Food and Drink: Cater Your Own Soup, Salad, and Bread Buffet Reception

I know that many of you have written to me about posting more about catering your own wedding reception (The Boy and I did a bit of this for our quickie Alaska wedding) and I want y’all to know my opinion on this.

I am all for it.

Yes, you CAN cater your own wedding reception (Don’t believe me? John and Sherry did it.) but it will take a lot of planning and a lot of realistic expectations. Because here’s the thing. If you’re catering your own wedding – it’s not going to be a fancy 5-courses sit-down affair. You simply are not going to have the time between the ceremony and the reception to pull everything together. So what does work? A premade buffet… and what better buffet for a fall or winter wedding than a soup, salad, and bread buffet?

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Image Courtesy of: June Cleaver Nirvana

Normally, these are presented as a first course (with the bread being left on each table throughout the meal). However, I would encourage you to consider hosting an entirely soup, salad, and bread menu. These are such warm and comforting foods (not to mention, easy to make and super budget-friendly) and can be prepped (or even made up entirely) days before the wedding. Just keep the breads in tightly-sealed containers, round up a crapload of crockpots for the soups, and pre-chop all the salad bits the day before. When it’s time to serve, have someone else (NOT YOU, YOUR FAMILY, OR THE WEDDING PARTY [seriously, too stressful]) transfer the breads to baskets, the soups to serving bowls, and toss together the salads. Easy = Peasy.

Here’s a round-up of some soups, salads, and breads I think would be a great option for your budget-friendly, DIY wedding reception:


Winter Minestrone (from: Melissa Roberts and Maggie Ruggiero)

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Roasted Pumpkin Soup (from: Emeril Lagasse)

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 Bean and Pasta Soup (from: Martha Stewart)

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Simple Chicken Noodle Soup (from: Martha Stewart)

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Sasauge-and-Kale Soup (from: Martha Stewart)

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Frisee Salad with Cranberries and Pistachios  (from: Martha Stewart)

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 Fall Salad with Maple Vinaigrette (from: Martha Stewart)

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Fall Salad (from: Tyler Florence)

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Caesar Salad (from: Food Network Magazine)

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Potato Rolls (from: Food Network Magazine)

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Whole Wheat Honey Bread (from: All Recipes)

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Skillet Cornbread (from: Martha Stewart)

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Southern Butter Rolls (from: All Recipes)

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Tulle Nation, would you cater your own wedding reception? Would you consider a soup, salad, and bread meal? Do you have any tips or tricks for DIYing your wedding meal? Share, share.