Over the years I’ve been able to do something I’ve always dreamed about doing---catering large and small events. I Love to create food and making someone’s special day memorable is pretty awesome. Several have asked how I prepare, plan, and execute these events while still being a mommy and keeping up with life at home.
Might I start by saying…I have a very supportive husband! He has often stayed up til wee hours of the morning helping me prep food and transport decorations and more. And, I’ve had incredibly supportive friends who have stepped in to help me serve, prep, clean up, and often watch my children.
When preparing for catering an event for someone there are a few steps that have helped me.
- Meet with them for a meal or just have a meeting to discuss specific desires, dislikes, and especially expectations. I have gotten way better at this especially after learning the hard way with some. Make sure to ask very specific questions to avoid issues during the event.
- Make sure you give your expectations to them in regards to money for food, hours you will be working, your pay, etc. (Over the years this has been a huge ministry for me, so I never knew what to charge nor did I have any clue what to do) I started by just saying, “Whatever you can pay is great.” That’s good, but I think having a fair base price is essential for your labor and for the sacrifices of your family too. People have NO CLUE how much catering really costs. It is ridiculous if you call business or search price stats on the internet! I like to keep the price as low as possible, but still make a little something from many hours.
- Make food for your own family and freeze ahead of time for the week of the event. This makes the stress less at home and allows your family to continue to function even when you are working a crazy busy schedule. Plus, you won’t have to think of what’s for dinner while you are preparing loads of food from tons of recipes for hundreds of people too.
- Keep up with your laundry. I know, seems silly, right? Actually this alone can help you keep organized and stay less stressed when you are at home.
- Take LOTS of notes. I mean…lots of notes. Notes about everything! I have a 3 ringed notebook that I’ve used over the years for lots of different events. I wrote down recipes I used, how many times I’d triple or x 10 and the proportions of changes etc. Grocery lists are easier if they are right in front of you.
- COMMUNICATE!!!! Communication is essential for any party or event you are throwing. Not only is it helpful for you as the caterer or hostess, but also for those attending. Make sure times are clear and expectations are given by you with what your agenda is going to be. If you have asked others to bring food items make sure you specify what you want or don’t want. This eliminates the frustration at the busiest times of an event.
- Be Creative! Food is food, and yes, if people are hungry they will eat. However, a huge art to catering or hostessing is making the food table presentable and beautiful. People are more likely to not act like pigs if someone is keeping it clean through the entire event.
- Use fresh flowers to add some pops of color and texture to any table piece.
Below are some pictures of events I’ve done over the years. It’s not an extensive list nor details, but maybe it would give you a few easy ideas for your next time of hosting a party.
Food table for a bridal shower at my home. Have people bring dishes to pass. It makes it much easier on you. Have a fun fresh flower bouquet to bring in the brides colors.
Displaying drinks in fun dispensers is so much prettier than 2 liters scattered every which way. Add fresh fruit to your water for some good flavor and for appearance.
Teen Valentine party—chocolate covered pretzels, strawberries, and cake pops. Use jars to hold candies or other fun food items.
Veggies don’t have to look bad. Display them on a nice silver tray. Fan out 7 layered jello with the colors of the wedding or bridal event.
Display the food on all heights of trays and bowls. It brings dimension to a table of food rather than a flat display. Your eyes tend to wander at all that is coming.
This is an Appetizer display before a recent reception. The hot ones weren’t plated yet. Fan your fruit all over scattered wax paper for a beautiful and fun display of color and healthy snacks.
Woodsy drink station
Love bird themed cupcake/candy bar
Candy and Cupcake bar (4 kinds of cake balls, 2 types of cupcakes, and chocolate covered strawberries)
Use a few sheets of wax paper and make a pretty fruit, veggie, & cheese display that will have people stuffing their faces with healthy foods!
Ladies construction themed yogurt bar
Use a big chalkboard to write the menu
Popcorn bar for a wedding
Ice cream cake and punch bridal shower fun
Ice cream bar at a girls night party at our home.
Rustic outdoor desserts
Barn themed pallet stacked tables
Vintage seating arrangement for a 50th anniversary
Winter woodsy table centerpiece
I love making food look pretty and hosting fun parties. So, let’s get creative and make our next festivity super fun!
Come back tomorrow and get a few tips that help me Keep the stock up—essentials to keep on hand in the kitchen.