If you’re planning an event, whether big or small, you understand that the planning can be overwhelming. There are so many things to cover like picking a venue, hiring vendors, sending out invitations, etc., but one of the most important parts about any event is the food.
Private Event Catering Menu Style
The first thing you need to determine is menu style. This is particularly important for evening events.
Plated – This is going to be your most formal option and one that we feel works best when hosting an awards banquet or some sort of presentation during dinner. The reason being, plated dinners include table service which will help prevent your guests from walking back and forth for food while someone is addressing your group, as a whole.
Family Style – This type of service has become very popular in recent years because it’s less formal than a plated meal and it allows a casual and comfortable setting at any event. This type of style brings the food to your table but allows each person to pass around dishes and serve themselves.
Buffet – Going with a buffet menu is a great in-between. It allows your guests to help themselves as they arrive to the event, but also provides the full plate. Buffets are great because they allow your guests to match their dinner choice to their individual tastes and appetites. Buffets are also great for groups that are going to flow in and out.
Heavy Hors D’oeuvres/Reception Style – This is by far the most popular option that we see here at Riverbanks. Going this route allows you to create a diverse menu and allows your guests to socialize, mingle and help themselves throughout the event.
Tailor your menu selections for your own private event catering
Picking a menu for a group, whether large or small, can be challenging. Choosing a menu isn’t just about finding something that will keep your guests full – it is part of the experience. When planning an event, it’s important to keep your guests’ preferences in mind which is why we always suggest working towards a menu that will accommodate lots of different tastes.
Plated – If you’re going with a plated menu and you want to give your guests a choice of entree, then you’ll need to plan on requesting that information from them ahead of time. You’ll also need to provide name cards for each guest specifying the individual’s entree selection and/or assigning guests table numbers and seats. If you’re looking to do plated, but don’t want to mess with counts and table assignments, you can always do a duo-plate option.
Family Style & Buffet – With both of these menu styles, we recommend choosing at least two entrees and at least one salad, starch, and vegetable. Both of these options can be scaled up or down to match the formality of your event but buffets tend to feel less formal of the two. Since both of these options allow guests to serve themselves it’s important that you choose selections appealing to the masses and when in doubt, go for a third entree or add a second starch and vegetable.
Heavy Hors D’oeuvres/Stations – This type of menu style allows a lot of room for variety. We suggest starting with at least 3 hors d’oeuvres and 1 display, carving and action station. Breaking it down into a few smaller choices can help make choosing a menu feel less overwhelming and will also give you the assortment you’re looking for.
Choose additional catering enhancements to make your private event even more special!
Once you’ve determined the type of menu style best suited for your group and selected your menu items, you can now focus on any enhancements you may want to have.
Butler Passed Hors D’oeuvres – This is a great way to welcome your guests and let them go ahead and get a bite while they make their way through the room and say hello to all of the other event guests.
Dessert – A lot of time dessert can be forgotten so don’t let those with a sweet tooth down. Dessert can be a great way to add fun items to your menu; from cobbler to assorted dessert bars to s’mores, the possibilities are endless.
Signature Cocktail – Adding a signature cocktail to bar service is a great way to add your personal touch. If you don’t have a personal cocktail preference, you can always look to current cocktail trends or choose a cocktail perfect for the season.
For more information about catering for a private event at Riverbanks Zoo & Garden, give us a call at 803.602.0900 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.