Choosing a Wedding Caterer? Here are Five Things to Remember

When choosing a wedding caterer, you’re choosing the vendor who will provide you with one of the most important and memorable components of your big day. Indeed, if there’s one part of the reception that will stand out in the minds of your guests, it’s the food. But choosing a caterer isn’t just about picking food; there are actually a few different considerations you should make as you try to find the best caterer for your big day.

Here are five things we recommend you keep in mind.

Menu Flexibility

A lot of caterers have a few standard, pre-set options that they can provide—menu items they’ve perfected and found to be crowd-pleasers. That’s great, unless you have a family-favorite dish that you’re just dying to have at your wedding. Make sure your caterer can offer some flexibility—providing you not only with a nice variety of options, but also the chance to request your own spin on things.

Bar Services

Does your caterer provide a bar service—and if so, what options are available to you in terms of specialty cocktails? Make sure you know what you’re looking for by way of drinks, and ask your prospective caterer for a run-down of what they do.

Dishes, Etc.

Always ask whether your caterer provides things like plates, glassware, and utensils—and if so, what the fee is. This is a significant part of the catering cost, so it’s something you’ll want to be clear on before you make your decision.

Linens

Along the same lines, make sure you ask about linen provisions. You want to make sure the linens are good-quality—i.e., floor-length, in most cases. Ask about fees, too!

Experience and Customer Satisfaction

One final note: Menu options and linen prices aside, not all caterers are created equal—and to make sure your big day is special, it’s wise to seek someone with a proven track record and an excellent customer service mentality. Ask for credentials and referrals, but also listen to your gut instinct. If you simply don’t like working with a particular caterer, that’s all the reason you need to look elsewhere.

Of course, we are always happy to talk with you about our own catering services and our rich, long-lasting experience. Reach out to Mosteller Events today to start the conversation, or to request a quote.

5 Things to Remember As You Plan Your Wedding Menu

wedding-reception-1967373_1920What will your guests remember the most about your wedding day? Well, they’ll remember the music. They’ll remember the happy couple, smiling and glowing. And they’ll remember the food. What that means for you is that it’s vital that you plan a really appealing menu—one that will provide plenty of fond memories both for you and your guests.

Of course, planning a menu for such a large group of people can be daunting. Here are five pointers we’d recommend you keep in mind as you brainstorm your wedding day menu—five pointers that we hope will provide clarity and confidence.

Guidelines for Your Wedding Menu

It’s Not Just About You

Yes, this is your big day—but it’s also a big party, and you’re hosting it. You need to think about your guests, and create a menu that the people on your guest list will like. This might mean some kid-friendly options, and it might mean some crowd pleasers—like surf and turf, for example—to make sure everyone can find something they love.

The Timeline Counts

How do you envision your wedding reception progressing? A two-course meal, with a quick speech or two, will probably last about an hour and a half. Use that as a baseline, and either shorten or lengthen your dinner service to accommodate the rest of your reception events.

Consider the Cocktails

Your cocktail hour can also have an impact on the meal itself; if you have a longer cocktail hour with a lot of appetizers served, that means you can probably get away with fewer courses in the meal itself.

Don’t Neglect Your Budget

Food will probably be one of the bigger chunks of your wedding budget, but even so, you can make choices here to either splurge or cut back a little, just depending on what your priorities are.

Think Seasonally

Finally, think in terms of the time and place where you’ll be getting married, as that can dictate what you ultimately want to serve. Opt for seasonal ingredients, and food selections that make sense for the time of year.

Talk to the Pros

Here’s a bonus thought: You can call the Mosteller Events catering team any time to talk more about the available options. We’d love to be part of your wedding day planning—so contact us any time!

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7 Ways to Cut Costs for Your Wedding Cocktail Hour

petit-fours-1566255_1280Catering is one of the most important ingredients of your big day; it’s one of the things that sets the stage for your reception, one of the things guests will remember the most. As such, it is perhaps unsurprising that food costs typically make up a big chunk of the total wedding budget. Of course, there are always ways to reduce these expenses, and one especially good one is to take a look at the cocktail hour. There may be some simple tweaks you can make to make the cocktail hour more cost-effective.

We’ll show you what we mean.

Pass out pricier appetizers by hand. Rather than allowing guests to serve themselves cocktail shrimp buffet-style, pass around a cup of shrimp to each guest; this is a great way to curb the amount that your guests consume without appearing chintzy or ungenerous.

Offer big salads and grilled vegetables. Vegetable spreads can be tasty, colorful, and vibrant—but also inexpensive. Again, you can offer your guests real generosity without breaking the bank.

Focus on the crowd-pleasers. Mac and cheese in martini glasses, mini grilled-cheese Panini sandwiches, small crab cakes… these are all enduringly popular items, and they don’t cost all that much. It’s a win-win!

Don’t get every type of seafood. Ask your caterer to help you land on one or two affordable options. You may find that shrimp costs half as much as scallops, for example—and if so, there’s not necessarily any need to have both.

Skip the cheese plate altogether. Your guests are familiar with cheese plates. They have them at every office party and holiday gathering. No need to spend a lot of money on this item.

Pass on the carving station, too. Ham and roast beef are too heavy to be considered appetizers anyway. Don’t let them add to your catering budget.

Serve food on interesting plates. Tapas-style dishes, for example, will allow you to add some style and flare to your cocktail hour without adding much to the budget.

You can have a really magical cocktail hour without ballooning your total catering costs. For more ideas, contact our catering team directly. Reach out to Mosteller Events today!

Planning for Dietary Restrictions at Your Catered Event

salad-374173_1280Any time you’re organizing a catered event, you obviously want to please as many people as possible. That’s why most catered meals come with different options, allowing each guest to pick and choose the things that sound most appealing. Of course, as you consider the different options you provide, it’s also important to take dietary restrictions into consideration.

Simply put, different people follow different guidelines for the food they consume. Sometimes, these are matters of preference, but in other cases they’re real health concerns. Regardless, your catered options should provide options that accommodate all of your guests.

If you’re aware of any specific dietary restrictions, it’s imperative to let the caterer know. In some instances, it might be wise to ask about dietary restrictions as you take reservations for the event. In other instances, you might simply instruct the caterer to ensure there are options for everyone, spanning as many dietary frameworks as possible.

Which Special Diets Should You Consider?

In terms of specific dietary needs, consider each of the following:

Gluten-free diets. Gluten-free isn’t just a health trend; for those with Celiac disease and other digestive conditions, it’s imperative.

Lactose intolerance. You’ll want to have some dining options that are dairy-free.

Nut allergies. It’s also important to cover those with hypersensitivity to various nuts. Note that Peanut Allergy is in a distinct category due to its severity.

Paleo. Those who follow the paleo lifestyle cannot consume dairy, grains, sugar, or alcohol.

Vegetarianism and Veganism. Both of these lifestyles are fairly common, enough so that you’ll definitely want to consider them at any catered event.

Handling Food Preferences

Remember that your guests, no matter their particular dietary choices, taken them seriously and expect you to take them seriously, too—which is why all of these food preferences should be treated as allergies. Don’t feel like you can fudge any of them; instead, be rigorous in ensuring that you have a caterer who will truly help guests with dietary needs and preferences feel comfortable and welcome.

That’s something the Mosteller Events catering team can assist you with. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help meet different dietary needs.

Plan a Catered Event That Will Impress Your Guests

cateringAre you familiar with the phrase rubber chicken circuit? It’s an expression used by busy professionals who travel frequently and attend a lot of networking events and catered meetings—and who find that, generally speaking, the quality of food at such events leaves something to be desired.

When you’re planning a catered event, whether professional or social, you don’t want people to describe your menu with such a dismal phrase—but how can you avoid it? How can you plan a catered event that will knock your guests’ socks off?

Know Your Guests

The first step is to come up with a basic profile of who’s attending your event. Will it be mostly young professionals? Older folks? People who attend many such events? Think in terms of the demographic breakdown of your guests’ age, ethnicity, and background.

From there, you can make some educated guesses about your guest preferences. Older folks might like a milder menu, while young people might prefer spicy and daring. If you know that many of your guests will be health-conscious, then some light and vegetarian options might be good.

Provide Choice

Something else we recommend is allowing your guests some options. This makes it more likely that everyone will get something they want. A few rules of thumb:

  • We recommend at least two options for entrée, ideally three.
  • For salads, offer multiple dressing options, on the side.
  • Serve all condiments on the side.
  • Offer a couple of dessert options, too—one that’s indulgent, one that’s comparatively light.

Also be aware of any dietary needs that might be represented at your event—food allergies, food intolerance, Paleo or Whole 30 lifestyles, etc. You may need to provide options that accommodate these dietary needs, as well.

Aim to Impress

A few additional tips we’d offer:

  • Ask your caterer to incorporate as many fresh, seasonal, and local ingredients as possible to give the menu a wow
  • Consider a regional or ethnic menu, if you want your food to really stand out from the more typical catered fare.
  • Also think in terms of event schedule: If your guests only have 30 minutes to eat, a box lunch makes a lot more sense than a full buffet.

Use these tips to guide you toward a truly memorable—and exciting—catered presentation. Also, enlist our help: Contact Mosteller Events today to learn more about our event catering services!

5 Reasons to Hire a Catering Company

cateringNo matter the size or scope of your private party—whether it’s a lavish fundraiser or simply a get-together among friends—food is essential to ensuring that everyone remains happy throughout the festivities. There are different ways to prepare and serve food at your party, of course, and the one we hope you’ll consider is hiring a catering company.

Of course, catering companies aren’t just for weddings, and they offer advantages that you won’t get if you try to make all the food yourself. Consider five of the big benefits that hiring a catering company can bring.

Why Hire a Catering Company?

  1. You can reduce your stress. Planning the food service for a large group of people is a big undertaking—and when you’re already trying to ensure that your party space is clean and well-decorated, the cumulative effect can be considerably stressful. A good caterer will essentially take all the food responsibilities off your plate (so to speak), and allow you to focus your attention elsewhere. In other words, it’s one less thing for you to stress about.
  2. You can save time. Just imagine what all you could get done if you didn’t have to go to the grocery store, prepare food, or serve it. Well, when you hire a catering company, you don’t have to imagine.
  3. You can ensure a diverse menu. A catering company will be able to put together a list of foods that go well together, but still offer the guests some options—and also accommodate different dietary needs, if applicable.
  4. You’ll know that every detail is being attended to. Catering companies don’t just offer food; they see to all aspects of the food service, including logistics and presentation. You don’t have to worry about any of that, yet you know it’s all being handled satisfactorily.
  5. You’ll make a statement. When you cater an event, that’s something that’ll stick with your guests. They will remember the event as a really special and important one—and isn’t that part of your goal in hosting the event?

Ask Us About Our Catering Service

We’d love to talk with you more about the benefits of hiring a catering company like Mosteller Events. Contact us at your leisure to get the conversation started!

4 Planning Mistakes That Can Derail Your Company Holiday Party

bow-595868_1280Being placed in charge of the company holiday party is no small thing. Actually, you have a pretty awesome responsibility to create an environment that is fun, memorable, and inclusive—the kind of party that bolsters everyone’s spirits and makes each employee feel glad to be part of the team.

As you plan this year’s holiday party—something that you are hopefully already doing—keep in mind some of the biggest planning blunders that can cause your party to fall flat. These are the things you want to avoid!

Mistake #1: Delaying the planning process. We’ve already hinted at this one: The time to start planning the party is yesterday. Some companies start planning their holiday gatherings as early as January, believe it or not—and while you don’t necessarily have to begin that early, you should start planning by summer or early fall so that you can secure the venue and vendors you want and potentially score better deals.

Mistake #2: Relying too heavily on alcohol. There’s certainly nothing wrong with serving drinks at your party, but don’t make that the only reason for participants to be pumped about attendance. Food, music, and entertainment are all critical. Trust us: You really don’t want a party where people have nothing to do but drink.

Mistake #3: Scrimping on the food. Speaking of which, if there’s any part of your party that you really want to spend top dollar on, make it the food—because honestly, that’s what people will remember. That’s what people will talk about. That’s what will make your party a hit!

Mistake #4: Not publicizing your party. Start spreading excitement for your party now! Let people know that something fun is on the way. Send out save-the-dates several weeks before the party arrives. Don’t make the party something people find out about at the last minute.

So what are you waiting for? If you don’t have a venue and a caterer lined up, start there! Contact us today to ask about the availability of Mosteller Events. Remember: It’s never too early to start planning the perfect holiday party!

Planning a Catered Lunch for Your Office

salad-777791_640It’s always fun when lunch is provided for all the employees at your place of work; no matter what the food is, it makes the day feel special, just a little bit out of the ordinary—perhaps even fun! But of course, there’s a lot of work that needs to happen in order to make that fun happen. And if you’re in charge of planning the catered lunch, that work falls to you.

What do you need to do to make sure the day is special, that the catered lunch goes off without a hitch? Consider a few basic pointers:

  • Get a final headcount. This is an obvious point, but so important: You don’t want anyone to be left out. You don’t want anyone with hurt feelings and a rumbling tummy. Make sure you check the headcount before the event, and make it clear that people who haven’t signed up by a certain time simply won’t have meals provided.
  • Provide options… but not too many. It’s great to get input on what people want to eat, but if you leave things open-ended—“So what do you guys want to eat?”—you’re going to get a thousand different answers, which is unhelpful. Instead, speak with your caterer about a handful of options, and present them to your co-workers to be narrowed down.
  • Consider the location. The room in which you hold your lunch matters. Think in particular of the layout. Will lunch be served while a meeting or presentation is being held? If so, make sure the food service table is not on the same end of the room as the presentation.
  • Consider time restraints. If you’ve only got a narrow window for your lunch, consider menu items that don’t require a lot of setup or preparation… things that can be set out for serving pretty much as is.
  • Remember, you need more than food. Napkins, wet wipes, perhaps even some mints—all of these can be nice touches to make your catered lunch special.

At Mosteller Events, we work with a lot of catered office functions, and would love to lend further expertise. Call us today with any questions you still have, or to plan a menu for your catered office event!