What’s the greatest thing about summer? Some would argue it’s the flip-flop weather or soaking up the vitamin D at the pool, but for any food lover, it’s the memories created with families and friends over an amazing meal.
Whether you’re hosting a cookout next weekend or attending a Fourth of July celebration, there are many convenient food options that will keep you relaxed and focused on what really matters, enjoying those precious summer moments. You shouldn’t have to worry about prepping, cooking and cleaning. Let us do that! To help get you started, here’s our step-by-step guide for easy hosting this summer.
Step One: Making the Big Decisions
Begin the planning process by deciding when and where your event should take place and consider a theme. Choosing a theme is one of the biggest decisions you will make, and it will heavily influence your guest experience and budget. To create consistency, select food, music, décor, etc., that embodies your theme and includes details such as menu cards and cocktail pairings to tie everything together. Below is a list of popular summer themes to consider for your parties this season:
- Family reunion
- Neighborhood Block party
- Beach day
If you get stuck, just click here for more inspiration.
Step Two: Send Out Your Invitations
You probably haven’t given it too much thought than beyond the guest list, but when it comes to menu planning, there are a few important pieces of information you need before you can move forward.
- Ask guests to let you know what they’re bringing. This only applies to parties where guests are expected to contribute food or drink, but will ensure there’s no overlap in the menu.
- Ask for dietary restrictions. You want to make sure you’re offering enough vegetarian options to accommodate everyone’s palette.
- Ask for a total guest count. You won’t be sending the five-year-old next door a personal invite, but you still need to know if chicken fingers are a requirement on the menu.
Step Three: It’s Okay to Call for Help
That’s what we’re here for. You’re busy, and when you want to make memories with families and friends you shouldn’t have to spend hours in the kitchen or cleaning up afterward.
Choosing to work with a caterer is a great idea:
- Unlimited menu potential. Working with a professional caterer for all or a portion of your event will give your menu more versatility and easily include dietary requirements.
- Cooking for everyone is just plain difficult. Do you have the right amount of ingredients? Equipment? The hours and hours it will take to prepare all the food, let alone space? Hiring a professional caterer will leave you worry-free, and with really good food!
- Be the host-with-the-most. Trust us, nothing makes a statement quite like butler-passed hors d’oeuvres or bar service.
- Take the pressure off. Your caterer can provide décor as well as custom food items and presentation based on the theme of your event, while ensuring food safety.
P.S. If you are attending an event and plan to contribute, try picking up a platter for the party. We know you want to be the guest with the best (food, that is) so look for options beyond your local fast food chain or grocery store. A lot of catering companies have pick up or delivery menus that offer a unique twist on classic recipes an include serving utensils and disposable presentation trays.
Step Four: It’s Getting Hot in Here
The day is here and all your planning is coming to fruition. Your catering Special Event Planner will have all the logistics worked out so you can sit back, relax and enjoy while keeping these important tips in mind:
- One of the biggest challenges you face with hosting an outdoor event are those pesky bugs that never want to leave you alone. Make sure to use glass lids or pop-up food covers to keep them out of your food.
- Have plenty of water on-hand. The summer is HOT. Whether you are having an outdoor or indoor event, it is important to keep guests and yourself hydrated.
Step Five: Clean Up (Or Don't)
Let’s be honest, nobody likes to clean up after hours of frivolity and fun so be sure to put out recycle and trash bins for disposables and designate specific areas for dirty dishes. Or work with a professional caterer, and it’s guarantee you won’t have to lift a finger.
- If you chose pick up or delivery option. Everything is on disposable trays and you can just toss them out. Easy.
- If you chose full service. Don’t worry at all; your caterers’ service team will handle it and you get all the credit.
Summer is about savory flavors and making memories, and now that you’re a pro at planning summer events you can enjoy every sun-soaked moment.