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Things To Consider During Food Tasting For A Party

What’s a party without stacks and stacks of food for your guests to devour? The best parties are always those with great food and drinks. Think about any parties you have attended. What stands out the most about them? What will remind you about a wedding party, for example? Aside from the overall look of the venue, the food will always be the measurement of how successful a party has become. If the guests can remember the food because it floored them then trust us, you have just hosted one hell of a party.

Before you can begin imagining serving your guests with tasty food, all will have to start with choosing the right caterer for your party. One of the things you have to do before agreeing to enter into a contract with a caterer is a food tasting. You have to know which dishes to serve and if they taste good at all.

The Presentation

How do you want to serve your food? Is it going to be a sit-down dinner or is it going to be buffet style? A sit-down dinner would be more expensive because the caterer has to deploy a lot more servers. On the other hand, a buffet-style party is more informal but less expensive because there will be a minimal need for servers. This will all depend on your party and how formal or informal it is. Formal events would always choose a sit-down dinner while less formal events would go for the buffet-style dinner since their guests can come back for serving after serving.

But even if it’s going to be a buffet-style party, it’s important that the food will be presented beautifully on the plate. Remember that we are visual people and before anything else, we will eat with our eyes. We will first devour the details of the dish with our eyes. That was the first step. Once this hurdle has been solved, the only thing you would have to worry about is marketing your business on social media.

Speaking of social media, the reason why you need to plate and present the food well is because people like taking photos of the food they eat. They then upload those photos on social media where they will likely be seen by the same people who could be in your target market.

The Taste

Of course, the taste of the food is the most critical aspect of preparing and organizing a party. Your guests will be talking about the food, possibly for days, if it’s extremely bad or extremely good. What you don’t want is to fall on the extremely bad and mediocre. You need to focus on providing your guests the best hors d’oeuvres they can possibly imagine. You need to wow them the first moment they take a bite of that salmon toast.

Hands down, the best thing you could offer your guests during a party is to serve them great food. They will leave your party full and satisfied with what they had. And knowing that will give you a sense of confidence in your ability to organize an event.

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8 Rules For Finding A Caterer That Suits Your Wedding Party

The food that you will serve at your wedding will be one of the main topics of conversation among your guests. That’s why brides are always pressured to provide the best food for their party guests. Some brides are lucky to have a wedding venue that provides on-site caterer while other brides need to find a separate caterer.

Finding the right caterer is one of the most overwhelming decision to make for your wedding. Here are eight rules for finding a caterer:

1. Figure Out Your Budget

You can make a shortlist of caterers depending on your budget. If you know you cannot afford a particular caterer, then don’t email that company. Figure out how much you can spend on food and drinks—from the appetizers to the cocktails. When you provide your caterer with your budget, they can personalize and tailor-fit the menu for you.

2.Ask Suggestions and Recommendations From the Venue

Most venues will have a list of preferred vendors and suppliers. Ask your venue if they have caterers they can recommend to you. If the venue management and caterer know each other, there’s a big chance that they will work more harmoniously.

3. Get Multiple Proposals

You must be able to compare and contrast the cost, and the only way you can do that is to get multiple proposals from different caterers. You can then differentiate the menu, the service, and the prices. It is also important to provide the caterer the final headcount of your guests, so they know how much they should prepare in terms of food and how many people they need to deploy to your venue.

4. Ask About Linens and Dinnerware

Your venue might not provide tables, chairs, linens, and dinnerware. If that is the deal, you need to ask your caterer to provide these items. This may cost an extra fee, but maybe you can negotiate well with the caterer.

5. Communication is the Key

How the food taste is the most critical part of a caterer’s job, but how they treat their clients is even more important. If the company is slow at getting back to you with the information you need, maybe they are not the right caterer for you. Consider crossing them off the list of your preferred suppliers.

6. Arrange for Food Tastings

Now that you have a shortlist of caterers, you can schedule food tasting with each of the service providers. You cannot sign the contract without having a sample of their food. After all, they are going to serve this to your guests, so you have to know how delicious (or not) it is.

7. Read Reviews

This is one of the first steps you need to take when choosing a caterer—read reviews about the company you want to hire because these testimonials would tell you a lot of things about the quality of the food and the service.

8. Sign the Contract and Choose the Menu

Read the contract thoroughly and as soon as you understood every little detail, sign on the dotted line. After that, choose your menu and coordinate the motif of your wedding and other details the caterer needs to know. It’s important to always work as early as possible to give yourself more time to deal with future problems (as they arise).

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How To Plan A Successful Surprise Party

Is someone in your life deserving of a surprise party? Does he or she like to be surprised? The best surprise parties start off as being ultra-sneaky and involve only a handful of people at the beginning stages. It should be a total secret, hello? If you are planning a surprise party for your special someone, take this guide to heart and follow it for a successful planning.

Be Sure Your Guest of Honor Welcomes a Surprise Party

There may be two reasons why a person does not want a surprise party: one, he/she likes being prepared and two, he/she doesn’t like thinking you have forgotten his/her birthday. You can address both by telling him/her a story where someone was unprepared and dressed wrong for a surprise party (so, maybe there could be a little hint there) and greeting him/her in advance before the actual day.

Choose a Date and Place

When it comes to picking a date, choose a date that will fall before the occasion because your guest of honor might have something else planned for his/her actual birthday or anniversary, etc. You also need to consider the availability of your other invitees. Notify them secretly in advance, so you are sure they can come to the party. As for the place, pick a restaurant or a bar that your guest of honor frequents. If you will tell him/her that you are going to the nicest place in town, he/she will get instantly suspicious.

Invite the Guests

Before inviting the guests, you have to decide if it’s going to be a small or a big party. If it’s a small party, you need less money for the food and drinks and the secret won’t spill easily. However, some people might get offended that they are not invited and a small surprise party is less impressive than a large one. If it’s going to be a big surprise party, word might get out and it might spoil the surprise. But with enough careful planning, the guest of honor will be floored by seeing everyone he/she loves in one room.

Tell People Individually

The hardest part about planning a surprise party is keeping it from the guest of honor. It’s also difficult to keep people you don’t want out of the party, to stop people from making plans with the guest of honor, and to not offend those who are not invited. To avoid these issues, tell people individually either face-to-face or via phone or text. Make sure they understand the concept behind the surprise party and emphasize the importance of keeping the information to themselves. If they have questions, tell them to ask you about them.

Make Plans with the Guest of Honor

To make sure that your guest of honor is available on that day, make plans with them ahead of time. Of course, you don’t have to tell them there’s a party for them. That will ruin the surprise, duh! You can, however, make other plans like take them out to dinner and movie or even plan to go shopping together. To preserve the element of surprise and to make sure nothing will ruin the surprise, tell other people (even those who are not invited to the party) not to make other plans with your guest of honor (because you’re doing something special for him/her on that day).

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How To Choose A Live Band For A Wedding Party

So, you have come to decide that a live band is what you want for your wedding. This is the source of entertainment you think would encourage guests to fire up the dance floor. You want a live performance of the special songs that celebrate your love as a couple. You have eyed a number of bands that perform in your area, but are they good enough? Will you regret hiring them? Would they make an impact on your party? Should you just choose a DJ?

Having second thoughts about hiring a band to perform at your wedding is normal. You want only the best for your wedding and for your guests. You want to lose yourself in this special moment and not have to worry about the quality of music being aired. Yet, as a bride or a groom, you cannot help but worry whether you are making the right choice.

1. Watch their performances on YouTube

YouTube, as you know, is a treasure trove of all things videos—may that be music, commercials, movie scenes, trailers, etc. This is where you can find virtually everything you need to watch. If your band is even half as good as they claim to be, their videos would be on YouTube—either uploaded by them or by fans who have come to watch them play. Watch plenty of their videos and see if they have that style and that bravado that you are looking for in your band.

2. Look at what past clients are saying.

These videos would have comments. See what their past clients are saying about their experiences with the band. If the band has its own Facebook page, which it should, past customers would gather there to give them a rating or to provide a written review of them. Learn to distinguish between real reviews and ones that were written either out of spite or by someone the band requested to do so. Real reviews would include a timeline of how events transpired. They would even have a specific song that they would glow about.

3. Watch them perform live

Check out their website or their Facebook page. Where are they performing in the next couple of weeks? Can you go check them out during one of these events? See that the event is open for public (you don’t want to gatecrash a private event, of course) and check out how this band performs live. Some bands do not sound nearly as good live as they do on videos. Make sure you won’t fall into the trap.

4. Have them sing your “anthem”.

 

Surely, you have a theme song with your partner; a song that reminds you of the love that you share. When you watch the band perform, maybe you can request for them to try singing your anthem and see if they can give justice to the original song. This is important since this song might just be the song that will play during your first dance. Once they’ve hit the right notes, then it’s time to consider signing them up.

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Should You Hire A Band Or DJ For Your Party?

Can’t decide yet who should play at your party? Finding the right music maker for your party is a tough job because music can make or break an event. Before signing that contract and entering into an agreement with either a live band or DJ, make sure you have read this little guide we prepared for you.

Start by asking yourself the basic questions: What type of entertainment suits your personality and your event? How much money do you have for the entertainment portion of the program? Is your venue going to allow a full-set band to play? Will your guests appreciate the appearance of either a live band or a DJ?

Vibe and Theme of the Party

The type of music you will choose will set the tone for your party. This will also solidify the theme and bring all the elements of the party together to form one cohesive message. Music will be the one thing that people will remember about your event. Perhaps, except for the food, of course. What musical genre best describes the event? Is it old love songs? Is it indie rock? Is it a romantic string quartet? If you want the dance-your-booties-til-midnight kind of thing, you might be better off with a DJ who can mix and match the proper dance sequences for your group. On the other hand, you could choose a live band that will entertain your guests with their beautiful voices and their showmanship.

Variety of Songs

Whether you’ll have a DJ or a live band, one thing is for sure: you have to mix the songs you want to play during the event—don’t cluster old songs together. Rather, make sure that band or the DJ plays a mix of old and new, so they can reach more to your audience and encourage all guests, young and old alike, to hit the dance floor.

Budget

DJs are generally less expensive than hiring a live band. Of course, the price of their service still vary depending on the equipment they would use and the number of hours they will render. On the other hand, a band is more expensive simply because there are more people that compose a band. The price for bands varies by the number of musicians, the amount of time you want them to perform, and the day of the week and the time of the year. During holiday seasons, prices are generally higher.

Space

Even if you have the money to hire a 10-piece band, one of the considerations you need to make is the space. Does your reception venue have space for 10 musicians and their instruments? Do they restrict the number of performers per party? Are there any electrical outlets that the musicians can use to plug in their equipment? Some registered landmarks don’t allow the use of large speakers, so it is better to confirm this first with your venue manager. We’re sure that with the right negotiating tactics, you can eventually get what you want.

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Tips On How To Deal With Party Suppliers

The most important relationship any party organizer (whether working as a profession or as a DIY) could have is the relationship with the party suppliers and vendors. No party could be hosted successfully without the right suppliers for food, flowers, utensils, decors, and many more.

You can’t be expected to source everything by yourself for a party you are organizing. You would need the help of professionals—people who have been dealing with the materials you need for a long time.

1. Choose Wisely

Being a party supplier is apparently a popular career and business option these days. There are a lot of suppliers in the market, so choose your supplier wisely. Review each supplier and the pros and cons of hiring them. Make sure they have what you need at the right price. You also have to monitor their response time to your inquiries and how willing are they to comply with your requests.

2. Communicate Well

Lack of communication will endanger any relationship, whether personal or business. Take the time to communicate with your suppliers to build a healthy relationship with them. This is important especially when it comes to schedules and timelines. Your suppliers should have a clear understanding of what the goals of your party are and how these can be achieved with their help.

3. Plan for Contingencies

Even if you have a good relationship with your suppliers, it can’t be helped that there would be problems along the way such as late shipments and weather-related troubles. Plan for contingencies so you would have a ready-made idea when the problems arise. This contingency plan should be clear to you and to your suppliers so they can make concessions if the unthinkable happens.

4. Reward Your Suppliers When Needed and When They Deserve It

A simple “thank you” note would go a long way to make your suppliers feel that their work is being appreciated. If we have the gall to demand the best service from them and to pressure them during deadlines, we should also be able to recognize when the demands are met. Since penalties are imposed when the suppliers don’t hold up their end of the deal, there should also be rewards when the work was done above and beyond what was expected. A reward could be a simple note, a prompt payment, or a token of appreciation.

5. Accept Accountability

Not everything that could go wrong at your party depends on the suppliers. Sometimes, you are at fault, too. Maybe you have overreached? Maybe you did not think about the practicality of the timeline? Maybe you did not hold your end of the deal and the schedule was shaken up? If it was your fault, you’ve got to make sure to hold yourself accountable and to accept that the mistake was yours.

6. Pay on Time

If the suppliers were able to deliver the products and services as agreed upon in the contract, you have to do your part and pay on time. Most of the payments should be done right after the party was done but some organizers are good at not releasing the money immediately. Don’t be like that. If the suppliers complied with the demands, then do your part and pay up.

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Tips on Properly Choosing Party Invitations

One of the things we have to focus on when organizing a party is the invitations that we have to send. If we decide to send printed party invitations, that means we have to choose a design, a template, an overall theme, and the wording to make the invitations stand out and appear well-presented. While a lot of organizers don’t think invitations are important to any party, they are dead wrong.

This is the first thing that your guest will receive from your party. The invitation is where they will be getting the information from like where the party will be held, what time it will start, and how formal it is.

This is especially important in communicating the “theme” of the party. If the invitation is very formal, your guests will know that they should come either in a cocktail dress or in black tie (of course, this would be indicated on the “attire” part of the invitation). However, if the invitation is leaning on becoming casual and relaxed, then a nice party dress and slacks and polo (no tie) will do good, too.

Focus on the Theme and Motif of the Party

Your party may not exactly have a specific theme, but there should be a motif in terms of colors. What colors are you going to use for the linens and the overall stage design? What colors would the flowers be? What colors will be hanging from the ceiling or used as accents on the walls?

You may not be focused too much on the theme of the party but surely, there would be dominant colors there. These are the same colors that you should use for the invitations. You should also decide whether to make the invitations formal and elegant or a bit casual and relaxed.

Choose the Wording Carefully

This is the most important aspect in the creation of an invitation. Make sure there is no ambiguous information there so your guests will know exactly where, when, and what is being celebrated. Choose the wording carefully because you don’t want to send the wrong message to your guests.

Before finalizing and printing out the invitations, double check for any spelling and grammar errors. Do you know how expensive it is to reprint invitations? That would be a catastrophe.

Print the Invitations on Time

Finally, make sure that the process it takes for you to finalize the invitations are compliant with the schedule you have. The invitations must be sent out at least one month before the party. That gives your guests enough time to fix their schedule and even take leave from work (if they have to).

If you are going to print the invitations belatedly, you might as well not send them at all because what use would be receiving an invitation if the guests won’t have enough time to decide whether to go or not? The timing of mailing out the invitations is very important, so make sure you send the final version to the printers on time.

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How To Manage A Party Crisis

At one point in your organizing journey, you might encounter a party crisis that may potentially jeopardize the whole event. While we understand that it is easy to panic when a supplier backed out, when the venue runs into troubles, and when the weather suddenly turns bad, a truly skilled organizer and host would do everything in his or her power to find alternatives and find solutions to the problem.

Define the Problem

What is the problem? When did it crop up? Has it done permanent damage to the party’s schedule and logistics? What caused the problem?

Before dealing with the issue of finding good alternatives, you have to first identify what the issues are and come up with a list of reasons why these happened. The process would teach you how to zero in on the core of the issue and how the event catastrophically affected the success of holding the party.

In terms of handling the present issue, defining what the problem is before anything else will give you a better grasp of what strategies will work. For future events, this process will allow you to work out a set of rules and guidelines that would prevent the same thing from happening again.

Meet with the Stakeholders

When the problem has been identified and when it is finally isolated from the rest of the issues, the host or the organizer can then meet with the stakeholders—the owner, the investors, the clients, etc. Every single one in the team who would be affected by the changes in the plan would have to be met and the reasons for the changes explained.

The organizer must know what each stakeholder is worried about and what are the factors important to them. All of this information would play a role in crafting a sound strategy to address the issues of the event.

Find Alternatives

A crisis will only be a serious problem if there are no choices and alternatives offered. The client may have to adjust his expectations a little but that is better than having nothing at all. The test of a true party organizer is the ability to have a Plan B, Plan C, and all the way up to Plan Z. There should be no limit to the kind of choices that an organizer can offer.

Have an Open Mind

The problem with most party hosts and organizers is that they are stuck to one idea; they could not forgive themselves for having to move away from the original plan. An organizer needs to be flexible and willing to deal with the problems as they arose. And not just deal with the problems. They should be ready with alternatives. As an organizer, you need an open mind to deal with issues and problems that will surely come.

There is no party without a crisis. Every great party has surpassed a great test and a major crisis. It’s all about having the right attitude and the determination to see the party to success.

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Finding The Right Caterer For Parties

It is important to choose the right caterer for parties when hosting an event. The type of food, its flavor, and its presentation determines the success of your event.

There may be a lot of things riding on your decision of which caterer to hire, but you should keep in mind that food is important for parties. Think of it this way: A bad event can be salvaged by a good caterer while a good event with bad catering can send the guests heading to the doors, or worse, the restrooms.

Plus, the fact that the caterer is the number one or the number two most expensive item in your event list means that your decision has a budgetary element into it. Choosing a caterer will influence how much money you have left in your budget.

Responsiveness

Believe it or not, but the responsiveness of a caterer plays a critical role in the decision process. A lot of caterers claim to have the best-tasting food with the most competitive price, but it is a rare quality for them to both make quality food and be responsive to the queries and the ideas of the clients.

A caterer should be truly concerned with meeting the customers’ needs and wants. A caterer should not only be responsive, he or she should also ask questions about the theme of the event, the purpose, the budget, and the goals of the host.

Expertise

Not all caterers are perfect for every type of event. Some are more used to serving smaller, intimate-type social events while others are experts in catering for large corporations, weddings, and birthdays.

When speaking to a caterer, you need to be specific about the type of event you are planning. You should also talk to at least three caterers. Otherwise, you may end up selecting a caterer who isn’t a good fit for your event.

Menu Options

Most caterers have standard menus, but they should also be able to customize and personalize the menu according to the current trends and the theme of the event. An ideal caterer should be willing to handle or consider special requests.

If the caterer is not willing to adapt its menu or challenge its staff to create a customized menu, then that’s an immediate red flag.

Food Tasting

You have to attend at least three food tastings with different caterers to get the taste that you want. Never settle for a caterer that will simply give you a generic sample. You need to know what the food will taste like because, during the party, your event will be judged according to the flavor of your food.

You may request for the caterer to suggest wine pairings for the tastings too so you can choose the appropriate drinks.

Familiarity with the Venue

You need to have a caterer who is already familiar with the venue. The caterer must have worked in the event venue before to make sure that they are used to preparing the place for their buffet or sit-down dinners. They would be aware of the restrictions as well. For example, red wine and live flowers are not allowed inside historic house museums.

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Tips On Creating A Good Party Playlist

What’s a party without the right kind of music? If you’re having a wine party, make sure to have some jazz in your playlist. If it’s a party for teenagers, you better have some pop music in that list. Remember, your party playlist can make or break your event. Make sure it’s not too sappy or not too loud that your guests won’t be able to hear each other. The best music is when it’s just right and doesn’t need to be the center of attention.

To make sure that your little shindig is fun, you also need the right equipment. Sure, you have the right playlist, but do you have the speakers or the amplifiers for it? Will your music players or your laptop be able to play the list? Aside from the music equipment, make sure your lights will fit the music you’re going to play. You can’t play rock and roll with yellow twinkling lights as your décor. You can opt for the SHYU Bluetooth Smartphone Controlled RGB Color Changing LED Strip if you’re into some pop culture vibe.

For the meantime, here are some tips on how to create the perfect music playlist:

Don’t Use the Shuffle Button

The key to making a good music playlist is to make sure that the songs you’re going to choose are going to play well right one after the other. You cannot go sappy on one tune and then happy on the next. There needs to be a consistency on how these songs are lined up together. That being said, you certainly cannot use the shuffle button because this will blow up the whole idea.

Make Sure the Playlist Will Last

Make a playlist that will last for three hours of the party. You don’t want the playlist to end too soon that your guests are hearing the songs over and over again. You don’t want it to be too long that some of the guests have missed out on the songs you have chosen.

Consider Your Guests and Your Location

What vibe are you trying to create for the party? You have the power and the control over the vibe, tempo, and theme of the music. If you are trying to create an atmosphere where your guests can talk, you need to choose some jazz, downtempo electronica, or acoustic classics. If you are hosting a Christmas party, holiday tunes are in order. Is it a dance party? Then, the top 40 hits on your list should be good enough to dance to.

Mix Things Up

Surprise people with the variety of your music list. You cannot go three hours with all hip-hop music. You can throw in some sappy sentimental songs and classical music into the fray, so you can keep the guests excited about what’s next to come from your list. Don’t forget that you also be a little cheesy and play some pop classics such as songs from Britney Spears, Spice Girls, Madonna, Michael Jackson, and the like. Their songs are always guaranteed to make everyone feel good about the night. They may even sing and dance along with these songs.