If you are considering opting for a DIY wedding, then you are probably thinking about what food options are available that are within your budget.
One particular option for a delicious food type that is versatile enough to suit a wide range of tastes whilst still being suitable for those with a smaller budget are tacos, thanks to ground beef and chicken- which are usually the main ingredients of a standard taco- being relatively inexpensive.
Taco bars can be a lot of fun as well as a tasty treat, making for a talking point where guests can gather to socialize and enjoy some food.
If this sounds like an idea that you can get behind for your wedding, then keep reading as we are going to be looking at everything that you need to know to set up your own DIY wedding taco bar, including what you will need to create your taco bar menu.
Let’s get started.
Setting Up Your DIY Wedding Taco Bar: A Step-By-Step Guide
First off, let’s look at the steps that you will need to take to set up your DIY wedding taco bar and menu(see also: Best DIY Cocktail Menu For A Micro Wedding).
- Choose the right location: Find a space that’s big enough to accommodate all your guests, has enough serving tables, and has access to electricity and water.
- Plan your menu: Decide on the types of tacos you want to serve.
- Gather the necessary equipment: You’ll need a variety of serving platters, tongs, spatulas, serving spoons, etc.
- Prepare the ingredients: Make sure to have all the ingredients prepped and ready to go.
- Set up the serving station: Arrange the serving platters, bowls, and utensils on the tables.
- Start cooking: Fire up the grills and start cooking the meats, then keep them warm on the serving table.
- Provide a variety of toppings: Offer a range of toppings, such as shredded lettuce, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, and hot sauce.
- Offer sides and drinks: Set up a separate table for sides like rice, beans, and corn, and make sure you have enough drinks, such as water, lemonade, soda, or beer, to keep your guests hydrated.
- Have a backup plan: It’s always good to have a backup plan in case of any unexpected events or mishaps.
Now we have an idea of the basic steps, let’s look at each point in further detail.
Choosing The Right Location
There are a number of factors to consider when it comes to choosing the location that is best suited for your DIY wedding taco bar, such as:
- Space: The location should have enough room to accommodate all your guests comfortably, whilst also having enough space for guests to move around and queue up for food.
- Access to utilities: Make sure the location has access to all the necessary utilities that will be needed for cooking as well as for the cleanup afterward.
- Parking: Ensure there’s adequate parking for your guests, or arrange for a shuttle service if necessary.
- Weather: If the event is outdoors, consider the weather conditions and have a backup plan in case of rain or extreme heat.
- Logistics: Consider the logistics of getting the ingredients and equipment to the location, and make sure there’s enough space to store everything.
- Permits: Make sure you have any necessary permits, such as a food service permit, and that the location complies with all local health and safety regulations.
- Facilities: Ensure the location has enough restrooms and seating areas for your guests.
Planning The Menu
The menu is arguably the most important factor when it comes to a wedding taco bar, so check out our tips on how to effectively plan it:
- Types of tacos: Choose a variety of meat options, such as chicken, beef, pork, and fish, to accommodate different dietary restrictions such as vegetarians, vegans or those who do not eat gluten.
- Toppings: Offer a range of toppings, such as shredded cheese, lettuce, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, and hot sauce, so that guests can customize their tacos to their liking.
- Sides: Consider serving rice, beans, corn, and other side dishes to complement the tacos
- Drinks: Offer a selection of non-alcoholic drinks, such as lemonade, iced tea, or soda, and consider having beer and wine available for those who prefer alcoholic beverages. Margaritas are a great choice to pair with tacos! (more on the toppings, sides, and drinks to go with your taco bar later).
- Allergies and dietary restrictions: As previously mentioned, make sure to have options available for guests with dietary restrictions, such as gluten-free or vegan tacos.
- Portions: Plan the portions based on the number of guests you expect, and make sure you have enough food to go around.
- Preparation: Make sure you have all the ingredients and equipment you need, and plan for adequate preparation time.
Gather The Necessary Equipment
Here’s a list of equipment you’ll need to set up a successful DIY wedding taco bar:
- Serving tables: You’ll need enough tables to accommodate all the ingredients and toppings.
- Grills: If you’re cooking the meats on-site, you’ll need grills to cook them on.
- Serving platters: You’ll need platters to hold the tacos, sides, and toppings.
- Tongs, spatulas, and serving spoons: These are necessary for serving the food and flipping the meat on the grills.
- Cutting boards: You’ll also need cutting boards to chop the ingredients and prepare the toppings.
- Serving bowls: Bowls can be useful for the sides and toppings.
- Trash cans and bags: Have enough trash cans and bags readily available for guests to dispose of their waste.
- Tablecloths: Tablecloths will add a touch of elegance to your serving tables and protect them from spills.
- Chafing dishes: If you’re keeping the food warm, you’ll need chafing dishes to place over the serving tables.
- Plates, napkins, and utensils: Make sure to have enough plates, napkins, and utensils for your guests.
Preparing The Ingredients
Next up, you will need to shop for and prepare all the ingredients that you can so that everything will be ready on the day. Here are some tips to help you do so:
- Shop for ingredients: Make a list of all the ingredients you’ll need and purchase them in advance.
- Meat preparation: If you’re cooking the meats on site, marinate them the day before the event and refrigerate them until they are ready to cook.
- Toppings preparation: Prepare the toppings, such as salsa, guacamole, and shredded cheese, in advance and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Sides preparation: Prepare the sides, such as rice, beans, and corn, in advance and keep them warm in chafing dishes.
- Assembly: Set up the taco bar so that guests can easily assemble their tacos, with the meats, toppings, and sides in separate serving dishes.
- Time management: Don’t forget to manage your time, as you will need to make sure you have enough time to prepare all the ingredients, set up the taco bar, and start serving on time.
Setting Up The Serving Station
We briefly mentioned setting up your taco bar when discussing the preparation of ingredients, but how exactly do you set it up in the most effective way possible? Here are a few pointers to get you started:
- Arrange the serving tables: Place the serving tables in a convenient location and arrange them to create a clear flow for guests to assemble their tacos.
- Place the grills: If you’re cooking the meats on-site, place the grills in a safe and accessible location.
- Set up the toppings station: Arrange the bowls of toppings in a separate area for guests to easily access.
- Display the sides: Place your chosen sides in separate serving dishes or bowls and place them on the serving tables.
- Place the drinks: Place the drinks in another separate area, near the taco bar, and make sure they are easily accessible.
- Add tablecloths: Cover the serving tables with tablecloths to not only create some nice decor, but also to protect the tables from spills.
- Provide utensils and napkins: Arrange the utensils and napkins with the plates for the guests so that they grab everything they need in one go.
So you have everything prepared, and your taco bar is all setup.
Now it’s time to start cooking! Here is how you can go about cooking up your various types of meat for your taco bar:
- Preheat the grills: Make sure the grills are heated and ready to cook the meats before starting.
- Cook the meats: Cook the meats, such as chicken, beef, and pork, on the grills, flipping them occasionally, until they are cooked through and reach a safe internal temperature.
- Keep the meats warm: Keep the cooked meats warm in chafing dishes or on warming trays to maintain their temperature and quality.
- Serve the meats: Use tongs or serving spoons to serve the meats and place them in separate serving dishes.
- Monitor the food safety: Make sure to maintain proper food safety and sanitation practices, such as keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold, to prevent foodborne illness.
We briefly mentioned toppings for your tacos earlier, but let’s take a closer look at some points to consider when it comes to your chosen taco toppings:
- Set up a toppings station: Arrange the bowls of toppings in a separate area for guests to easily access.
- Label the toppings: Label each bowl of toppings with a clear and descriptive name, so guests know what they’re getting.
- Keep the toppings fresh: Keep the toppings chilled in the refrigerator until ready to serve, and replace them as needed to ensure they are fresh and of high quality.
- Serve the toppings: Use serving spoons to serve the toppings and place them in separate serving dishes.
- Provide a variety of toppings: Offer a variety of toppings, such as shredded cheese, sour cream, lettuce, and jalapeños, to accommodate different tastes and preferences.
Sides And Drinks
Much like with the toppings, we only touched on the sides and drinks to go with your taco bar above, so let’s get a little more detailed with the info that you will need:
- Prepare the sides: Cook the sides, such as rice, beans, and corn, in advance and keep them warm in chafing dishes or on warming trays.
- Arrange the sides: Place the sides in separate serving dishes or bowls on the serving tables for guests to easily access.
- Label the sides: Label each dish or bowl of sides with a clear and descriptive name to avoid confusion amongst your guests.
- Provide drinks: Set up a separate area for the drinks, such as soda, water, and margaritas, and make sure that the guests know exactly where to go for a drink.
- Keep the drinks cold: Keep the drinks chilled on ice or refrigerated until ready to serve.
- Serve the drinks: Provide cups or glasses for guests to use, and ensure that you have some way of serving them that won’t cause too much of a mess!
Having a backup plan is important in case things go wrong, so here are some points to consider:
- Inclement weather: If the weather turns bad, consider setting up a covered area or having a backup location to move the taco bar.
- Running out of food: Make sure to prepare extra food in case you run out. You can also consider having backup options, such as store-bought chips and salsa, available as a last resort.
- Equipment malfunctions: Make sure to have backup equipment, such as extra grills or serving dishes, on hand in case something malfunctions.
- Food safety concerns: Have a plan in place for dealing with food safety concerns, such as keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold, and be prepared to throw out any food that has been at an unsafe temperature for too long.
So there you have everything that you need to know about setting up your very own taco bar at a DIY wedding.
Some other key points to keep in mind include setting a budget, always communicating as effectively as possible with your guests, and planning ahead, so you have time for everything you will need to do beforehand.
If you follow our tips, you are sure to be having fun and creating wedding memories to last a lifetime with your DIY wedding taco bar!