Your guide to full service event catering

We've helped many customers hire full service caterers in the past year.

Planning checklist

Prepare for success by getting started now.
3 months before: Plan party and budget
  • Choose a theme or occasion for your catered buffet event.
  • Determine the maximum number of people invited to attend.
  • Decide on maximum amount you are willing to spend per person, including buffet foods, drinks, venue fees, servers and rental fees.
  • Sample foods from catered buffet restaurants in your area. This step offers you a chance to see which foods are most popular.
2 months before: Make reservations
  • Choose a venue that offers plenty of space for guests, buffet tables and servers.
  • If you haven't done so yet, hire your catering company.
  • Determine if you want food stations or a standard single or double buffet line. Food stations are more formal, but more expensive.
  • Work with your caterer to craft a menu that caters to a wide variety of tastes. Local or seasonal foods add a custom flair to an event.
1 month before: Plan design details
  • Select table settings to fit the occasion. Save money by providing these items yourself, or choose a catering service.
  • Choose the beverages to be served. Keep in mind that beverages containing alcohol raise the cost of the catered buffet dramatically.
  • Add a dessert bar or passed desserts to end the meal.
  • Determine start and end times for your buffet service as well as for the bar or cocktail service.
  • Send invitations to allow guests time to respond.
1 week before
  • Give the catering service and venue a final head count prior to the event date.

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