I spent about a day researching caterers around Charleston. Prices varied greatly. I even considered the company who catered Company's holiday party. I was excited about getting to pick a caterer. We could go sample delicious food! We love food.
But then I got overwhelmed (not surprising). How do we possibly decide what meals to have for everyone from such a huge menu? I knew I didn't want whatever we picked to be super expensive, which eliminated most of the options. We had discussed it and we both envisioned a buffet style eating situation (saving time and money on wait staff). While a sit down dinner is nice, it was just too formal for us.
Teh German and I bounced ideas back and forth about food. I knew I wanted something easy to eat that I wasn't likely to wear (it's a huge probability every time I eat that I will wear my food). I just can't imagine having something you need to eat with your hands while I'm dressed in something that cost hundreds of dollars. But Teh German was listing off comfort foods as his preferred picks for the meal, mac and cheese, baked beans, etc.
Later that week, while we were walking the dogs, I jokingly suggested we have Willie Jewell's cater for the wedding. I figured that Teh German would turn down this idea for being too casual, but he said that it was a good idea. WIN!
The only downside is no tasting, but we already know it's good.
When I checked their online catering menu, sausage wasn't part of the package. This is a big deal since Teh German always orders the sausage platter (with mac and cheese and baked beans) when we go to Willie Jewell's. After speaking with them, I learned that substituting sausage for chicken/etc probably wouldn't be an issue. Perfect.
Most important about our decision to serve Willie Jewell's is that the price per person is significantly lower than if we had went with a large catering company. I asked Teh German if he thought that serving bbq was cheap and he said no. He'd had food from weddings that was completely unremarkable and it was probably super expensive. Willie Jewell's is something we know that almost everyone will love (not my problem if someone doesn't) and the fact that it's cheap is a coincidence and convenience. Additionally, pulled pork is a novelty for some Germans, so that's a fun detail. Most importantly, Willie Jewell's BBQ is our favorite bbq in Charleston.
CakeTeh WJL actually offered to make our cake, but I explained that whole "we want our friends to be guests, not workers" thing. The coordinator had some suggestions which were helpful. I wasn't big on the idea of cake (I don't need to freeze it and eat it a year later), but Teh German said we needed a cake. The coordinator suggested a cake for cutting and then cupcakes, which are easier.
If you logic it out, cupcakes are a win. You can pick it up from the table and eat it one handed (hopefully) and you shouldn't even have to sit your drink down. Whereas a piece of cake comes on a plate, with a fork, and eating it requires setting your drink down. Human behavior analysis is cool if you ask me. After Teh German heard this, he agreed.
The coordinator had a cake vendor suggestion, but after making most of the big decisions, I wasn't in a hurry to plan the minor details. She also suggested Publix since they do wedding cakes and cupcakes. Publix was a completely valid, not cheap, suggestion because I lurve Publix cakes. In fact, we had Publix cupcakes on my birthday. I wasn't sure though.
Later, Roux's Humom suggested one of our neighbors make our cake/cupcakes since she runs a side business as a baker. I've actually had her cupcakes before at their Halloween party (chocolate and caramel?) and then later when we watched a UFC fight at their house (peanut butter and jelly). I remember how delicious they were. Eventually, I bit the bullet and asked her if she wanted to make cupcakes for our wedding. She was thrilled and said yes. She did give me some homework to find some flavors that we like. She said she's willing to do anything as weird as we want, she had even once done chicken and waffle cupcakes which turned out well.
Tasked, I set to Pinterest. Flavors I found that I think might be good: strawberry shortcake, lemon, almond amaretto, funfetti (ode to GTMO time), peanut butter and jelly (ode to 2nd grade Megan), raspberry lemon, chocolate, smores (ode to Megan the Smores Master), hot chocolate, peanut butter smores, chocolate cherry, peppermint, pineapple upside down cake, banana pudding, strawberry lemonade, lemon blueberry, Dr. Pepper, Oreo, cannoli.
Obviously, we'd never have this many flavors since that's too many to choose from, but I plan on narrowing down the list with Teh German. I'm hoping that if I give our neighbor a list of options she'll whip some up and let us try them and then submit her coworkers to any remaining test cupcakes.
Other Food Related Things
Rehearsal DinnerWe haven't decided on a location for a rehearsal dinner. We're planning on it being more like an everyone go out and pay for themselves type of situation. For me the rehearsal dinner is more about our immediate families getting to hang out together and stumble through the language barrier.
Assuming that the Hall will not be booked the day before our wedding (yay for weekdays/Halloween/public property!), we plan to have a rehearsal at the Hall, then relocate to a restaurant for a meal. Since most everyone involved will be traveling to CHS, we don't necessarily have to have the rehearsal in the evening, which is convenient.
Post-Wedding BrunchTeh German and I are planning on getting a hotel room for the night of the wedding so we don't have to make the trek all the way back home (35 minutes away, far, I know). I've heard of post-wedding brunches before and I like the idea of a laid back, less formal event for our families. I have no idea where we'd go for this, but there is no shortage of options in Charleston.
Do not worry, the dogs will be taken care of the night of. Teh Running Bestie has already said she will go home and take care of the dogs for us.