Planning an event is exhausting. Whether it's a wedding, a vow renewal, a large birthday party, or any other type of gathering, you have a lot on your plate.
Speaking of what's on your plate, have you considered your event food options?
Having the right food options can be a make-or-break for your event. We're here to talk about how you can make decisions that will keep your guests happy and well-fed. Read on to learn more.
Start With a Guest List
Whenever you're hosting an event that requires catering, you need to start with an accurate guest list. This will determine how much food that you'll have available at your event.
Make sure to include everyone at the event. If you have people working for you at the event (such as photographers or DJs), it's polite to have food for them as well if it's possible to do so.
It's helpful to overestimate the amount of food that you're going to need. It's always better to have too much rather than not enough. That said, make sure that you ask guests to RSVP with accurate numbers far ahead of time so you can get the best possible idea of how much food to serve.
Note Dietary Restrictions
When it's your event, you get to decide what kind of food that you want to offer. That said, part of being a good host is making sure that you have something available for people who have dietary restrictions.
When you ask guests to RSVP, have an area where they can write down any restrictions that they may have. This can include religious dietary restrictions, allergies, intolerances, or ethical restrictions (such as veganism or vegetarianism).
Not every item on the food menu has to fit into these restrictions, but you should have an acceptable meal ready for them.
Sometimes fitting these dietary restrictions is easy. Many vegan food options are already halal and kosher by default, and they suit people who are lactose intolerant.
The last thing that you want at your event is an allergic reaction or someone who has to bring their own snacks because there's nothing edible for them at your table.
What Type of Meals?
So what meals are you serving?
Make sure that the meals are appropriate for the time of day. Morning events should have brunch or breakfast foods while afternoon and night events have more menu flexibility.
Do you want a buffet-style meal or individual plated meals?
When it comes to buffet-style meals, these are great for people who want to mix and match their foods. They're also good for people who have different-sized appetites. Make sure that you label all foods with their corresponding dietary restrictions.
Individual plates are often more affordable and they allow your caterers to curate a perfect meal. They are, however, harder to modify and they aren't ideal for people with smaller appetites (like children).
Talk to your catering company about their available meal-type options.
Finger Foods and Snacks
While the meal is the main event, it's a good idea to have a variety of snacks available for your guests to enjoy throughout the event. But what kinds of snacks should you include?
It's helpful to include healthy food options for snacks, such as vegetables, fruits, and healthy dips. These snacks are mess-free and easy to grab and hold on a plate while navigating the event.
Aim for things that won't make a mess. You want to avoid items with sauces or powders that may get on people's hands or clothing.
Again, this is a great reason to talk to your caterers about what they have available. They have plenty of event experience and they know what the best snack items will be.
Drinks: What to Include
What about beverages?
Many people overlook the importance of a good drink menu when they're planning their events, but don't be fooled, this is just as important as planning your meal.
Make sure that you always have water available, even when it isn't time for a meal. You want all of the attendees at your event to stay healthy and hydrated.
If you're going to have wine, talk to a professional about ideal wine pairings for your food. You'll be shocked at the difference that a well-paired meal and wine can make to your event.
Make sure that you have drinks (beyond water) for people who don't consume alcohol. It's not ideal to leave people out just because they choose not to drink.
We recommend having a variety of soft drinks and a few "mocktails" if you have a cocktail menu. If you're serving champagne, consider having sparkling cider as well for those who aren't partaking in alcohol.
It's also always a good idea to have coffee and tea available throughout the event (especially if it's in the morning or afternoon).
Keeping It Simple
You don't have to go above and beyond for your event meals if you don't want to. While there's something to be said for high-end luxury meals, many people prefer foods that they can recognize.
If you want pasta for your event, go for it. If you want a simple breakfast bar, there's nothing wrong with that. Don't feel obligated to have fancy meals to impress your guests if those meals don't align with your own preferences.
Choose the Best Food Options for Your Event
If you want your event to be a success, make sure that you think carefully about your food options. You want everyone to be able to eat the food that you serve!
Remember: consider dietary restrictions, get an accurate headcount, have the right beverages, and talk to your catering company when you're unsure of what to do. You're sure to have a successful event and happy attendees!
Are you ready to start planning your event? At Buckingham Farms, we have a full-service event space just for you. Contact us so we can start working together today.