Holiday Event Catering

It’s that time of year and you want to go “all out” for the holidays! You can just hear those sleigh bells ringing, you’ve written down all your party ideas, and you can’t wait to plan the perfect gala for your family and friends.

As a matter of fact, this is the one time of year when you let go of budget concerns and enjoy spoiling your guests with an extravaganza they won’t soon forget. And why not? It’s the perfect season for letting everyone know just how important they are in your life by providing them with a fun evening of holiday merriment, pulling out all the stops and offering your guests the best of everything.

Making Your Party Shine

What’s the most important part of your party? Some would argue that it’s the decorations. They are certainly integral to creating the holiday mood. You’ll want the best tree you can find, trimmed with lots of sparkling objects. Your yard, perhaps, will be decorated with Santa Claus, candy canes, twinkling lights, and more, setting the mood before your guests even enter your home.

Others would say it’s the music that’s most important. Perhaps some live music would be ideal. A pianist playing popular Christmas tunes, an acoustic guitarist, or maybe even some traditional carolers would be ideal for your soiree. Whichever you choose, music is sure to pump up the holiday mood.

And then there’s the food.

For many party throwers and party goers, this is the most important piece of the pie…or fruitcake. Seriously, how many people go to weddings, parties, and other events and then go home and comment about the food? Just about everyone!

That indicates, of course, that what you serve will be remembered the next day, though they might not remember what color Christmas balls you had on your tree or the last song the quartet sang at the close of the evening.

Planning that Magical Meal

So, let’s talk about the menu. It goes without saying, of course, that if this is your big party of the year you won’t be doing the cooking. Instead, you’ll be hiring a caterer and spending your time hobnobbing with your guests. That’s the way it should be!

That means, of course, that you only need to make decisions about what to serve and how to do it, and then you can leave the rest to a capable caterer who can manage all food-related issues including not only the food itself but also linens, tableware, and servers, if and when they are needed.

So, what’s the first step once you find a caterer you trust?

It’s deciding how you want to present the food (sit-down, appetizer stations, buffet, etc.) and all the particular of what you want to serve.

Many party hosts opt to go with buffet meals of some sort, simply because it’s the most adaptable to the space in your home. Unless, you have a huge room available for a sit-down dinner – most people don’t – you’ll want to stick with something a little less formal. If, of course, you can accommodate the
number of guests in attendance at your table(s), go for it! There’s nothing more elegant than a multi-course meal complete with holiday favorites or other food of your choosing.

If you opt for buffet, you can consider several options. For example, you may want to begin with served appetizers (here’s where the waitstaff comes in) along with champagne or other beverages and then transition to a buffet for the remainder of the meal, including desserts. Make sure, nonetheless, that there’s ample seating or standing space for those who are worried about juggling plates and drinks. You might consider bringing in small standing café tables where 3 or 4 can gather to enjoy their food.

At the holidays, a dedicated dessert table is always a nice idea. You can dress it up with fancy cookies and cakes as well as lovely decorations. Ask your caterer if they have experience in creating a dazzling dessert table that’ll wow your guests.

And what about the menu? Do you have traditional holiday favorites you’d like to include or would you like to go in a totally different direction? Do you have a theme in mind, like an Olde English Christmas or a Renaissance feast?

Whatever your pleasure, be sure before you hire the caterer that they are amenable to stepping out of the box and away from their usual menus. Of course, you might find that one of their usual menus is right up your alley, but be sure you discuss the menu in detail before you sign on the dotted line.

But remember…

No matter how elaborate your party and how fancy and delicious your food, it’s the people around you that count the most. You’ve chosen to use a caterer so that you don’t have to be stuck in the kitchen tending to the food. So, let the caterers do their job and trust their experience. If you’ve done your homework, you’ve selected a caterer you know will make your party one that your guests will remember for years to come.

It’s Not Too Early to Plan Your Holiday Party Catering Details

Yup. The holidays are coming. We bet you’ve gone into your favourite big box or department store in the last few weeks and witnessed rows of Halloween costumes, candy, and jack-o-lanterns on one side of the aisle and Christmas decorations and goodies on the other. After all, there’s only a few months left to plan for the latter while Halloween is practically here!

So, if you’re the type that makes a big deal about the December holidays, you’re probably starting to formulate plans – at least in your head – for fun get-togethers for friends and family members. It’s never too early to give some preliminary thought to what kind of party (or parties) you’d like to host this coming holiday season, and – of course – food is a huge part of any Christmas party, so the details of what you’ll serve should be given priority as far as planning is concerned.

Many party throwers are proud of the fact that they can do it ALL by themselves. Decorate, cook, plan activities. It’s a one-man-show for some happy party planners, but taking on all the tasks of a successful party can be taxing and stressful, especially at the holiday season when there’s simply so much to do.

But what are the alternatives? And how do you know if they’re right for your party?

To DIY or Not to DIY?

Why do party throwers often insist on doing it all themselves? Well, usually it’s a pride of accomplishment thing. It makes us proud to say we “did It all” with little or no help from others. Similarly, many hosts simply enjoy the tasks of cooking and baking, so they decide that they will plan an elaborate menu and start days before to get everything done before the first guest arrives.

Chances are we’ve all done this at some time or another AND chances are that we sat down when it was all finished and asked, “Why did I put myself through that?” Even those who like to cook recognize the difficulty of taking on the responsibility for all the party food as well as the other details of a well-executed holiday event.

Besides preserving our price of accomplishment, we often take on all this responsibility because we think someone else can’t do it as well as we do. We’re afraid that menus from party caterers will lack the originality we seek when putting together our own creations. We have specific plans in mind that we don’t think a caterer will want to tackle.

Truth is, however, that most catering businesses – at least, the good ones – are more than eager to sit down with you and plan a menu that matches your vision. As a matter of fact, chefs love a challenge and would be absolutely fine brain-storming with you to craft a holiday party that makes you proud to be the host.

If you take time to choose a quality caterer, you won’t get the dry chicken, the green beans almandine, the dinner roll, and the vanilla ice cream dessert that you’re normally offered at so many catered dinners. Far from it! When you choose to go with a party caterer that’s flexible and creative rather than succumb to the do-it-yourself option, you’ll still have plenty of choices.

So Where Do We Start?

It’s likely that you already have some ideas in mind for your party menu. That’s great! Maybe you’re thinking about an hors d’oeuvres party or perhaps a fancy sit-down dinner. Or maybe a large buffet is the ideal option for the huge gang you’re planning to invite to your soiree. Or perhaps you’re thinking about something else that you deem totally “out of the box.”

Having a definitive idea of what kind of menu you’re hoping to serve is the ideal place to start. You don’t need to have every detail planned, but an overall idea of which direction you’d like to proceed is essential before you start seeking a caterer for your party. Write down some details so that you can best convey your wishes as you meet with prospective caterers and bring those notes to your meetings.

When it’s time to start looking around for the perfect party chef, begin by searching the internet for catering businesses in your area and take a preliminary look at the kinds of events they offer. Do their sample menus show that they are pretty much stuck in a rut or do they demonstrate creativity and a willingness to be flexible? Does the company’s website copy include sentences such as “it’s your party and we want the food to be as unique as you” or “we strive to best compliment that special atmosphere that you are working to create”?

It’s sentences like those that indicate a prospective caterer is willing to listen to your wishes and isn’t stuck to a particular food style or menu.

Of course, it’s important to remember that you may need to be a little flexible as well. All of your ideas may not be suitable to party catering, especially with a large group, and a good caterer will tell you so and then help you figure out other options that will make you just as happy, resulting in a party full of joy and merriment.

And aren’t holiday parties all about joy? Oh, and food, of course!