Whether you are planning a social celebration or a corporate gathering, there are many factors to consider to ensure the success of your event. One of the most important (and memorable) aspects of an event are the catering logistics, which includes food preparation, service, and — of course — style. Serving and enjoying great food is crucial to your guests’ experience, and figuring out where to start can quickly become overwhelming.
From determining an ideal venue layout to selecting the perfect menu, here are 5 helpful planning tips to ensure an excellent catered event.
1. Hire a Dependable Caterer and Event Staff
This first one may seem obvious, but we can’t stress enough how important it is to hire a vetted, reputable catering service with experienced event staff that knows the ins and outs of your venue. At The Cable Center, we work with many Preferred Vendor Partners that are top-notch professionals in the industry. They execute exceptional catering and beverage services for a wide array of clientele and event types. Be sure to ask your venue and/or planner to offer their list of preferred vendors — their experience and relationship with your venue, as well as their familiarity with the space, will make all the difference.
2. Consider Venue Layout when Choosing a Catering Style
There are many catering and service stylesto choose from, including buffet style, grazing stations/heavy appetizers, plated service, family style, and even chef catered stations. When deciding which style fits your event’s needs, think about the venue’s space and what it lends itself to. For example, The Cable Center offers a large ballroom area that works expertly with a seated service because there is room for many tables and a large number of people. Guests can comfortably stay seated and have their meal brought directly to them. Or, there is also room for buffet stations, which offer guests the opportunity to serve themselves and file through various stations in an efficient manner. Additionally, think about how different areas at your venue can accommodate a cocktail reception and/or appetizer stations. Allowing guests to mingle and snack before flowing into another space for dinner service can be both elegant and fun!
3. Plan a Service Style that Fits Your Timeline
“Timing is everything.” This is especially true when determining the menu and meal service for a catered event. It’s important to choose the type of meal and menu options that best suit the allotted time your guests have for the meal or event. Catered buffet meals usually are completed in about 1 hour and allow guests to pick and choose the food items that they will enjoy. When planning a sit-down or plated meal during your event, allow at least 1 ½ to 2 hours for full meal service. Cocktail receptions require a minimum of 1 hour before dinner to allow guests to socialize and enjoy light fare and beverages. Corporate working breakfasts or lunches require food menu items that can hold up for longer periods of time without ruining the integrity of the food.
4. Ensure Your Catering Service can Accommodate Guest Count
After coordinating the appropriate room layout and planning out your catering timeline and service style, it is crucial that your vision accommodates your guest count. For smaller events, consider options where guests are given a plated service because it requires less staff to make their rounds. For larger events, buffet stations are a great option because several stations can be set up at once and guests can move through the buffet efficiently. Check out our blog post, Choosing the Best Service Style , for more ideas and inspiration. The sky’s the limit!
5. Be Creative, Think Seasonal, and Let Presentation Speak for Itself!
This is your opportunity to choose cuisine and foods that connect to your personal taste and style! Don’t be afraid to get creative, ask the chef for suggestions, and think outside the box. Take into consideration the food items that are available during the season at hand and plan menus and dishes using fresh, local ingredients. Finally, presentation is everything. When food is beautifully presented, your guests will be dying to try it! Crisp and clean linens, dazzling cutlery, glittering glassware, and show-stopping décor all come together to make your catered event delectable.
As part of our Vendor Spotlight Series, we are featuring this article from one of our beloved Vendor Partners, Biscuits & Berries. The team at Biscuits & Berries executes beautiful work and their attention to detail really shines in all of our event spaces here at The Cable Center. We love working them and their expertise surrounding catering options and event design is unmatched! Keep reading to learn about all the different catering styles and options our partnership can pull off to make your event perfectly yours!
Types of Service Styles
Holy options! There’s a lot to think about when planning mealtime for your guests. What used to be a simple decision- formal plated dinner or casual buffet, has turned into a maze of options in the modern catering world. Don’t fret, Biscuits & Berries is here to help you navigate all possibilities! If this post doesn’t help you decide on a service style for your event, don’t hesitate to reach out one of their knowledgeable and friendly Event Designers- they’ve seen it all!
A few things to consider when deciding on the best service style for an event include timing of your event, duration of your event, alcohol service, and your unique attendees. These details will help you determine whether a full meal is necessary, or if some lighter, casual options would work best. Once you’ve assessed your event, consider the “feeling” you’d like to provide. Is your vision upscale and elegant or a bit more laid-back and casual? Do you want to promote mingling and guest interaction? Or would you prefer that guests experience full service at their tables?
Plated Service and Family Style Catering
Plated and family style dinners are often preferred because they allow your guests to stay seated while their food is brought out to them. These options exude tradition and elegance but can sometimes feel a bit restrictive as your guests are limited to the food that’s brought to them. An occasional criticism for family-style service is that tables can get a bit crowded (glassware, centerpieces, platters, oh my!), and it can be slightly uncomfortable to pass food around while trying not to knock anything over! We recommend minimizing the footprint of your centerpieces and place settings when serving a family style dinner and limit your round tables to a maximum of 8 guests. While we work hard to expedite any type of service, plated and family style dinners tend to run quickly as our team is able to swiftly and efficiently serve tables.
Buffets and stations tend to be very guest friendly as they allow people to choose what and how much food they’d like. The downside? They have to get up and get it. Perhaps not quite as elegant, we find that guests enjoy making their own plates, and we create beautiful displays that rival the common conceptions of catering buffets.
Stations are the most customizable option for your guests as it allows them to create or dictate how their dish is made. They also offer more of an experience than any other service style. If creative food is the highlight of your event, this is the option we commonly recommend! The only downside when considering stations for your event is that they can take a bit longer for all of your guests to get through. Many items are cooked to order and each station contains a multitude of options (decisions take time!)
Heavy Appetizers and Grazing Stations
Lastly, heavy appetizers or grazing stations are perfect for shorter, more casual affairs. Just keep in mind the length of your event and the open-bar aspect. While this is commonly a more cost-effective option, it’s not conducive to long events where guests will be drinking throughout. In those situations, it is highly recommended a more substantial meal.
A blend of service styles is also common. pair a plated salad course with your buffet dinner or add a couple of interactive stations during cocktail hour with a plated dinner following.
There are many options and customization when it comes to creating this experience for your guests! The Biscuits & Berries team is available to help you come up with the best approach for your event. Check out their website and get in touch here.
Special thanks to Luke Woodward of Biscuits & Berries for authoring this article and providing great insight into the world of catering options for events. Biscuits & Berries Catering Co is located in Golden, CO and specializes in serving food that is of the highest quality and providing service that greatly exceeds guests’ expectations at every turn.
Being a part of the events industry has only increased our obsession with flowers! We are surrounded by gorgeous bouquets, centerpieces, and floral installations year-round. But there is something to be said about summertime in Colorado and the plethora of beautiful blooms during this season. This week we are featuring an article from local floral design company, Yarrow & Spruce, who serve the bounty of Colorado’s generous flower growing season to clientele of the west side of Denver and the mountain community. From full-service special event florals to private floral classes, Yarrow & Spruce brings the expertise, knowledge, quality, and joy to floral design!
Colorado has it all
Stunning mountain views. Dense forests of spruce and aspens. White sand dunes. Red rock canyons. Urban skylines. Blue-bird days of endless sunshine. Picturesque forests flocked in snow. With our diverse scenery and seasonable climate, it is no surprise that so many couples decide to plan their wedding in Colorado literally any day of the year. That being said, peak wedding season in the Centennial State is May through October when the temperatures are warmest and when flowers are at their peak.
Keep reading to learn more about some of Yarrow & Spruce’s favorite locally sourced summer blooms!
An absolute crowd pleaser, these beauties do not disappoint with their endless petals, large size, and sweet fragrance. Peonies are available mid May through early July, in white, coral, shades of blush, fuschia, and burgundy. Two of our favorite varieties are Coral Charm and Claire de Lune.
One of our favorite flowers at Yarrow & Spruce, ranunculus are a long lasting cut flower with velvety petals, making them a stunning addition to wedding florals! Given their hardy nature, they are a great bloom for boutonnieres and corsages, too. They are available locally mid May through early July, and come in an array of colors. Our favorite is watermelon pink!
A bountiful perennial, scabiosa adds unique shape and texture to floral designs. Scabiosa is available mid July through first frost, and comes in lavender, periwinkle, light pink, and deep burgundy (almost black). Another cool thing about scabiosa is that when they go to seed, their seed pods add a boho vibe to any arrangement!
While traditional zinnia colors are more bold and primary, softer and more variegated varieties are being produced, and they are stunning! Pale yellow, salmon pink, apricot orange, peach, and bubble gum pink are some of our favorite colors. Zinnias are available late July through first frost.
Dahlias are another one of our favorites at Yarrow & Spruce (it’s impossible to pick just one)! They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and a whole spectrum of colors, making them an absolute dream to work with in floral designs. They are available mid July through the first frost.
Lisianthus is an underrated flower, in part because the imported blooms aren’t great. However, locally sourced lisianthus has a delicate, trumpet shaped bloom with ruffled petals, making them a soft, feminine addition to wedding florals. They are available mid July through September in white, blush, pale peach, and an amazing roseanne “brown”.
With their light and airy petals, cosmos are a happy and playful addition to floral designs. In addition to the standard cosmos, double click cosmos have dense, fluffy petals. Cosmos are available early July through first frost. Flower nerd fact, chocolate cosmos actually smell like chocolate!
Often mistaken for poppies, anemones are adored for their dark center stamens. With their round shape and intense center, they are an eye-catching focal flower in floral designs. Anemones are available mid May through late June, and come in white, blush, pale purple, fuchsia, and a deep purpley-blue.
This list could go on and on, but these blooms are some of our favorite Colorado-grown flowers!
If you aren’t located in Colorado, reach out to a local florist in your area to see what your region is growing. I bet you will be surprised by the local variety available! And if you are in Colorado, reach out to Yarrow & Spruce Floral Company to begin planning your seasonal wedding florals today!
Yarrow & Spruce is owned by Colorado native, Sheilan Hardi Mueller. Her passion for flowers began as a child when she would spend afternoons helping her dad in his garden, and making flower crowns out of dandelions. In 2018 she began working with flowers professionally, and in 2021 she opened Yarrow & Spruce Floral Company to serve the West side of Denver + mountain community. Yarrow & Spruce is proud to work with several local flower farms to not only guarantee clients receive the best flowers, but to also contribute to the community in a meaningful and sustainable way. The Yarrow & Spruce team takes great care to pick out all blooms for every design to ensure the most beautiful and unique designs for your event. We look forward to designing something beautiful for you!
Lighting is the most powerful tool available to create and transform the ambiance of your event. At The Cable Center, we are known for our floor-to-ceiling, sparkling windows and unique architecture that allows beautiful natural light to pour into our Daniels Great Hall.
During the day, the Colorado sunshine works its magic, illuminating our building and creating a bright, crisp, and clean indoor atmosphere. By night, the windows reflect the city lights and portray a certain level of drama and romanticism, while becoming the perfect canvas for creative lighting design.
Let’s dive a little deeper into the possibilities of lighting during your event at The Cable Center and see how the sky’s the limit!
Incorporating natural light into your event concept not only means lighter and brighter (and Insta-worthy!) photos, but a fresh and invigorating backdrop that energizes the whole space for your guests.
Perfect for parties, conferences, and holiday celebrations, our Great Hall’s impressive, three-story glass entry, panoramic views, and grand staircase make a dramatic statement — ideal for an elegant reception, celebration, or gala. The Great Hall l accommodates 300 guests for a sit-down dinner, or 500 for a reception-style affair. Overlooking the main floor’s open atrium and “map of the world”-inspired terrazzo floor, our 360-degree Mezzanine level can provide the space for additional guest seating, a separate cocktail reception, or even serve as a silent auction or exhibit area.
Come nightfall is another story. This is the time to let a custom, indoor lighting concept create the perfect mood for your event. Do you want it to be classic, romantic, or modern? Do you want to light that is soft and warm, or bold and contemporary?
Choosing the right lighting is essential to creating a unique event. From bold and vibrant colored lighting to creative projections, lighting designers can help you achieve this vision. Plus, you can project the light onto ceilings, floors, and walls making it a great way to add depth and visual interest to your event or dance party! Thoughtful event lighting also adds ambiance and enhances other elements of your decor, including centerpieces or floral arrangements. You can even use lighting to direct your guests through various parts of your event and curate a one-of-a-kind experience.
At The Cable Center, we work with the best vendors that know exactly how to bring your vision to life in our grand space. Check out some of these photos from our partners at LMD Productions that took the idea of light design to a whole new level! They truly light up our lives – and our events!