A lot of people make the mistake of booking the food for their party last, you really could end up disappointed. The caterer is one of the first 3 steps after booking your venue. Ever been to a party without food? When people drink, they want food, even if it’s just a burger. I’ve been to parties where nibbles and cake have been served, this is fine for a teenage house party but not if adults are invited, people will leave early in search of food, you don’t want this to happen. Consider your budget, your guests and what food you love. Choosing a buffet should be fun, choose the best one for your food tastes and budget. Get menus from a few caterers and compare them. Make sure your caterer is fully registered, insured, licensed and have a good hygiene rating. As soon as you know which caterer you want to work for you, get them booked, pay your deposit to save your date in their diary a.s.a.p. You don’t need your guest count or even your menu finalised to secure your date in the caterer’s diary. Make sure you get a confirmation of your booking and/or a receipt for your deposit.
Do; Hire a caterer. Catering is a lot of work and stressful work for those who don’t do it regularly. You don’t want to be frazzled for your party, you should enjoy your party and guests, not work it. Everyone remembers the food so make it memorable but it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg, there are great caterers out there, who will provide burgers and wedges along with a few flourishes, and your guests will be impressed.
Do; Find out if you have any guests attending with allergies or have dietary requirements like vegetarian, gluten free etc. and tell your caterer.
If you need a cake for your event, book it next. I’m hoping I’m not surprising you by saying this, but not all the best bakeries have shop fronts in your local village or town, some of the most amazing cakes I’ve ever had are from bakers who have their bakery in their own home kitchen. I know and have used quite a few and I’ve never been disappointed check Facebook for home bakeries, check their portfolio, hygiene rating, reviews and get that cake booked.
Are you having a DJ or live band? A clown or bouncy castle? A soloist or a string quartet? Whatever you have decided, do your homework, look at profiles and reviews. A great place to get free quotes from is FREEINDEX, they are the king for comparison shopping when shopping for services. I always get 5 quotes on FREEINDEX, that I can compare against each other. Other well-known sites you can get supplier quotes from charge the supplier extortionate prices just to respond to you, and so are not good if you want to compare quotes, you are unlikely to get more than 1 or 2.
When guests walk into your party, the wow factor immediately hits them through the ambience created by your venue dresser. SO, how do you want your room to look? what do you want? Something simple like colourful balloons? Something more romantic like flowers and candles? Or do you want to go all out with chair covers and sashes, tall candelabra’s, or even trees with lanterns tied in them. Whatever it is you want, a venue dresser has the ‘wildest dreams’ type of imaginations and are great people to bounce off your creative ideas.
Party invites should be sent out 8 – 6 weeks before the event date and your R.S.V.P. date should be at least 10 days before your party, you’ll find that your caterer will need final numbers by 7 – 5 days prior to the event date and once you get the guest count locked in, your caterer won’t be able to decrease your numbers only increase them.
Whether you have a beer or wine put behind the bar for your guests and hand out drinks vouchers in your invitations or you have a glass of bubbly on arrival for everyone. Your guests appreciate the thought that the first drink to get the party juices flowing is on you. If the bar at your venue doesn’t do arrival cocktails like bubbly or mimosa’s, then get your caterer to do it. If your venue doesn’t have a bar or you’re having your party in a marquee in the garden, you can hire a bar from an independent bar company or your caterer.
I’ve come across a lot of party favours in my time, from rolls of love hearts, lottery tickets, bags of chocolate covered fruit, popcorn bags, sweetie carts, cupcakes, cigars, luxury chocolates, the list goes on and on. Although party favours aren’t important and you don’t need them, they are appreciated by your guests especially when it’s a little quirky. Sweetie carts can be a more expensive choice for a party favour but people love it. A chocolate fountain is also a very welcome idea.