3 Quick Tips to Make Any Event a Success!

After catering hundreds of events, I've learned a thing or two about some things that can either make or break any event. Often times, many people will make the same mistakes despite how much money was spent on the venue, decor, top-shelf liquor, floral arrangements, or the myriad of other details that will surely render plenty of ooohhhs and aaaahhhs as your guests walk through the door.

However, if I've seen it once, I've seen it a thousand times. No matter how dazzling the venue is and how great the music may have been, your guests will ultimately judge the event on the food and service. Don't be coy, we all know it's true. We've all been to that party where you expected there to be food, but the 'meal' consisted of cheese doodles and tortilla chips with jarred salsa... and it was awful. You didn't even enjoy that party because all you did was plot your escape so you could go eat somewhere - and that greasy fast food joint never tasted so good. It's OK to admit that you were scarred by that experience, we've all been there; we all share your pain.

We want your event, whether it's a business casual Meet and Greet, a back-yard baby shower, or an extravagant wedding to be the best it can possibly be. For this reason I'm sharing three quick, but very important tips to help ensure that your event is a hit!

1. Be Mindful of the Menu at Different Times of the Day

Make sure that the menu you're serving is appropriate for the time of your event, especially when you're asking people to attend during peak meal times. If you're scheduling a meeting or training session between 6 pm - 8 pm, offer something more substantial than a crudite platter and chips with hummus dip. It's dinner time, people have been working all day, and they're going to be hungry. You don't necessarily have to serve a full-blown meal, but be conscientious of your guest's appetite and offer slightly heavier snacks such as little sandwiches and chicken tenders in addition to that crudite platter, for example.

On the other hand, if you're hosting an event at 3 pm, it's perfectly appropriate to offer a light snack like cookies, coffee, and refreshments. However, if five hours are going to pass between the ceremony and the dinner service you've planned for your wedding celebration, plan to have refreshments available as soon as your guests arrive to the reception hall or they won't be able to hear all the hilarious yet tear jerking speeches given during the toast over their grumbling bellies.

2. Plan a Menu That Works for the Event

This may seem like an obvious point to make, but sometimes it's the most subtle details that escape our attention. If you're hosting a networking event where your guests will be standing around the entire time, don't serve a meal that they'd need to sit down and use a fork and knife in order to eat it. Serving finger foods that can be easily grabbed and eaten in a bite or two is ideal, but if you'd like to include a hot meal, make sure it can fit on a small manageable plate and served in bite-sized pieces.

In the event that your guests will be comfortably seated during their meal, take the level of formality of the event into consideration. Most of us love spaghetti and meatballs, but nobody wants to attempt to slurp up saucy noodles while wearing an expensive ball gown or your best suit and silk tie. Minimize the potential for a mess and a grumpy guest by serving that delicious meal with penne pasta instead, for example.

3. Don't Skimp on the Help!

We know that you want to make every dollar count and most importantly, you want to see where it all went! So it's only natural to put the bulk of the budget in all the places that will dazzle your guests the most such as coordinating table linens, centerpieces, floral arrangements, party favors, top shelf liquors, flashy DJs and entertainers, etc., but although all of those things are important, there's one thing people often ignore - getting good and plentiful help.

Think of your caterers, bartenders, and wait staff as the invisible hands that make your events run smoothly and allows you to truly relax and enjoy the fabulous event you've worked so hard to plan for weeks, months, or even all year! Don't let an otherwise successful event be overshadowed by the fact that dishes weren't being cleared from the tables due to a lack of waitstaff, there was a 20 minute wait to get a drink from the bar because only 2 bartenders were hired to serve 250 guests, or hungry guests had to wait half-an-hour in the buffet line that looked more like a 200 person conga line wrapping around the dining room because there weren't enough buffet attendants available to create two separate service areas to speed up the lines.

Make sure to leave some room in your budget planning to ensure that you'll be able to hire all the help you need. You won't regret it.

Planning a great gathering, whether it's work related or among friends can be stressful and time consuming sometimes, but taking a little extra time to take these details into consideration will really take a huge weight off your shoulders when it counts.