Sierra
Beginner October 2023

Planning to make sandwiches for brunch/afternoon reception. Any advice for timing/prep

Sierra, on August 18, 2021 at 11:01 PM Posted in Planning 0 26
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Hey there!


My fiancé and I have discussed and love the idea of offering sandwiches for everyone to eat as a meal for our early afternoonish reception because of how simple it is and also seemingly cheap. With our budget being $6k or less, actual catering is just way too expensive; however, I recently have read people cautioning the idea of self catering because of time and prep work, so I’m now concerned that this may not be as feasible of an option.
I would love to hear any advice for self catering, what could be helpful with time management, things to consider, etc!

26 Comments

Latest activity by Sexypoodle, on August 20, 2021 at 8:09 AM
  • Hannah
    Master July 2019
    Hannah ·
    • Flag
    How many people are you inviting to your wedding? Is getting sandwiches from a local deli an option?
    • Reply
  • Sierra
    Beginner October 2023
    Sierra ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    It may be around 50-60 people. I haven’t quite looked into local delis yet (the wedding is a little more than 2 years out) but the one I did see was a bit unclear as to how they catered and
    • Reply
  • Ariel
    Devoted October 2021
    Ariel ·
    • Flag
    Could you do a sandwich station? I’m thinking having all the pieces out there and then people can construct their own sandwiches. It would take some of the stress off of you.


    Like the previous poster said, I’d look into local delis. Depending on your guest count you might be able to make that work. Costco is another good option to explore.
    • Reply
  • Sierra
    Beginner October 2023
    Sierra ·
    • Flag
    Woops! Accidentally hit ‘reply’ before I was done . Anyways…the deli seemed to charge about $9-$12 per sandwich, which is really out of budget on the higher end. If we had 50 people and the $9 sandwiches, that may be more doable but I lose the option of variety, and we wanted to have some fall-themed sandwiches for guests to choose from.
    • Reply
  • Sierra
    Beginner October 2023
    Sierra ·
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    View Quoted Comment
    I pitched the idea of a sandwich station for people to construct sandwiches, but with COVID and general germ spreading, we are uncertain if it would be a good option ultimately.


    The other thing that confounds the issue is that I’m gluten-free. I’ve thought about just having one sandwich be made gf and the rest can be regular bread, but I also want to be able to eat some of whatever is leftover too haha 😅.
    • Reply
  • V
    Champion July 2019
    Veronica ·
    • Flag
    Since you are gluten free it doesn't sound like sandwiches are the best idea. Also since your wedding is still so far away, do you plan on setting aside money each month to pay for it?


    As for the actual making of food, I've made food for other events like a gender reveal and birthday parties and I'm not going to lie it is a lot of work. I would recommend something simpler than sandwiches as everyone likes something different on sandwiches. I will also add that a lot of venues prohibit self-made food because of liability concerns. Overall I think you'd be better off looking at a different option that you can actually eat since you are gluten free and that you won't have to worry about cooking.
    • Reply
  • devotedlydavis
    Devoted March 2022
    devotedlydavis ·
    • Flag
    I would look into some place like Subway. Their sandwich trays are pretty reasonably priced. Or see what options sams/Costco have.
    • Reply
  • Janet
    Devoted October 2018
    Janet ·
    • Flag

    Are you having your wedding at a venue? If so are you able to use not licensed catering? Have you looked into platters from different stores or do you only get the choice of one deli?

    If you have worked out the second question above, I would try to make the sandwiches a day in advanced and leave off all condiments (no body likes a soggy sandwich). See if you can get the small packets. and then a sort of sandwich station. I don't know if anyone is allergic to anything or what kind of sandwiches you plan to have, but you may be able to hire someone or two to serve the sandwich station. That way people can have what they want and it can help avoid cross contamination.

    • Reply
  • Pirate & 60s Bride
    Legend March 2017
    Pirate & 60s Bride ·
    • Flag
    We went to an event that had Subway sandwiches cut in halves (3 types), and it worked out great. Can you check their catering options?
    • Reply
  • S
    Expert September 2022
    Sarah ·
    • Flag

    For 50-60 people you're going to need at least 2 sandwiches per person. I would not want to make 100-120 sandwiches on my wedding day. Definitely considering subway or jimmy john's catering. I know jimmy john's does catering boxes for a decent price.

    • Reply
  • Mcskipper
    Master July 2018
    Mcskipper ·
    • Flag
    Sandwiches seem especially hard to pre-make.


    We recently had an event where we got sandwich platters from a local grocery market which worked out really well. They make big sandwiches and wraps and cut them up and the platters feed 10-12 or 12-15 or something. Need a couple sandwich pieces to make a real meal/full sized sandwich equivalent, but still, the platters are pretty affordable. So, I feel like grocery stores are a great option for something like this.
    • Reply
  • Sylvana
    Dedicated August 2021
    Sylvana ·
    • Flag
    I would very much caution against doing this. The days leading up to your wedding are especially hectic. You likely will be stressed and anxious on top of your excitement. You may be crunched for time. This is not the event to try and self cater. I would recommend maybe Firehouse subs or Jersey Mike's. Perhaps Panera bread. Do not attempt to make all this food ahead of time. It's an unnecessary stress.
    • Reply
  • H
    Beginner October 2022
    Harts ·
    • Flag

    I'd suggest that you avoid this and instead try to prepare make-ahead meals/order catering.

    If you really, really want to DIY your food, here are a couple of options for ~$10 PP:

    Brunch: frittata or casserole bake, biscuit bar (jam, ham, cheese), muffins or banana bread

    Lunch: bread & olive oil/butter, DIY pasta bar, and salad

    Everything's prepped the night before and the pasta just needs to be stored correctly and reheated.

    • Reply
  • Melinda
    Devoted March 2022
    Melinda ·
    • Flag

    Have you looked into mexican food catering? It tends to be quite a bit cheaper. Maybe a taco bar?

    • Reply
  • B
    Super July 2017
    Becky ·
    • Flag

    Have you considered having your wedding at a non-meal time and just having cake and punch? That tends to be the least expensive option for catering and then you also aren't having to run around in the days leading to your wedding - and it wouldn't just be making the sandwiches - you have to store them too. As a PP said, the days right before your wedding are *extremely* hectic - you don't want to have to be figuring out the food as well.

    • Reply
  • Michelle
    Rockstar October 2022
    Michelle ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    Agree with this. Or a local Chinese restaurant that delivers.


    Unless you go with Costco and someone picks them up fresh the morning of the wedding ( if outside food is allowed )or any sandwich catering company, Covid has people scared away from home catering and buffets for safety reasons. Also condiments such as mayonnaise (a staple of various salad sandwiches) are a huge trigger for food poisoning because people are not careful with proper refrigeration.
    • Reply
  • Vicky
    VIP January 2020
    Vicky ·
    • Flag

    How about sandwich platters from a grocery store or from Costco? Definitely don't try to self-cater, both for safety and logistical reasons.

    • Reply
  • Sierra
    Beginner October 2023
    Sierra ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    Thank you all for your suggestions and advice. Though we can’t afford catering that would be more than $400-$500, this has helped to give me perspective of how our food can be distributed and how busy I may already be during that week. I’ll show your replies to my fiancé when they get home and perhaps reconsider what we choose to do for food.
    • Reply
  • Sierra
    Beginner October 2023
    Sierra ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    We’re either going to have the ceremony/reception on a family friend’s property or at a site that is managed by the city, so professional catering would not be required. My fiancé and I really liked the idea of making sandwiches that were fall-related, which would be difficult to find through premade grocery store platters or through places like Jimmy Johns or Subway. However, this is something we may have to compromise on in order to save ourselves from further stress.
    • Reply
  • S
    Expert November 2021
    Sara ·
    • Flag

    Since your wedding is over 2 years away, don't you think you'd have time to save up for something other than DIY sandwiches? Unfortunately, sandwiches are probably the worst thing I can think of to self cater, since in order to stay fresh and taste decent they need to be made that morning (otherwise condiments would make the bread soggy). I'd recommend looking into cheap drop off catering such as BBQ. Depending on where you're located, you can probably find BBQ catering as cheap as $10 a person, which would allow you to stay in your budget

    • Reply

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