When planning a special event, it is important to make sure that the meal service fits your venue. You have several options available to choose from, including buffet, family style and passed hors d'ouevres. Here are some things to consider when selecting a menu for your reception hall or venue to make sure that the meal and the event goes smoothly.
What Type Of Event Are You Hosting?
While weddings lend themselves to a number of meal service options, other formal events are a bit trickier to plan meal services for. If you are hosting a fundraiser or corporate event, you may want to avoid family-style service and other more casual dining options. For a black tie event, consider plated meals that are served to your guests. At a corporate event, you may want to consider buffet options, as they allow for more mingling between guests. For an award ceremony, consider having your guests served their meal, as this will keep everyone in their seats for award presentations.
Do You Have A Seating Chart?
Seating charts are crucial if you are offering plated meals that your guests select ahead of time, as this makes it easier for your servers to ensure the right meals go to each guest. If you are serving family-style dinner or a buffet, you won't need to have the seating chart. A cocktail reception won't likely have traditional table and chair settings, so you can also forego the seating chart in this situation as well.
How Much Space Do You Have?
If you choose a smaller room but still anticipate a lot of guests, a cocktail reception with hors d'ouevres may be the best option. You can use pub-height tables for guests to rest their drinks while they eat, which reduces the amount of floor space you will need for seating arrangements. For large rooms, you can consider more traditional sit-down meals for your guests. Be sure to plan around a dance floor or head table area when considering how much space you have for tables, as you want to make sure that your guests have enough room to move freely between tables.
What Type Of Dietary Needs Do Your Guests Have?
While many party hosts try to have menu options that are vegetarian- and allergy-friendly, it can be difficult to plan a formal event if many of your guests have dietary restrictions. You may want to consider setting up food stations throughout your event that keep foods separated by type to make it easier for your guests to choose foods that fit their diet restrictions. For example, have a food station that offers only gluten-free options and another that offers vegan menu selections. Be sure that each station is labeled clearly and is separated by plenty of space so it is easy for people to find the right foods for their needs.
Talk with the event coordinators at the reception halls in your area to find the venue that offers a range of food service options so you can select the one that fits your event theme, the needs of your guests and the space you have available for your party. Contact a local caterer, like McHale's Events & Catering, for more help.