Whether you’re planning a wedding, social event, corporate dinner, or anything in between – the right caterer and foods can transform your event into an unforgettable occasion!
Read on to discover how to find the right caterer for your needs and aesthetic, how to maximize your budget, and how to bring your creative vision to life.
Ready to plan your event? Reach out to our team!
What's the best way to find an Atlanta caterer?
Finding a caterer that fits your creative vision, budget, and timeline can feel like a daunting task. Fortunately, there are a few key ways to make the most of your efforts!
Read online reviews to hear about other clients’ firsthand experiences. Google Reviews is a good place to start. Whether you’re planning a wedding or not, sites like WeddingWire and The Knot can also be helpful resources to search for caterers and reviews.
Browse social media to find up-to-date, real-life photos of prospective caterers’ work. You can check hashtags and tagged photos on social media, as well as browsing your vendors’ profiles.
Search by word of mouth! Try posting on social media to see if anyone has a caterer they’ve loved using. You can also ask for recommendations in the group chat, or a local Facebook group.
Ask your vendors for recommendations. If you’re already booked a venue or hired an event planner, ask them which caterers they recommend.
Look for caterers that are established, with solid reputations and a history of providing excellent service. For example, Avalon Catering has provided the Atlanta community with delicious farm-to-table menus for more than three decades!
How do I know what type of food to serve at my event? There are so many choices!
Planning an event menu is a fun opportunity to flex your creative muscle. That said, it can also be daunting to select foods that will appeal to everyone. This is one area where you should be able to rely on your caterer to make recommendations based on your event size, audience, and goals.
For instance, our team at Avalon can help direct the creative vision for your event, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed or busy with other projects. It’s important to find a team with a creative leader who can see your full vision and put it into action.
Below are some ideas to spark inspiration for your event menu:
Consider your event theme. When possible, it’s a great idea to keep your menu on-theme with the tone of your event. For instance, a company picnic might call for BBQ sandwiches and from-scratch sides like our classic potato salad, cabbage slaw, and sea salt chips. On the other hand, a sophisticated soiree might mean high-end entrees like our char-grilled tenderloin of beef filet with heirloom tomato risotto and roasted seasonal veggies.
Plan around activities. Will your guests be up and moving, or mostly seated? Will there be dancing and games, or speeches and presentations? Your caterer can work with you to ensure that the menu complements the activities during your event. For example, passed hors d’oeuvres are a great conversation-starter during a conference or networking event, whereas a seated dinner will encourage guests stay at their tables during a presentation!
Offer something for everyone. From keto to vegan, and nut-free needs to allergy considerations, there are a wide variety of dietary considerations. Your caterer should be able to help you plan a menu that includes all of your guests’ restrictions. If you aren’t able to plan for specific people’s dietary needs – or if you’re planning a larger event – it’s a good idea to have a variety of options, so everyone can find something they like!
How can I make the most of my catering budget?
First and foremost, it’s a smart move to be open about your budget and any limits you might have. That way, your caterer can help you create realistic expectations while also finding ways to maximize your budget.
According to The Knot, food is one of the most memorable aspects of a wedding! To plan a day your guests will never forget, it may be worth scaling back other elements to create a standout menu.
That said, these tips can often help stretch your budget further:
- Offer guests a buffet-style meal, rather than a plated dinner. As a bonus, this will get people up, moving, and chatting with each other!
- Consider serving light hors d’oeuvres in lieu of a meal. Just be sure to tell guests ahead of time, so they know what to expect!
- Book a drop-off catering delivery. If you’re planning a more causal event, we offer drop-off services that include breakfast, hot and ambient lunches, cocktail parties, desserts, receptions, and more. Be sure to consider the size of your drop off and the clean-up required. Often times, a server or two can be helpful to manage the food and allow you to enjoy your event.
Can my caterer help plan and execute the creative vision for my event?
The short answer? It depends! Some caterers strictly focus on the food served at your event. On the other hand, some caterers offer event planning services and can help with your event from start to finish.
For instance, our services at Avalon Catering include:
- Start-to-finish event planning
- Chef-prepared custom menus
- Custom event design – including furniture, signage and décor
- Access to Atlanta’s finest venues
- Equipment rentals – including china, flatware, glassware, tables, linens, chairs, AV and more
- Vendor recommendations – including photography, entertainment and transportation
Be sure to ask your caterer exactly what their services include, so you can understand where you may need help filling in any gaps – and where you can rest easy knowing everything is handled!
It can be nerve-wracking to trust someone else with my big day. How can I be sure my caterer understands my priorities?
There are a few ways to be sure you’re on the same page with your caterer.
First, be clear about your expectations, goals, and vision. You might want to create a Pinterest board that shows what you’re imagining. It’s also helpful to browse photos from past events your caterer has worked on, to see what their skills and services include.
When you’re reviewing a proposal or contract, be sure to read it in detail to make sure your requests and priorities are included. If you have any questions, just ask!
Our process at Avalon Catering typically starts with a scheduled phone call to discuss your vision for your event. From there, you’ll receive a custom proposal to review, ask questions, and share your feedback. Once you have a menu and budget you’re happy with, we’ll set up your tasting at our office.
At your tasting, we’ll discuss your event in more detail. You can also look at china, flatware, linen, and chair options, and we’ll work out the fine details of your menu.
Around 4 weeks prior to your event, we’ll do a walk-through at your venue to go over logistical planning and all the details. If your venue is one that we aren’t familiar with, we may do a walk-through before creating your proposal. Either way, you can rest assured that our Avalon Catering team will be well-prepared to take care of your guests when the big day arrives!
Our personal approach allows us to create an event plan that ensures you and your guests are comfortable and happy. Our team takes honor and delight in creating the atmosphere and menu you envision.