With summer around the corner, your calendar is probably filling up fast — especially if you live in an area with cold winters. Summer tends to be a distinctly more active and busy time. There are so many people scheduling events and parties, from weddings and bar mitzvahs to corporate picnics and graduation parties. One by one the invitations arrive in your mailbox (or inbox), and one by one you mark those dates on the calendar.
There might even be one or two extra important dates on the calendar. Why extra important? Because on those dates, the host of the party or gathering is you. Even if you’re not the host, you’re responsible for organizing the party in some way. The importance of a successful event can hardly be overstated in this situation. You want it to be special. You want everyone to have a good time. If it’s a corporate event or a wedding, the pressure can feel particularly strong.
So how do you make that summer party or gathering an absolute success? There isn’t a simple, “sound bite” answer that works in every situation. But there are a couple of basic principles that will absolutely steer you in the right direction.
1. Research caterers carefully
It seems obvious, but many people don’t realize it: There is a strong statistical connection between catering events in which things go wrong, and ultimately aren’t handled in a professional way, and the research methods used for choosing a professional caterer in the first place. Careful research up front (especially client reviews) will set your event up for success.
2. Understand your own event
Not really knowing what you want is alright — a professional catering outfit will be able to help you design a menu or even decide on a theme, if that’s something you’re interested in. Most people do however have an idea of what they want the catering to be like — and in this case, communicating your ideas to the caterer is of utmost importance.
3. Communicate openly and often with your caterer
This is related to the previous point. But it is also the caterer’s responsibility to elucidate clear communication and make sure your ideas and what will actually take place at the event are is closely aligned as possible, with as few misunderstandings as possible.
4. Ask about contingency plans and common problems
People often worry about things going wrong at their catered events. And why wouldn’t they? These are important moments in life, and it’s important to get reassurance from your caterer that things are going to run smoothly, even if there is an unexpected challenge.
Making the right call
There are probably dozens of catering companies in your area — and the simple fact is that your event will probably look and feel quite a bit difference, depending on who actually does the catering. If you put in the time and effort to find a truly skilled and experienced caterer, the rest of the process leading up to the event will be exponentially easier — and the event itself will almost certainly deliver where it counts.