October 29, 2010

Savannah Events: Biggest Little Christmas Party

If you are a small business seeking an economical, effortless, and fun solution to your Christmas party blues, then join the fine folks at the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum for dinner and dancing at a Jingle Bell Rock like none other!

The Second Annual Biggest Little Christmas Party will be held Friday, December 17, 2010, at the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum

Cocktail hour begins at 6:30 p.m.

Holiday buffet opens at 7:30 p.m.

Dancing lasts until 11:00 p.m.

Tables of 10 are $350.00* and include the following:
  • A 4.5 hour event in the festively-decorated Rotunda
  • All table linens
  • Holiday centerpieces
  • A fully-stocked cash bar
  • Professional DJ
  • Hors d’oeuvres
  • Two-entrĂ©e holiday buffet
  • Dessert
Tell your friends and business colleagues about the Biggest Little Christmas Party, and make your reservations early! Last year this was a sold-out event with more than 240 guests from many Savannah-area businesses!
    Please note:
    • *Price does not include 7% sales tax.
    • A deposit of 50% is due at the time of reservation, and the balance is due by December 1, 2010.
    • You may purchase as many tables as you like, based on availability and they will be situated together.
    • You may seat less than 10 people, but the price will remain the same.
    • Should you need to cancel your Christmas party reservation, cancellations prior to November 1, 2010, will be fully refundable. After that time, 50% of your deposit will be forfeited.
    For more information, or to reserve your party, please call The Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum Events Department at 912.748.8888 x124 or x160.

    October 22, 2010

    Catering Tips: Service Options

    We've mentioned plated menus, buffets, and passed hors d'oeuvres when discussing menu planning, but what exactly do these terms mean? The following is an explanation of the different types of services Paul Kennedy Catering offers:

    This type of meal is common for wedding receptions. Much like at restaurants, servers deliver individual plates of food to guests, often in separate courses.

    Plated dinner

    A popular choice for many types of events, buffets allow choosy guests to decide from a variety of menu options and heavy eaters to return for seconds (just make sure to take this into account when deciding on your food quantities, and order a bit extra).

    Buffet reception
    Stations are a great way to add action to an event. Tables of food are spread throughout an event venue, and guests travel from one table to the next to choose from multiple options.

    Attended carving station
    Unattended shrimp cocktail station

    Hors d'oeuvres
    Hors d'oeuvres are often served before the main meal, either passed by a server, set as a station, or a mix of both. Heavy hors d'oeuvres can also be served in lieu of a main meal, especially at corporate functions and receptions held during non-dinner hours.

    Passed hors d'oeuvres
    Set & Go Delivery
    Delivered hot or cold, Set & Go catered meals are a nice way to feed a smaller crowd, especially for a workplace lunch.

    Set & Go boxed salads

    Do you have a question you want to see answered on this blog? Ask us! Send us an email, tweet, or Facebook comment, and we'll answer in a future post.

    October 15, 2010

    Catering Tips: Developing a Guest List

    Last week we discussed how to prepare for unexpected guests at your event because many aspects of your function hinge on the number of people you have in attendance. Your guest list is the most important component in your overall costs and staying within your budget, so it needs to be one of the first decisions you make in the planning process.

    From a catering perspective, the cost of your meal is dependent on three factors: the price of the food (steak versus chicken), the price of serving it (buffet versus plated), and the number of guests. Here are three considerations for compiling your guest list:
    • Budget. What is the grand total you want spend on your event? How many guests do you think you want to invite? Divide the total budget by number of potential guests to discover your price per person allotment. Many wedding and event services are priced by the person. Can the number you found accommodate the costs of food, tables, chairs, linens, cake servings, etc.? If not, you'll either have to increase your overall budget or decrease your guest count.
    • Venue. If you've already decided where your event will take place (or have an idea of where you want it to be), will it accommodate the number of guests you're planning to invite? An event in an intimate garden locale will dictate a much smaller guest count than a large ballroom affair.
    • Importance. Decide who is an "absolutely must-have," who is a "would like to have if I can afford it," and who is a "not welcome" guest at your event. Be very specific. Are you going to invite coworkers, casual friends, extended family, children, or unmarried dates? Narrow down your list accordingly, and be firm about who does or does not receive an invitation.

    Image courtesy of Allison Reisz Photography

    Do you have a question you want to see answered on this blog? Ask us! Email, tweet, or comment on Facebook, and we'll answer in a future post.

    October 8, 2010

    Catering Tips: Preparing for Unexpected Guests

    We received an excellent question this week from Facebook: How do you prepare for unexpected guests?

    This subject is often a concern because the number of guests in attendance affects so many aspects of your event, from food quanities to rentals to the room layout and beyond. The type of function (corporate, social, or wedding) and the style of the meal (reception, buffet, or plated) also play a role.

    Of course, the simplest answer comes from the old adage, "the best defense is a good offense." Try to be as vigilant as possible in collecting and tracking RSVPs from those you invite. There are several ways to accomplish this:
    • Make it as easy as possible for guests to RSVP. If they are to reply by mail, provide a pre-addressed, stamped envelope for their response. If they are to reply online, provide an alternative phone number for those who are not technologically savvy. 
    • Specifically ask potential guests to tell you exactly how many people will be attending, whether they are adults or children, and what they wish to eat (if you are offering choices). The more detailed the information you request up front, the easier it will be for you to narrow down an accurate guest count.
    • Set a deadline, and follow up with every person who does not respond by it. For a wedding, etiquette suggests that neither the bride nor the groom does this task, but rather have a family member, close friend, or your wedding planner do it. No matter who carries out the follow-up, it is a vital step, and the person charged with the task should not take "maybe" for an answer!
    • If you are hosting a corporate event or fundraising gala, hire someone to strictly enforce the guest list at the door. (Note: This is NOT recommended for weddings.)
    While ideal, we understand that a 100% accurate guest count is not always possible; however, we can only accommodate overages to a certain degree. When in doubt, give a higher guest estimate than you've confirmed, and bring to-go containers to take home the extra food. Only you know your guest list and whether those on it are likely to attend unexpectedly or bring uninvited guests of their own. Plan your function style and menu options based on this information as well. Do not have a plated dinner if you cannot be very sure about your guest count, as this is the most difficult style to adjust at the last minute.

    Do you have a question you want to see answered on this blog? Ask us! Email, tweet, or comment on Facebook, and we'll answer in a future post.

    October 1, 2010

    Catering Tips: Creating a Room Diagram

    Image courtesy of Allison Reisz Photography
    When planning an event of any kind, whether it be a corporate holiday party, conference, or a wedding reception, indoors or outdoors, in a banquet hall or under a tent, it benefits everyone involved in the planning and execution of your event to have a diagram of the overall room arrangement. The drawing should be well-labeled, answering each of the following questions, as applicable:
    • Where will each guest table go?
    • Where will the head/sweetheart/reserved table(s) go?
    • How many chairs/guests will be at each table?
    • Which meal has each guest chosen (for a plated reception)?
    • Where will the sign-in/guest book/gift/favor/place card tables go?
    • Where will the large decor/plants go?
    • Where will the bar go?
    • Where will the DJ/band/stage/speaking platform/podium go?
    • Where will the dance floor go?
    • Where will the cake table go?
    • Where will the appetizer/buffet/action station/non-alcoholic drink tables go?
    From a catering perspective, having a detailed, clearly-labeled rendering of your room layout helps us know in advance where to set up the buffet or action stations and saves time and confusion the day of your event. We won't accidentally put the shrimp cocktail display on the cake table or set up your sweet tea where the favors should have gone and waste the time of the catering or another vendor's staff rectifying the situation. For a plated meal, we use the number of people seated at each table to determine how many servers to bring and assign to each table or section. Additionally, if you're assigning seats for a plated meal, you'll guests will have chosen their meal ahead of time. Label each seat on your diagram with the meal that guest has chosen to increase the timeliness in which your guests are served.

    There are several resources to help you plan a room diagram:
    • If you are working with an event planner, he/she will usually do this for you as part of the service you contracted.
    • If not, or if you are doing the planning yourself, start by asking your venue's coordinator if there is a diagram template of the room's structure. This is the easiest and most accurate way to account for the room's dimensions and any irregularities in its shape.
    • Talk with each of your vendors about their own space and table needs, and have a walk-through with them, if necessary. Let their professional experience guide you through the process; they work on events every day and know the best "flow" and set-up for their services to function at their prime.
    • Add and label these and any additional tables and important elements you're using to the diagram, and send it and your timeline to your venue and all of your vendors before your event to ensure the smoothest set-up possible.
    • Use a free, online room diagram service, such as Seating Arrangement, to design your floor plan, assign guest seating, manage RSVPs, and send the information electronically to your vendors.
    Screen shot of Seating Arrangement's "Floor Plan" Tutorial