|Updated: 4/16/2007 1:29 pm
||Published: 4/16/2007 1:29 pm
Arranging the catering can be one of the most challenging parts of event planning. The best way to begin is by identifying your budget, and how many guests you expect. Not every caterer can handle very large events. When possible, try to find a site that lets you bring in an outside caterer. This can save you a great deal of money. Visit several candidates, and ask for sample menus based on your budget. Before making a final decision, arrange for a taste-testing. There may be a small charge for this, but be wary of caterers who refuse to let you taste food in advance. Service options range from the buffet, to sit-down dinners, to the 'seated buffet,' where guests go through a buffet line, but sit down at a table to eat. Beverages can be a large expense, especially if you're serving liquor. For this reason, many events feature a cash bar, with complimentary wine during dinner. Rental items like tables, chairs, silverware, and china also figure into the cost. And don't forget labor for servers, bus boys, bartenders and other personnel. All expenses should be detailed in writing; check your contract carefully.