Best. Holiday. Party. Ever.

We love December. As a catering company, we’ve had the pleasure of executing some really memorable parties during the holiday season. We wanted to share some of that December love and holiday know-how with you this week.

We thought we’d share some tips and tricks for throwing a perfect party this holiday season. And if the task of planning your own party seems a bit daunting (especially if you have in-laws to impress), at least you know you can always drop us a line  to help you every step of the way!

Catering is 90% planning and 10% execution. Make it easy on yourself: plan your work and work your plan. Most of the time, we plan some of our larger events as far as six weeks in advance. We make lists. We check them twice. If you don’t want to miss a thing like 1998 Aerosmith: live by the list, die by the list.

Blank cookbook and spices on wooden table
We suggest grabbing a notebook and making it your party playbook. Within the playbook, you can determine the number of guests, the RSVP list, the time of the party, room layout, seating, a rolodex of suppliers and places to shop, “planned tablescapes” and any other fine details along the way. You can even sketch mockups of decorations and draft your invitations!

Want a quick way to make really great invitation cards? Check out Moo.com.

BUDGET

Setting yourself up with a budget gives you a clearer vision of your final result. Check food prices online or shop and compare at your local market or grocer. Downloading apps like PC Plus can help you earn points and save money on groceries. For kitchen utensils and supplies, shop like a chef at places like Tap Phong or look online for “wholesale suppliers” in your area. You can usually buy things like disposable cutlery in bulk at a reduced cost. Using an online drink calculator, such as this one, can help you buy the right amount of drinks without overbuying – not that having a few bottles of leftover Prosecco has ever been a problem for anyone.

menu planning

Here’s a checklist for you to consider when planning your menu:

  • What is the reason for celebrating? Casual or elegant? Small bites of miniaturized comfort food or a ten course Andalusian tasting menu?
  • Do you have a willing-to-try-anything audience ready to step outside of their comfort zone for a new experience? Or are you entertaining your grandmother from Manitoba who demands spiralled ham and squash puree?
  • How much time do you have? Pick some signature dishes from your past, ones you’re really comfortable with making. Anything that can be made in advance for reheating or frozen before can save you time and energy.
  • Ask your guests about allergies and stipulations. Make sure you’ve got some vegetarian, pescatarian and gluten free options on there (this doesn’t mean rabbit food either: the basis for a lot of great cuisines rely on the beauty of vegetables).
  • Keep it seasonal and keep it regional. Buy local when you can and play with the seasons.
  • Remember guests eat more in cold weather than they do in warm weather so account for portions.
  • Do you have the right equipment? Enough space? Label everything as you make it with tape and a felt tip pen like the pros. This helps declutter your mind and fridge.
  • If it looks like you have to rent a rotisserie, maybe consider simply roasting in the oven instead. Rent from our friends at Chairman Mills.
  • If you’re looking for some fun recipe ideas to get you started: check out our menus and social media for inspiration!

You might consider hiring some help. Rental companies help reduce clean-up and event companies, such as our event design partners at spinradius, help reduce the headaches. We have a list of rental companies, musicians, florists, graphic designers, event coordinators and…caterers (pssst…that’s us!).

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Have any more questions about planning a party? Feel free to give us a shout! Was this whole article a shameless plug for our company to take care of the catering for you? Who’s to say? Certainly not us. Whatever the reason, whatever the celebration, we hope you perfect the art of the party for this upcoming holiday season! We’re wishing you a fortuitous, safe and especially fun December!

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