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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.

Choosing a Wedding Menu That’s Perfect for You AND Your Guests

The proposal is complete. The date is set. The bridal party is chosen. You’ve picked a restaurant or other venue for the dinner. So, now it’s time to think about the wedding menu.

What makes weddings memorable? Chances are that if you asked a group of 10 people what they remember about a particular nuptial, 7 or 8 of them will mention the food in some way or another. Usually, you’ll hear comments like: “The appetizers were amazing”, “My steak was too well done”, “The dessert table was divine” or “The chicken tasted like rubber.”

Indeed, guests remember a lot about the food served at a wedding – both good and bad, and they can often cite facts about dinner much more easily than about the details of the bride’s dress or what colors the bridal party was wearing.

Wedding food is important! It’s the meal we share as we celebrate the new couple, visit with family members, and make new acquaintances. That’s why it’s essential to carefully consider the wedding menu for your special day, taking time to choose a meal that’s right for both you and your guests.

Consider the Cost

 

If you’re like most people, you’ve planned a particular budget for your wedding and, certainly, the dinner or reception eat up the bulk of that budget. So, before you go looking for a wedding caterer, know your limit, if you have one.

An old adage talks about someone having “champagne taste on a beer budget.” That makes us chuckle, but it also rings true. It’s important to be up front about budget with your chosen caterer before you start talking about what’s available for your wedding celebration.

Specifically, think about the per person cost you can afford as that is how most dinners will be priced. Plan for extras, such as the cake or other incidentals. Once you’ve arrived at that number, then you can start chatting about what kind of menu fits your budget.

It may be that the best bet for your hard-earned dollars will not be a full sit-down or buffet dinner. Cocktails and appetizers might be all your budget allows. Or even just dessert. That’s fine, and you can still work with your caterer to make those hors d’oeuvres or sweets the best ones your guests have ever tasted!

Consider the Time and Place

 

Often, when and where your wedding will be plays into your menu choices.

Having a morning or early afternoon wedding? Then your wedding menu might be different than what you’d choose if you were having a very formal evening wedding. For example, you may opt for a light lunch menu or perhaps a brunch. A novel idea might be to have a “tea”, which will include items such as scones, small finger sandwiches, and tiny desserts. Guests will love it!

Fancy evening ceremonies tend to lend themselves to very formal receptions in ornate venues. For those kinds of weddings, a sit-down dinner menu with two or three entrée choices is often the way to go, but you can also opt for a buffet as well. Often, guests love buffets because they are offered a wider choice of foods. Some guests, however, rather not get up from the table to plate their own food and prefer a full-service meal. Either is fine for the formal wedding or you can compromise on the wedding menu and do a little of each, perhaps offering sit-down service for the salad and entrée but adding an ornate dessert buffet at the end of the meal.

Having an outdoor wedding? Many brides and grooms who want to be married outside often opt for a tent or tents when it comes time for the wedding reception. Under the tent, you’ll usually find a buffet, but a served dinner is suitable as well if that’s what the new couple chooses.

However, it’s also fun to think a bit out-of-the-box and perhaps plan something such as a “wedding barbecue”, especially if your wedding is rather informal. The caterer can offer traditional picnic foods such as hot dogs and hamburgers, chicken, ribs, and all the sides that go along with those finger-lickin’ entrees. You might be surprised at how much your guests will love this option!

Consider your Guests

 

Speaking of guests and what they enjoy…remember when you are selecting your menu that – while this is YOUR reception – it’s really for your friends and loved ones. Chances are – a year or two from now and maybe sooner – you won’t even remember what you ate at your wedding dinner.

So, when you’re planning a wedding menu, keep your guests in mind. For example, if you’re a huge fan of a certain kind of food – perhaps Thai or Mexican – don’t simply opt for a Thai or Mexican meal. While it’s perfectly fine to ask if the caterer can include one or two dishes from those traditions, if you’re feeding a diverse crowd, your selections should be diverse, too. While a taco bar might be fun, for instance, it’s a good idea to also include a well-prepared chicken, beef, and/or seafood dish for those who prefer to be not too adventurous or simply don’t like Mexican food.

You’ll also need to think about those with dietary restrictions, including vegetarians and perhaps guests who prefer to remain gluten-free. Ask your caterer what he or she can offer in those categories and make sure it’s just as delicious and interesting as your other offerings.