Engaged Couples-Here are a few tips before you contract a caterer for your event. You should go into a consultation with your planner or caterer knowing how you would like to feed your guests. Keep the appetizer or horsdourves light and fresh and offer at least thirty to forty five minutes of service. Time your dinner service to begin approximately an hour after horsdourve service ends. Have your caterer pass them; it is worth the few extra dollars. If you are opting for a full reception dinner, you have three choices;
Buffet Sit down and Family style.
Buffets are a popular choice because it is normally more affordable. The meal can be a nice variety with more menu options for your guests to choose from but they will need to go through a buffet line and be scooped out food- which can be tacky. An open buffet will allow you to complete your dinner service in half the time. Some caterers do not like to do this because they need to provide extra food to allow for the lack of portion control. Always get your salad served- Do not let a caterer pre-serve by placing on the table hours before your event, especially if they are pre-dressed.
On a family style service, you do get the best of both. Catering will serve each course in large platters to each table for the guest to pass. You will need to carefully place your guests at a table where they can share a meal in enjoyment. This type of service tends to take longer than the other options because caterers don’t always provide as many servers as a sit-down service. Buca di Beppo in Station Square is probably Pittsburgh most popular example of Family-style service.
Sit-Down service is normally a favorite among the guests. Yes, you give customers their choice between a few items that will be plates and served to them during the event. The best way to have a sit-down dinner without complications is to make it easy and serve all with the same items. Ex: five ounce filet, a crab cake, a vegetable, salad and cake or dessert. The only exceptions would be special orders- for allergies, gluten free or children’s options. An intermezzo, gelato or granite is always a nice touch before the main entrée to cleanse the palette. Always make sure your caterers offer plenty of servers for your event: 1- 15 for a sit down or family style and 1 per every 25 for a buffet. New trends in sit down service are formation service where the staff will line up behind the head table area and serve each course at the same time in a uniform fashion. The George Washington Hotel in Washington, Pa. offer “formation style” services as an option on caterered events. They even throw in a little dance step! It makes a wonderful presentation. You can get more information at [email protected]
Think light when it comes to reception food because it just keeps coming– course after course. You don’t want the food service to eat up more than half your reception time. You also want your family and friends to feel satisfied not full so they can dance the night away. Best Wishes!