11 Jun How to Host an Event – Top Tips
As professional caterers who have worked with many clients across Surrey, Sussex and London, we’ve been to plenty of events and served many different dishes to an amazing variety of people. We’ve worked in all sorts of venues from kitchens in people’s homes to art galleries to marquees. All this has helped us gather a wealth of experience and ideas on entertaining so with Christmas coming up, we’re sharing our top five tips for entertaining your guests with you:
Where are you hosting your event?
Use google maps to let people know exactly how to find your home or your venue and advise them of any parking arrangements in advance. This takes away the stress for guests in checking maps themselves and the possibility the satnav might take them to the wrong place – how many times has yours done that to you?! Your guest list should have a good mix of guests, whether your nearest and dearest or corporate clients as the right mix will make for a good event!
Consider the dining arrangements and make sure you (or your caterers) are aware of any dietary requirements well in advance. Will a buffet work best with people mingling and choosing their own food from a selection of stunning dishes or does the event call for a more formal sit down meal – in which case a table plan and place settings will be needed. People then do not have to worry about finding a seat and sitting with people they don’t know. Place settings can be a fun idea for a meal at home as well.
Dressed for the Special Event
As well as letting guests know what the dress code for the event is (we’ve all had the ‘what are you wearing to the wedding’ chat!) you also need to consider dressing your venue. Whether you are holding the event at home or hiring somewhere, try and stick to a colour theme. Two to three colours that blend and contrast will make for a classy look. Linens are key as these can help the venue look really sophisticated – think about the colours against the colours of the dishes you’ll have and ensure there are plenty of napkins (there can never really be too many!).
Traditional centrepieces are lovely – candelabras will always be in style and vases of beautiful fresh flowers (watch those overpowering scents though) look fabulous when done well. For something a bit different at Christmas, consider vases with twinkling lights and baubles inside or perhaps set up a little Christmas village on the table to spark discussions amongst your guests.
Light up your event!
The lighting plays an important part in setting the scene for your event. As experienced caterers, we always recommend turning down the lights as bright lighting does not encourage people to relax and enjoy themselves. Low wattage bulbs and dimmer switches are fantastic at home to help create an atmosphere.
Twinkling lights give a lovely feel to a venue – you’re aiming for a soft ambient glow using lights at various heights. Candles are great at creating this warming glow, but do steer clear of scented ones for the areas where people are eating; this can detract from the dining experience as people’s senses can be overwhelmed; you want them focusing on the fabulous food! With children at an event, consider using battery operated candles as no one wants to be worrying about candles being knocked over as the kids brush past!
Bring on the entertainment!
Music is key to an event – the wrong playlist can ruin a party but get it right and people will love it. Spotify is a great place to start creating your collection of songs and you can listen to it and tweak it as you go along to check the songs work together and create the ambience you’re hoping for. A good tip is to start with slightly more mellow tunes and then go more fun as the event progresses – and remember, don’t play it too loud or too quietly!
Spotify does also have preset playlists you can use for most events; you could use these as a basis for your own unique playlist – you’ll also have the ability to share the list with guests afterwards if they enjoyed it! This is a great way to keep the buzz going after a corporate event too – emailing the playlist to attendees with perhaps some photos and a message you’d like to get across as a follow-up.
It’s all about the food
if you’re hosting at home, consider using a catering company – whether we deliver the food ready for you to serve and cook or whether we prepare, cook and serve for you, it leaves you free to relax and enjoy the evening with your guests. Do not worry about the size of your kitchen being too small for caterers – we’ve worked in the finest of kitchens and served food from the corridor before!
If it’s a corporate event you’ll be using a caterer so you can focus on the event itself and your guests. We’ll work with you on the menu so it’s just right. For example, we’d recommend one cold course as hot starter, main and dessert can be too much. By using in season foods for your event it will ‘feel right’ as the menu will suit the weather and the timing of the event. High impact canapés can kick the event off beautifully as they impress guests whilst they’re enjoying a welcome cocktail to break the ice. Keep the drinks topped up throughout your event – people won’t like to ask for top ups and you want them feeling relaxed.
If you’d like to discuss Pesto Food helping you with your plans for entertaining then please call us on 01428 682212 or email us at [email protected]. You can also fill out our online enquiry form! We’d be very happy to discuss your ideas and how we can make your event a memorable one.