Bridesmaids’ shoes? Check.
Food? …Oh no!
It happens. Maybe you completely forgot about the food aspect midst all the other details. After all, weddings have a lot to them! Or, maybe you had a plan for the food and it completely fell apart; that is, a caterer you had planned on can no longer help out, or the food you were planning on doing has become so complicated it would take a massive (and expensive) team to get it done. Now, the wedding is weeks, maybe days, away, and you’re panicking. Relax! Saint Germain Catering can help!
Whether you had a caterer who no longer can help, or you had planned to do the food yourself and now realize how overwhelming this can be, or simply forgot about food for the wedding reception, we can make it happen! Before calling, sit down and answer the following questions, which will help us better cater for your wedding reception:
- When is the wedding reception? Date, time, and location.
- How many people are coming? Estimate as closely as you can if your RSVPs are not exact. The better the estimate, the better we can help you.
- What sort of audience is this? Are most of your invites to adults and your wedding more adults-only, or is this a family-friendly event? (This can influence your choice of menu and drinks.)
- What sort of menu are you looking for? Are you in need of multi-course meals, or looking for hors d’oeuvres? Do you want a buffet-style or meals brought out to seated guests? You’ll also want to figure out if you’d like to have snacks or beverages available for your guests while waiting for the bride and groom to arrive after the ceremony.
- Do any guests have allergies? Although you probably don’t know every health detail of all of your guests, if anyone in the bridal party has a serious food allergy (particularly the bride or groom), this might be something to plan around.
- Do you need a cake? If you haven’t ordered a cake yet, let us know, we can help with that too! Think about what kind of cake you’d like.
- What is your budget? How much per plate have you budgeted?
Having parts of your wedding plan fail can cause a lot of extra stress, but don’t let an emergency for the wedding reception food ruin your big day, or your daughter’s big day! Saint Germain Catering will be happy to help make the wedding day a delicious success!
One of our favorite programs that we support is coming to Washington, DC: The Jack Ebrahimi-Miller Program for Interventional Radiology. The program was founded and is supported by Mina Ebrahimi’s generous donations. While interventional radiology is an established tool in human medicine in order to perform minimally invasive medical and surgical procedures, only a few veterinary programs offer it throughout the country, though it is quickly catching on as its benefits are being discovered and demonstrated. Since 2006, we have been providing a portion of our profits to support the program, and have never failed in our support to this day.
The event will be held on May 30 in the DC area by the University of Pennsylvania for the Jack Miller-Ebrahimi Program for Interventional Radiology. The goal of this event is to show research findings which demonstrate the successful use of interventional radiology in animals, particularly small pets such as dogs and cats. Interventional radiology has been successfully used in various applications, and we know of one very successful treatment and very happy patient: Jack Ebrahimi-Miller himself.
Jack was born with a liver shunt, which deprives the liver of blood supply and prevents it from developing properly. Without correcting such a problem, a puppy will usually die within the first year of life. It is possible to correct liver shunts by surgically closing them, but an interventional radiology technique often used on humans involves promoting coagulation using metal coils inserted into the shunt. This is what the team at the University of Penn attempted to use to heal Jack, and the operation was a success. However, following the treatment, Jack developed ulcers, prompting the team to again treat Jack. Two occurrences of the ulcers and a perforated and septic intestine occurred within the course of one year, and over the course of the next year he was weaned off all of his medicines.
Today, you would never even know that Jack was born a runt. He’s a 92-pound chocolate Labrador, and has been the source of great joy for all of us at Saint Germain Catering. It may only be an anecdote to the scientific community, but we know for a fact that there is much to be said for interventional radiology at the University of Pennsylvania. It’s why we continue to support the program there, and will continue to support them for years to come.
If you’re planning a big event, chances are good that you need to book caterers. Catering is an essential part of any large social event, from wedding receptions to fundraisers to anniversary festivities and hundreds of other kinds of gatherings. It’s a way of taking some of the most demanding work, the preparation and serving of food, off of the host and making the event easier and less stressful. But you’ll quickly find out that the term “catering” is used many different ways by many different people. So what exactly is catering and what options do you have?
Types of Catering
Catering refers to any kind of food service, or usually food and beverage service, arranged on a one-off basis for a special event. As you might imagine, depending on the budget and the type of event, that can cover a lot of different setups. But there are several levels of catering available and most events will match up nicely with one of them:
Food and delivery. At a basic level, any service that makes food and gets it to your event is catering, and sometimes that’s all you need. If you plan to serve your guests yourself, or you’re setting the food out on a simple buffet, this kind of delivery-only service is ideal. It works great for small meetings and office parties. As events get larger, however, it becomes less practical. Generally if you have more than 20 guests you will want someone to be in charge of serving, even if it’s just to man a buffet table, as the job becomes too big for the host or a volunteer.
Food, delivery and service. The next step up is catering that includes managing the service at the event itself. This can mean running buffet tables and keeping them stocked with fresh fare as guests fill up their plates, or it can mean bringing large platters out to tables for guests to pass around and help themselves. Other services, such as bar service, can also be included.
Full service. This means the caterer is completely managing the food and beverage end of your event, and quite possibly other crucial aspects of the night as well. The caterers may prepare food on site, and will have dedicated wait staff to bring out individual plates to each table. This creates the experience of a full seated meal in your venue.
Hors d’oeuvres. Rather than a meal, sometimes you will want simple finger food or hors d’oeuvres at an event. This means having waiters carrying trays among the guests, but typically not serving a full meal.
More than Food
Many caterers offer much more than just food and wait staff as part of their full service packages, and can manage other elements of the event that need to be coordinated such as tableware, flowers, and decorations. The best caterers take an active role in your theme and event planning to make sure your vision comes to life and every aspect of the evening is perfect. Saint Germain Catering is proud to provide this completely event management service, or any level of catering, in the Northern VA and Washington, DC areas.
Whether you’re planning a corporate event, a fundraiser or your wedding day, if you’re looking for a caterer chances are you have a very specific vision of what you want. Caterers are responsible for many different aspects of an event beyond just preparing the food, and can be a crucial part of the plan for your occasion. But many people don’t realize that there are different types of caterers and that they will offer different services and do things quite differently.
Although there are many specialized catering companies focusing on specific kinds of events, the big distinction in the catering industry is between on-premises caterers and off-premises caterers. On-premises caterers are typically attached to the venue. Their home kitchen is located in the building and they will do all the prep and cooking on the site. Off-premises caterers cook the food and bring it to the site, meaning they serve many different venues.
There are companies that offer both, but the two kinds of service are distinctly different and have their own pros and cons. So which one is right for you? Here’s our recommendation.
On-premises caterers have a lot of advantages. They work in the same space every day and they’re able to walk directly from their kitchen to the venue floor where your event is being held. This means it’s easy to make last-minute changes or corrections if needed.
But the main thing setting apart on-premise caterers is that they typically offer a lot more than food. Since they are attached to the venue, they have access to its supply of tables, tablecloths, stemware, dishes, and décor which allows them to manage many aspects of the event presentation. They are also likely to provide the bar service if needed.
However, on-premise catering can be expensive. As the official venue caterer, they can charge a premium, potentially far more than you would pay for the same food from someone else.
Off-premises caterers are essentially food delivery and service personnel. Since their kitchen is removed from the venue, they will arrive at the set time with everything you ordered, but making last minute changes may be harder. Many off-premise caterers offer full waiter service, and once they bring the food to your event site they can set up to begin table service. In general, your guests will never know the difference; all they see is that hot, delicious food arrives at their table.
Because they don’t control the venue, off-premise caterers will likely not provide all the tables and flatware needed, though some may be able to or may have a vendor they recommend. The advantage is that off-premise caterers are highly competitive. You can get a better price and, often, they will work harder to help you plan your menu far ahead of time and make sure everything is what you want.
Which to Choose?
If your chosen venue doesn’t allow outside catering, the choice may be made for you. Otherwise, look to off-premise caterers for a better price, or to on-premise caterers if you want to pay a premium to have everything managed for you.
If you live in the Northern VA or Washington, DC area, Saint Germain Catering offers one of the best catering experiences you can ask for. Not sure what you need? Call Saint Germain Catering and let us help you.
Hiring a caterer can be intimidating. Most of us don’t use caterers very often, and when we do it’s for a really big occasion that you want to make sure goes off without a hitch. At the same time, you don’t want to overpay and blow your budget. That means you need to know exactly what to expect from your caterer, and make sure they know what you expect. As with so many things in life, clear communication is the key to success.
So what do you need to tell your caterer? Most caterers will have a long list of questions for you, but here are the four most important things to have in mind before you pick up the phone.
1. The “holy trinity.” That is, venue, date and time, and guest count. Without these three pieces of information, a caterer will have a very hard time giving you an accurate quote or planning any kind of menu for you.
Knowing your venue is helpful because it means you will know what kind of cooking facilities are available for the caterers to use. If you haven’t settled on a venue yet, know your top several options. Likewise, at the early stage, the guest count can be approximate but you should have at least a general idea.
2. What type of meal? Coming up with suggested menus is the caterer’s job, but they will at least need to know what kind of meal you have in mind. That doesn’t mean what kinds of dishes (not yet!) but how it will be set up. The four main kinds are plated dinners, family style dinners, buffet service, or hors d’oeuvres.
Plated dinners are what many people think of when they picture catering: Guests are seated at tables and waiters bring out the different courses to them, like in a formal restaurant. Family style is similar, but the waiters bring large platters of several dishes to each table so that guests can pass them among themselves and choose what they want. It tends to be less formal but similar in cost.
Buffet style is a great option to save money. You may need multiple buffet stations, with a good rule of thumb being one station per 75 guests to avoid long lines.
Hors d’oeuvres of course are light snacks brought around by mobile waiters, ideal for cocktail parties and early evening events where no full meal is needed.
3. Budget. This is hard for many people, so it’s okay to have only a general sense of budget before you talk to a caterer. Be open to the caterer’s suggestions. If they know what you’re looking for they can help suggest lower-cost alternatives in keeping with your theme, to help preserve your budget.
4. Your Vision. Do you have a theme in mind? Will this be formal or casual? Do you want hundreds of flickering candles in a spotless banquet hall, or hanging paper lanterns and fiddle music in a garden? Again, you don’t need every detail. Your caterer can help you decide on specifics. But they want to bring your vision to life, and the more you can tell them about what you’re picturing, the better.
Of course, the best caterers will also know exactly what to ask you to make sure they don’t miss a thing. If you’re planning an event that needs catering in the Washington, DC or Northern VA areas, Saint Germain Catering is ready to help you work out all the details and make your event perfect.
Let us know if we missed anything you believe to be important. If you think this is valuable please share and thanks for reading.
The Saint Germain Family loves their holidays, and Halloween is just around the corner! There’s still time to put together a memorable Halloween Party for your friends and family, so we wanted to offer up some food for thought!
Three components to a party we feel are ABSOLUTELY necessary for a good time:
A Costume Contest with Prizes:
Be sure to encourage your guests to dress for the occasion by offering a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prize for best costume! Nothing expensive, just a fun way to be sure everyone comes in costume and to add a little friendly competition. Give each guest a decorated safety pin to pin onto their favorite costume and at a designated stopping point during the celebration, have each person count the pins that they have collected to see who has won! After all, we are a democratic society, right?
Games and Activities to Get Your Guests Mingling
Candy Bucket Bean Bag Toss
Bobbing for Poisoned Apples
Guess How Many Pieces of Candy Corn and Candy Pumpkins Fill the Jar
Creepy Cocktail Contest- Mad Scientist style bar set-up with liquors and mixers of various colors displayed in beakers and test tubes set the mood for this contest. Don’t forget the gross garnishes such as gummy worms and bugs, frozen grape eyeballs, and carefully handled dry ice chips to make a ghastly fog! Wilton even makes a silicon mold for frosty ice shot glasses: http://www.wilton.com/store/site/product.cfm?id=85D6D9DF-1E0B-C910-EA6093482B8D9551
And of course, our favorite- Food and Drink in the Spirit of Scary
No Halloween party is complete without Spooky Food and Beverage. Some ideas to get you going are listed in the links below.
Claire Robinson’s Dark and Spooky Cocktail
Cheese Ball “Bat Bites”
Candy Corn Parfaits
The Operation Homefront DC Chapter assists Military families during difficult financial times by providing everything from food assistance to auto repairs to community events. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Operation Homefront was formed in February 2002 to support the families of deployed service members immediately following 9/11. The majority of those they help are the lowest-paid service members who have unmet needs due to financial hardship, death, injury, or physical or mental detriment as a result of service in Iraq or Afghanistan. These may include active duty, Reserve, National Guard and Veteran service members.
Nationally, $.94 of every dollar donated to Operation Homefront goes to programs. It is with an open heart that Saint Germain Catering is donating $25,000 to the Operation Homefront DC Chapter. Because a majority of their funding has been cut, the DC chapter is in desperate need of money to help soldiers from Walter Reed and Fort Belvior area with food and the cost of living.
As the the cold weather of winter comes in, I ask you to think of the families of the brave men and women who have risked their lives for this country. Many of them are finding it difficult to pay rent, fix their cars, buy groceries, or even turn on the heat. When you give to Operation Homefront, you help make life just a little easier for our Military families and Wounded Warriors. Consider the following:
- $100 – Average amount provided to families for critical baby items: It’s heart-breaking to know that our heroes and their families often do not have enough money to buy formula and diapers for their infants.
- $161 – Average amount provided for food assistance: This is the average amount helps Military families put food on the table.
- $300 – Average amount provided to assist in paying utilities: For our Military families, $300 can mean keeping the power on and having running water.
- $1117 – Average amount provided to help with rent or mortgage: Some of our Military families are only days away from being homeless.
Please consider donating to this amazing cause – it is the least we can do to repay our heroes.
Mother’s Day is just around the corner and Saint Germain wants to help make this year special. Nominate your mom by telling us why she is the best on our Facebook Fan page and be eligible to win a surprise catered dinner (up to $200) by Saint Germain for you and your Mom!
- Nominate your Mom on our Facebook Fan page by sharing why she’s the best (in 140 characters or less).
- Share on Facebook and Twitter to collect likes and support for your entry.
- One lucky entry will win a gourmet catered dinner.
Saint Germain Catering is a full service catering and event planning Company located in Northern Virginia and services the entire Washington DC Metro area. Our around the clock staff is there to service you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Most of our staff have been with us for over 10 years and combined we have hundreds of years of experience behind us. Our office opens daily at 3 am to ensure that our food is prepared on time using the freshest ingredients and that it is out the door on time to you.
We combine personalized service and beautiful ambience with exquisitely prepared meals. We offer a variety of menu ideas and gourmet specialties for your event, from simple to elegant. Our main goal as a full-service catering company is to work with our clients to ensure that their events and catered meals run smoothly. You can count on us to make your event or your day-to-day catering needs a success.
We prepare our dishes from the freshest ingredients and assemble them as close to serving as possible to retain the flavors of each dish. We value your input … your personal taste … we will even make your favorite recipe. We feel the menu should be a reflection of you. We hope to serve you and help make your special celebration a most wonderful and memorable event. Our careful attention to every detail enables you to enjoy being a guest at your own celebration! From Corporate Breakfasts, Coffee Breaks, Luncheons, Holiday Parties and Meetings to Social Events, such as Weddings, Birthdays, and more… let us cater to your every need!
Fun Facts about us:
- Founded in 1998
- Women Owned and Operated
- Focuses on Corporate and Social Events
- Services MD, VA and DC
- Full service options including staffing, linens, china, rentals
- Monthly Catering Specials