and we were very pleased and my mom was able to spend the entire day with me and not have to stress over preparing food. Her name is Terrie Jernigan and her email is She has a great team that helps her out.

  • CountryGirl10 Aug 2, 2012

    Thanks for your suggestions!! The wedding will be in Winston-Salem at a church which has a small school (therefore a commercial kitchen). We are planning on having some ladies from the church actually serve the food and heat up a few items. I welcome any additional comments and suggestions. Janet