When you're planning a special occasion party, you want everything to be fabulous!
Here are some suggestions based on our many years of helping party hosts plan and enjoy their special occasion events at our restaurants.
As gorgeous as your outdoor wedding or event setting might be, you need to consider unpredictable weather. Be sure to have a Plan B. At Tre Bella, the sunset background is second to none. However, if it rains, we know we can easily move everything inside to another beautiful setting.
Surprisingly, many hosts forget to include direction cards with their invitations. Be sure to send cards with clear directions to every event site. Helping guests get to their destinations on time and without getting lost will start your affair on a great note.
Sometimes, party hosts need to have different numbers of guests at each table. However, if possible, try to arrange tables of eight. That's the ideal number to permit engaging conversation at each table.
Be sure that high chairs are available for very young children. Similarly, ask about children's prices; some restaurants and catering establishments will offer half-price meals for kids under a certain age.
Avoid confetti on the tables. It looks pretty, but often finds its way into food. Another decoration tip: If you're having balloons, don't forget to bring weights to secure the balloons in the center of each table. Don't tie them to the backs of chairs—the balloons will get in everyone's way.
Keep centerpieces either very low or very high. That way guests can see and enjoy speaking with each other throughout the meal.
If your affair will take place over more than one day, arrange for the second-day breakfast to be early. People tend to want to leave as soon as possible, especially if they will be traveling significant distances.
Choose dishes for their buffet-table-friendliness. That way, you can ensure that everything looks as perfect as it tastes, from start to delicious finish.
Here are some tips on dishes that are easy for guests to enjoy, and that hold up well at parties:
Mussels are always popular. But people sometimes don't realize that mussels are very difficult to eat while walking around during a cocktail hour. Since so many people want to order mussels for their parties, we've found that adding mussels to our dinner menu has been a great idea.
Be sure that any pasta you order is cooked extremely al dente. That way, it's less likely to get too soft while it sits out during your party.
Keep in mind that some sauces, such as clam sauce, can dry out very quickly in chafing dishes. Red sauces are usually good for keeping pasta moist.
If you're planning a pasta course for a sit-down dinner, ask what sauces are available—e.g., marinara, or alla Vodka. Not all people are going to want plain red tomato sauce.
Similarly, plan to have a white sauce as well as a red one, to ensure that the buffet spread is visually pleasing.
Baked pastas tend to hold up better on buffet tables than do boiled pastas served with sauce. Some good buffet choices: stuffed shells or baked ziti.
Also a party favorite, London broil always should be cooked rare. It will continue to cook over the heat, while being served. If it starts out rare, it will likely be perfect while guests are helping themselves or having more.