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With more than 35 years of experience in catering and hospitality, we have an abundance of tips and best practices to help you host the perfect gathering or event. Take a look at five common catering myths that Blue Plate squashes to guide you down a successful path of planning. 

Catering Myth #1: Family-Style is Most Cost-Effective

This might be true in a banquet hall or hotel, but not in off-site catering at a special-events venue. In off-site catering, the cost is about 15% more per person due to increased food quantities. One reason for increased food quantities is that the last person at each table shouldn’t feel as though they are scraping up leftover bits of food at the bottom of the dish.

Another reason to increase food quantities is that, unlike plated dinners, the host doesn’t provide food preferences to the caterer for family-style events. Therefore, it’s harder to anticipate which items will be the most popular among guests.

Along with renting plates and flatware (as you would for a plated meal), you’ll have to add serving platters and utensils, which increases overall equipment costs. Family-style service requires the same amount of staff that one would have for a plated dinner, so labor costs are the same.

When it comes to service, spills are more likely to occur when guests serve themselves. During a plated dinner, our catering staff sticks with a timeline to know when to serve food, clear plates, offer coffee, etc. to avoid clatter during speeches and introductions. Without a timed, planned, coursed dinner, guests are more likely to continue serving themselves at inopportune times.  

Myth #2 – I Have to Include All of the Classic Traditions in My Wedding

Tim Tab Studios

While there’s a time and place for wedding traditions, we also encourage couples to put their mark on their special day. Your wedding should reflect you and your partner’s personalities and love story! 

When it comes to food, we have clients that request a variety of non-traditional food and beverage offerings. Challenge accepted! Some wedding couples ask us to recreate a treasured dish their grandma or family member used to make. Couples are opting for brunch weddings or breakfast for dinner. You can even elevate burgers and fries and serve them at a seated dinner. 

As for the wedding cake, you can include it or not! Some brides and grooms replace cakes with pie, deep-dish pizza or even a cheese wheel! There are no rules, so make sure you create a menu that you and your future spouse love! 

Myth #3 –  The Longer the Wedding, the More Time for Fun!

Gabrielle Daylor Photography

Your family and friends certainly want to celebrate with you, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they want to spend 8 hours at your ceremony and reception (especially if they’re wearing suits and/or uncomfortable high heels!).

Cocktail hours are called that for a reason, so try to keep it to an hour or guests will get antsy, not to mention hangry!

Keep the speeches and toasts personal and brief (quality over quantity). 

We all love to dance but 4 hours of an open dance floor and bar are likely to result in sore feet and over-served guests. It’s best to end a bit earlier and on a high note, while guests are still feeling energetic and upbeat!

Myth #4 –  Buffets Are a Great Option During the Cocktail Hour

Christy Tyler Photography

We truly can’t say it enough: Family-style/buffets always require higher food quantities, which increases pricing. Also, most guests will be holding a drink during cocktail hour, and we all know how challenging it is to hold a drink in one hand and try to fill a plate with food and then eat it, all while standing up. Most cocktail hours don’t offer much/any seating or tables, so balancing a drink and plate is tricky. In the end, passing hors d’oeuvres makes everything easier on the guest and less expensive for the client.

Myth #5 – Passing Champagne and/or Specialty Cocktails is the Way to Go

Christy Tyler Photography

Guests often feel obligated to accept beverages that are offered to them by servers. If they don’t actually like or want that beverage, they’ll simply set it down somewhere and head for the bar. It’s a sad sight to see glasses full of delicious cocktails being thrown away by servers. Avoid the waste by letting guests select what they want to drink.

Specialty cocktails are a creative, fun way for the couple to add a personal touch to their wedding celebration. So, there’s no need to nix the idea, altogether! Instead, put the specialty cocktails at the bar so that they’re part of the full beverage offering. You can even add your own flair to custom signs for each cocktail.

Kisha and Nick | Promontory Point | Chicago Wedding | Spoon Photo and Design

Planning a wedding can be daunting! The checklist feels endless, and you may not know where to begin. But we’re here to help! We are passionate about delicious food, trendy beverages, and personalized service. Get in touch, and our amazing team will help you plan the perfect event!


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