Wedding Reception Secrets From A Caterer: How To Store and Transport Hundreds of Appetizers

A caterer’s wedding reception secrets can help a bride-to-be save big money on her wedding reception.

Caterer’s often use their freezers to stock pile freezable wedding appetizers for their busy wedding season.

Some caterers make their own appetizers. But some caterers purchase frozen appetizers from their food suppliers.

Whether a caterer prepares their appetizers from scratch, as I did when I was a caterer or they purchase pre-made appetizers from a food vendor which is very common in the catering business …
it is very likely that the appetizers will be stored in a freezer until the wedding weekend.

Just as the freezer can be a caterer’s best friend when it comes to preparing hundreds or thousands of party foods. The freezer can also become a bride’s best friend!

A freezer is one of the best investments a bride-to-be can make as she prepares for her wedding reception. By investing in a decent sized freezer, the bride will have the cold storage space that will allow her to begin amassing freezable wedding day foods, months before her wedding day.

By setting aside one morning, afternoon, or evening a week a bride can begin cooking up her own wedding reception!

Are you wondering how to store and transport all those delicious bite-size appetizers?

My secret as a caterer was to invest in clean, empty pizza boxes. Pizza boxes are an awesome way to store, freeze, and transport hundreds and hundreds of appetizers to the wedding reception.

Pizza boxes are a space saving and efficient way to store, freeze, and transport your appetizers.

1. Line the boxes with a sheet of bakery or sandwich paper.

2. Line all your appetizers up in neat rows side by side inside the lined box. Depending on the size of the appetizer, I generally was able to average between 60 to 80 wedding appetizers in a box.

3. Lay another sheet or sheets of bakery or sandwich paper on top of the appetizers.

4. Close the box.

5. Using a permanent magic marker, label the boxes in two spots. You will want to label the box for quick identification on the front side and also on the top of the box.

6. Make sure to include any special directions on the top of each box. This can be achieved with copies you can create from your computer printer or a copy machine, then cut and tape the directions to each box.

7. Wrap the box with commercial plastic wrap that can be purchased from a warehouse like Sam’s or Costco. You will want to wrap these boxes as tightly as possible. Begin by wrapping the pizza box from the bottom. Pull out a large extended length of wrap without cutting it. Then set the pizza box on top and start wrapping under and over until your box is completely secured in plastic wrap. When this is done correctly, you can literally turn the box upside down and the appetizers will not fall out of the box. As a caterer, I wrapped everything in this under, over fashion. Not only did it protect the food in the storage process, it also protected the food from accidents during transportation.

8. Put the wrapped box in the freezer and store until your wedding weekend. It is always a smart idea to monitor your freezer to be certain it is working properly.

9. If you start to run short on freezer space, get creative about places you can store food for your wedding. What about family, friends, or perhaps your church has a freezer that you can use for wedding reception storage.

10. To transport the wrapped boxes, simply stack them in clear large plastic bags. Tie the bags. This will protect the boxes of appetizers from shifting around during transportation. By all means assign this job of appetizer transport to a family member or friend. I would suggest asking a friend or family member, or hiring a staffer to be your appetizer co-ordinator for the wedding day.

11. If you have too many leftover appetizers after the wedding reception you really should not refreeze them. If you can not use them up during the weekend …why not donate them to a food bank and bless others less fortunate than yourself? Again, let a friend of family member co-ordinate the donation of excess wedding food for you.

Please keep in mind that you are dealing with perishable food and you want to be careful that all food is being handled in a safe manner and stays within safe temperature zones. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you enlist the assistance of a conscientous family member, friend, or hired assistant to help you. Don’t let this food safety aspect scare you off from self-catering or semi-catering your own wedding reception. As long as you take provisions of safety, you will not encounter any problems.

© 2006 Kathi Dameron, Kathi Dameron and Associates

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