You’ve made the decision to cater your upcoming event, and you’re probably thinking that every aspect of your planning will be driven by your budget. Well, that’s not exactly accurate. While your budget determines how elaborate your event will be, your guest list defines and fine tunes your planning.
Whether your catered event is a business retreat or your best friend’s 50th birthday celebration, your final list of who will be part of your event can empower you by helping you to determine the menu, the venue, and the activities of the event. In fact, your guest list will help you to create the perfect event!
Special diets and meal preferences are the most obvious considerations when planning a menu for your guests. If you don’t already know for sure what these preferences are, make a point of reaching out to your guests to learn about any restrictions or preferences. Douglas K. Catering can adapt any menu to suit your guests’ needs.
You’ll also want to consider the age range of your guests. For instance, the menu you choose for your son’s high school graduation might be very different than the food you plan to serve at your best friend’s 50th birthday celebration. And if small children will be part of the affair, be sure to include finger foods that are appealing to tiny fingers and immature taste buds; go easy on the brie and liverwurst pâté!
Finally, if your guests have common values that you’re aware of, choose menu items that correspond with those values. While this may not always be possible, it’s worth doing when you can. For example, if you’re planning a gathering for your sister’s environmental group, choose as many fresh, seasonal, organic items as possible and (maybe) avoid our most decadent desserts!
Choosing the Right Venue
Even if you know that you want an outdoor event, will there be children in attendance who need a fenced-in area and some outdoor play equipment? Here are some additional examples of venue questions you may want to consider:
- If your guest list is large, does the venue have a sufficient number of bathrooms?
- Will there be older people who need to sit? If so, does the venue include comfortable folding chairs?
- Will you be asking people to speak? If yes, does the venue provide a P.A. system?
- Will you need an entryway that does not have steps?
- If the venue is outdoors, is there sufficient protection from extremely hot sun?
- Does the venue need to be accessible by public transportation?
- If you’re planning a function involving co-workers, such as a conference or retreat, does the venue include presentation equipment and/or other supplies, such as whiteboards, easels and markers?
Using your guest list to prompt you to make sure your venue has everything you need is smart and will make it easy for your guests to have a great time!
Planning Appropriate Activities and Entertainment
This step is accomplished very easily when you keep your guests in mind. If you’re planning activities, always be mindful of the age group and preferences of your guests. If you’re hiring a band, what kind of music will your guests most relate to and appreciate? If you think your guests would be open to being creative, consider activities that involve making art, storytelling, guessing games or dance competitions!
The key to planning activities and entertainment is to be mindful of what your guests will enjoy. Sometimes work retreats need complete, wacky getaways from brainstorming and goal-planning. Or, maybe hiring a juggler would be the perfect entertainment for kids!
Douglas K. Catering will help you in every stage of planning your event, and we encourage you not to let your guest list be just a list of names! Instead, if you remain mindful of your guest list throughout your planning, you empower yourself to create a menu, choose a great venue, and plan thoughtful and fun activities for a truly successful event!