Whether you’re organising a wedding, special celebration or any other event that requires an impressive spread, a buffet is the ideal way to ensure everyone gets fed. Equally suited to formal or casual events, buffets are flexible, can be prepared ahead of time and are great for making sure guests can select their favourite foods. These simple tips will help ensure your event runs smoothly and that your guests leave well-fed and happy.
Get Your Numbers Right
Whether you’re doing the actual catering yourself or hiring professionals, you’ll need to also hire serving equipment, possibly including platters, crockery and cutlery. It’s vital you have an accurate idea of numbers well ahead of the event. Not only is this important in order to make sure there is plenty of food for everyone (including second and third helpings if required), but it will also ensure there are adequate knives, forks and plates. It’s a good idea to add on a few extra in case some guests abandon their used plates and select a fresh one when returning to the buffet. Running out of essentials will cause headaches and make your event look disorganised and unprofessional. It’s always a good idea to add a few extra numbers on to the guest list to allow for late acceptances, extra guests or large appetites.
Include Vegetarian Options
Whether you know exactly how many vegetarians are attending or not, include plenty of meat-free options. Many people are cutting down on their meat – and dairy – consumption these days for ethical or health reasons, so be sure to offer plenty of vegetarian dishes.
Check for Special Dietary Requirements or Allergies
If you’re sending invitations out ahead of your event, include a note asking that attendees advise you of any allergies or intolerances. If you’re expecting anyone who is coeliac or has a serious allergy, for example, be sure to pass this information on to your caterer if applicable. Depending on the severity of any allergies, and on the number of people expected at your event, it may be necessary and safer to prepare and serve dishes for those with special requirements separately, away from the main buffet. If you’re hiring a catering service, they should be knowledgeable about different dietary needs and be able to suggest suitable dishes and appetisers for a range of requirements.
It’s up to you whether or not you decide to label every single dish at your buffet or just those that are suitable for certain dietary requirements. You might decide just to label dishes as vegetarian, gluten-free or dairy-free and leave any dishes where it’s immediately obvious what they consist of. This will mean that your guests are well informed and ensure everyone can help themselves to suitable dishes. It will also save you or any of the other organisers or caterers having to answer questions or double-check ingredients throughout the course of the event.