There is a way to have it all. Think about food and beverage as you’re planning your event. Here are 3 helpful hints for catering an event that won’t blow the budget out of the water!
The Venue: When you start to think about throwing that party, the first thought is that we want our guests to have a wonderful experience, one they will remember, so of course we love the idea of hosting events in some great unique spaces such as museums, art galleries, and outdoor spaces overlooking the water. These venues can create a beautiful atmosphere, but often come with a price tag to match. Most of these types of venues and event centers have their own in-house kitchen and staff to take care of the catering portion of your event. In some cases you will have to bring in your own caterer. It is of the thought process that this means that the caterer has to bring in equipment, serving pieces, heating and cooling equipment if necessary, just to mention a few items. The costs start to add up and your food and beverage costs skyrocket. Not in all cases. Finding your own caterer can be a stroke of great luck and one that is financially sound for your event. One thing to remember to keep that budget in line, yet give your guests a great experience is to select venues that are equipped with a kitchen or at least a satellite kitchen for the caterer.
Flexibility With Time: Flexibility is key! If you are willing to start your event at a time that you do not have to serve a full meal you can put some of that money back in your pocket. For example starting an event at 4 p.m – 6 p.m. you can now serve heavy appetizers and drinks. Appetizers are the new dinner. Choose foods that are filling, but will still wow your guests. Cocktail parties can sometimes be more fun and engaging than a sit down dinner.
Food and Beverage: Know your caterer!! Talk about your theme and what your expectations are in terms of presentation and taste. You are the Host or Hostess, so serve something you may enjoy in your own home. Always defer to your budget. Let your caterer know your budget and have them suggest what will work for you within that number. This is a time where you can decide whether you want a sit down dinner, buffet, stations or appetizers. The BAR is the next large investment. Open Bar can be expensive, so think about your guests – are they drinkers, or the type to just have one drink and then a Coke. Ask about Bar By Consumption, this may be a way to save some of those precious dollars. When choosing an open bar try to remember the Beer and Wine only route may only save you about $2.00 per person, since Beer and Wine nowadays is expensive and liquor can be much more affordable for a venue to serve a full open bar can be a better option. Do not be afraid to ask questions and ask your venue or caterer to customize a food and beverage menu that suits your needs and budget.
TIP – There are these things called cut off dates – I know we all are aware of these dates, but sometimes this slips into the cracks. Make sure you call in that guarantee number to the venue and catering. Most venues and caterers give you one week prior to the event to give them these numbers. Do not waste money paying for people who will not be attending your event.
Ultimately YOU, the person with the checkbook, are in control. Reliable venues and caterers will work with you. And most of all ENJOY your event, for you have now invested time and money into making a memorable experience for you and your guests!
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