Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Planning your Event

If you're an event planner, the caterer you choose will be a key partner in any project.

The Caterer's Job

Caterers can make or break a business meeting, conference, exhibition, wedding reception, or any other special event. They take responsibility for the food and beverages, as well as overseeing the staffing of servers, chefs, and others. Many caterers also handle event decoration, audiovisual equipment setup, and other key elements.
They may be independent operators or employees of a conference center, hotel, or restaurant. In either case, they handle all the logistics of food, beverage, decor, and entertainment, whether it's a cocktail hour or a formal sit-down dinner.

The Event Planner's Preliminary Work

By the time an event planner meets with a caterer, much of the preliminary work has been done.
The event planner understands in detail the type of event planned, its purpose, and its guest list. It might be serious or celebratory. It could be a business meeting or a bring-the-kids company bash. The guests might expect cocktails or vegan health drinks, a sit-down dinner or finger food.
As importantly, the planner knows the budget constraints.
All of that and more goes into choosing a venue that has the right size, location, facilities, pricing, and food and beverage services.

Deciding on a Menu

An event planner meets with the banquet or catering manager well ahead of an event to discuss the basics. A business meeting that will carry over into the afternoon may require box lunches, while a black-tie charity gala calls for a plated menu.
The planner and caterer then decide what they'll serve. An event planner needs to take into account the expectations of guests as well as the budget and should talk openly with the caterer about budget limitations. A good caterer can help create an event that looks elegant but isn't necessarily costly, with choices like using local seasonal produce.

Before the Event

While the catering manager takes care of the food, service staff and facilities, the event planner needs to keep in touch while researching and implementing a plethora of related details.
Transportation and on-site parking, the meeting agenda, audio-visual equipment needs, special menu requests, and last-minute changes all need to be ironed out before the event.

The goal must be to avoid last-minute surprises on either side. Menu substitutions, unexpected guests or drop-outs, and countless other snags can be taken care of before the big event.

Catering Lingo

Every industry has its jargon. Below are 10 common words and phrases—many of them borrowed from French chefs—that an event planner should know when talking to a caterer.
  1. A la carte: A variety of dishes priced individually;
  2. A la mode: A dessert topped with ice cream;
  3. Amuse-bouche: A bite-sized hors d’oeuvre; literally a “mouth amuser;”
  4. ApĂ©ritif: A light alcoholic beverage served before dinner to stimulate the appetite;
  5. Back of House: Everything your guests do not and should not see; the equivalent of "backstage;"
  6. BEO (banquet event order): The document that outlines the details and serves as a master plan to execute and communicate logistics to all departments;
  7. Bowl Food: Small bowls of food passed among guests during a casual reception;
  1. CanapĂ©: Bite-sized appetizers;
  2. Charger: Also known as the under plate, large decorative plates that dress up the table and mark each diner's place;
  3. Corkage: A fee charged per bottle for opening and serving wine brought in by the client;

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Choosing wine for your wedding

ImagePlanning a wedding involves a lot of preparation. There are countless things to take care of, including what wine to serve at your reception. To ensure your big day is a big hit, you need to guarantee two very important things: One, that you have enough wine and bubbly for all your guests and two, that people will actually enjoy drinking it. After all, there’s absolutely no point planning an exquisite meal only to be let down by a bad glass of wine.

Choosing the wine to serve at your wedding needn’t be a tough decision. We’ve put together some ideas that will help make your special day an event to remember.

Your Budget
No other factor will influence your wine decision quite as much as budget. The first thing you need to do is determine the total amount you can afford to spend and prepare a wishlist of varieties and vintages you’d like to serve. If you’re buying from a local cellar or bottle store, don’t be afraid to haggle and ask for a better deal (especially if you need to buy several cases) and always keep your eye out for sales. Another great idea is to jump online. You can find some great per-case bargains that might save you money.

The Menu
Choose the wine for your wedding like you’d choose a bottle to accompany any meal. Think about balance, establish the textures and flavours of each dish and mirror these flavours with your wine selection. Pay particular attention to the alcohol content of the wines and the seasoning and spiciness of your meal choices. If you’re in doubt, have a trial of your menu and your wine choices before the big day.

Champagne and Sparkling Wine
Traditionally the most popular wines to serve at a wedding, Champagne and sparkling wine are perfect for pre-dinner drinks and toasts.

If you’re having your bubbly pre-dinner, you should aim to serve something dry (brut or extra dry on the label). Dry Champagne and sparkling wine tend to go well with a wide variety of savoury appetisers. For after dinner toasts, a demi-sec (which is medium dry and sweeter) is the best choice.

Price can be a big factor when choosing Champagne or sparkling wine. Our advice is to look towards New World regions (like Australia and New Zealand) for some fantastic examples at very reasonable prices.

How Much Wine is Enough?
As a general rule of thumb, you’ll get about 4 glasses from a bottle of still wine. A bottle of sparkling wine or Champagne will contain about 6 – 8 glasses, depending on the size of the flute. As a starting point, allow half a bottle of sparkling and half a bottle of still wine per person. Of course, this amount may vary, depending on the guests you’re inviting, but it’s always better to have too much wine than not enough.

Other Factors to Consider
Other factors that will influence the type of wine served at your wedding are the time of the year and the time of day of your reception. Refreshing and crisp whites are definitely more popular in summer, while winter receptions tend to favour heartier, full-bodied red wines. The time of day will also influence your wine choices. Guests are less likely to drink as much if your wedding and reception are held earlier in the day.

Chat to a Wine Expert
Not sure what wine to choose? Chat to an expert, either online 
or at your local wine shop and ask their advice. Make sure you have a copy of your menu handy so they can see the food you’ll be serving and get an overall feel for your event. 

No special occasion is complete without wine, so spend a little time researching and planning the wines you want to serve at your wedding. Your guests will thank you for it!