Whether you are planning an anniversary party, big birthday or the wedding of your dreams, working with a caterer will make hosting easier and can elevate your event with incredible flavor, design and service. There are many questions that pop up once you decide to cater a party – how much should you spend per person? Are you going to stick to a theme? What food and beverages are the best options? What if people have strong dietary restrictions? Are you ordering enough food? We’re happy to share catering advice for couples who are planning a big event, but the main thing to remember is to stay calm and organized! Food is a very important part of every event and you surely want your guests to have a great time but to also leave satisfied.
First things first – discuss your overall budget for the entire event, including catering. If you are planning a wedding you need to take so many things into consideration for your budget, including décor, photography and videography, music and entertainment, florals, favors, venue rental, chairs, tables, plates, silverware and glassware if your venue doesn’t provide them and more. Once you have put together a list of all the services and items you will need for your event you can start putting dollar amounts next to each as you budget how much you can spend on each. If you are planning a pretty large event, we would recommend working with a professional event coordinator who can help you prioritize, introduce you to preferred vendors and negotiate on your behalf.
When deciding on a catering budget you will want to think about the types of food you would like to offer, whether the meal will be a buffet, family style or seated service, do you want individual food stations, how many passed hors d’ oeuvres would you like, etc. Another thing that plays into your catering budget is the total head count of guests. Before confirming your final food and beverage order with your caterer, be sure to confirm a final head count of your guests. You might consider adding a few extra guests into the count just in case you receive last minute RSVPs. Most caterers will account for a few stragglers, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry so you don’t run out of food.
When choosing your event venue space there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Location – do you want an outdoor area or indoor banquet room?
- Availability – is the venue available on the date you are planning on hosting your event?
- Guest count – can the venue accommodate the number of people invited/RSVP’d?
- Cost – does the venue fit into your budget?
- Kitchen – can you bring your own caterer, or do you have to use the onsite kitchen staff? If you do hire an outside caterer, does the kitchen meet the needs of your vendor?
- Parking – is there enough parking, is it convenient or will you have to shuttle guests to and from the property?
- Are there multiple other events taking place at the same time as yours? How will the onsite staff meet your needs while also working with the other events?
When selecting the menu for your event, first you will want to determine whether you are looking for a themed event, casual, fun or upscale food experience. Then you have to think about what foods are in season, what style of serving you prefer – buffet, family style, stations or seated service. Each option has its own pros and cons, and it all comes down to preference and the type of event you are hosting. In our experience, food stations are a big hit at every event, and a traditional seated meal is always a classy and popular option. Tray passed appetizers are also something we highly encourage at the start of an event when guests are arriving and hungry. Appetizers are the best way to play around with flavors and offer a wide range of options for your guests who have different taste and dietary preferences. Take the time to closely work with your caterer to create a menu that is unique to you as a couple, and definitely take advantage of a sit-down tasting so you can have the chance to try out all the incredible food before the big event.
Catering a special event, regardless of the occasion, is an exciting and overwhelming process. If you are looking for a caterer for your big event in Southern California, please contact us to learn about our services and our menu options. You can also follow us on Instagram for daily inspiration and a peak at our most recent work!