Last year my parents celebrated their 25th anniversary and I was planning on putting together a dinner at their house, but my grandfather died unexpectedly. I realize more and more the importance of bringing friends and family together to celebrate special moments in our lives and so I have rescheduled the celebration (now 26) for this year. I have cooked for crowds before, but this will be my largest party yet. I anticipate about 35-40 guests. I had considered going a heavy appetizer route, but in my experience that is far more work than actually providing a meal! I thought I'd take advantage of the summer grilling weather--my first thought is to grill some marinated chicken the day in advance and then slowly reheat it in the oven the day of. Maybe a tortellini pesto pasta salad? I also thought about grilling some summer squash, onions, and peppers while the grill is fired up and then also reheating the next day, though I realize this may be a large job for that number of people. Rolls and maybe a salad to round out the meal. I have yet to decide whether I'll make the dessert(s) or have that done.
I have a 4 burner grill, 2 large ovens and a warming drawer at my disposal. I would like to keep costs as in check as possible. My other advantage is that I have two sisters, read: sous chefs.
I am open to any suggestions to the menu or tips for how I should best go about this.