Food and beverage, which often take up more than half your budget, are big decisions. A lot of details must come together to treat your guests to something extraordinary.
Set the tone: The style of food and service you decide on will serve as a foundation for the ambiance of the reception and dinner.
Consider your guests: Before building the catering menu of your dreams and tastebuds, remember your guests. Don’t forget about allergies, vegetarians, or kosher meals. Even if you are adventurous when it comes to exotic food and drink, remember that not everyone else will be. Even in an attempt to be original, try to include some standards on the menu that will satisfy all palates.
Be original: That said, don’t be afraid to break out of the five-course beef-or-chicken mold. Planning your menu should be fun! Try to take your guests on a culinary journey. All the while, think quality, not quantity. Concentrate on variety and presentation over an elaborate abundance of food.
Make it tasty: In all this thoughtful planning, don’t forget the obvious. Make food as appetizing as it is memorable; look for variation in flavor as well as presentation.
Mind your budget: You should count on spending as much as 50 percent of your total budget on catering, more than any other element. So be sure to be sensible and meticulous during your selection process. If you aren’t willing to sacrifice veal for meatloaf, cut down on the number of courses you serve so you won’t break the bank.
Info from egala.com
How Much Should be Served
For a two-hour party:
20 bites/person if the hors d’oeuvres replace dinner
Serving hors d’oeuvres before a meal:
5–7 bites/person before a light meal
3–4 bites/person before a full dinner meal
For an hors d’oeuvres-only party:
For 25 guests plan for 5–6 kinds of hors d’oeuvres
For more than 50 guests, plan for 10 or more kinds of hors d’oeuvres
Approximate amounts for 100 people:
–Cheeses: 4 lbs, thinly sliced or cubed
–Meats: 7-8 lbs, thinly sliced
–Veggies and dip: 7-8 lbs of veggies, 4 cups dip
–Fruit chunks: 9-10 lbs
–Shrimp: 3 lbs
–Crackers and breads: 6 crackers/person
–Pickles, olives: 3 lbs
–Chips and dips: 5-6 lbs of chips, 6 cups dip
- People eat more during the first 90 minutes. After two hours, consumption picks up again, especially if hors d’oeuvres replace dinner.
- Young people eat more than an older crowd, and guests eat more at casual parties than formal functions.
- If hors d’oeuvres take the place of dinner, include some substantial foods that can be served as hors d’oeuvres (for example, a carving station).
- Provide a variety of foods to please everyone. That means something for the vegetarian as well as the meat eater. Having both hot and cold foods also helps to keep everyone nibbling happily.
- If hors d’oeuvres take the place of dinner, also include several bites of sweets per person.
Tables and Linens
- Round tables seat 8-10 people (depending on venue)
- Rectangle tables seat 10 people (four to a side and two at each end)
Table shapes by venue
- Class tents – rectangles
- Indoor class headquarters – existing tables, or rectangles if additional tables requested
- Common Ground, Collis Student Center – rounds
- Dartmouth Outing Club House – rectangles (inside and outside)
- Hanover Inn – all meal tables are rounds
- Novack Café, Baker Library – existing tables, varying shapes and sizes
- Top of the Hop, Hopkins Center – rectangles or rounds for food; standing receptions only
- Alumni Hall, Hopkins Center – rounds
- Dartmouth Skiway McLane Family Lodge dining area – rectangles
- Thayer Dining Hall – existing tables, rectangles
- West Gym, Alumni Gym – rounds
- Leede Arena, Alumni Gym – rounds
- Thompson Arena – rounds
- Leverone Field House – rounds
- Haldeman patio – rounds; rectangles may be added, depending on size of group
- Collis front porch and patio – rectangles
- The Bema – rounds
- Baker lawn – rounds
- Waterfront – rectangles
- Storr’s Pond – rectangles
If you'd like linens for any other events, you can purchase baize (rectangular paper/plastic table covers) through Dartmouth for $2.25 each. Let Advancement Events know how many you'd like.