it’s time to add soup to your parties and events

Now that the weather outside is frightful (read: winter), but the fire is so delightful…. Ok ok, so our new house has a real wood-burning fireplace and I’m really excited about it! But since it IS winter, you’re starting to see soup everywhere.  But it’s not always the easiest thing to serve. Since I love soup (especially the really bad for you kinds with lots of cream – like broccoli cheddar or tomato bisque), I thought I would share some ideas and suggestions for how to incorporate this cold-weather treat into your parties and events.

If you are on pinterest and you follow anyone who posts catering or event photos, you have probably seen this guy (via United with Love):

 catering soup ideas - tomato soup shooter with mini grilled cheese

The tomato soup shooter with a grilled cheese bite. I’m going to go ahead and declare this the soup trend of 2013. It’s all over the place and people love it. Who doesn’t love grilled cheese (unless you are lactose or gluten intolerant you have no excuse!)? This is one of those trends that is clever but with mass appeal. But it is on the verge of being overdone – to the point where I was choosing a menu for a holiday party and I almost didn’t select it as one of my passed hors d’oeuvres because it’s overdone, but then I realized that most of the party guests were not crazy like me and A) would actually consider something so delicious ‘overdone,’ B) would care that something is overdone anyway.

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friday favorites – best event ideas of the week

Last week I debuted the new Friday feature, basically as a way to show off some of my favorite ideas that don’t warrant their own individual blog posts. It’s essentially a grab bag of event planning fun!

#5 – Canoe as beer cooler

canoe as beer cooler

I think this is such a fun idea! This was from a backyard wedding, but you can really do it for any event. The canoe is ironic, right (ice melting becomes water, which you usually don’t want inside your boat), but you can really use any type of item. The canoe is waterproof, so that’s a bonus, but you can also use other outdoorsy items as well.  Photo by Lauren Fair Photography via Bridal Musings.

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michael & melissa’s georgia garden wedding

mike & melissa's georgia garden wedding

Michael and Melissa were married in Decatur, Georgia on September 28, 2013, near where they both grew up. The fall wedding was full of personal details. Since the bride and groom both live in Washington, DC, they relied on their friends and family to help, and the result was a wedding that was sweet, poignant, and full of personal details. The ceremony was held at the same church where the groom’s parents were married. The reception venue, the Cator Woolford Gardens in Atlanta, was a beautiful backdrop for the start of this couple’s married life.

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fun and creative ways to label food on buffets

I really appreciate when buffets are labeled. Believe it or not, that spinach and crab dip really could be something completely different. Not only is it a nice touch, it’s also helpful – especially when more and more Americans have food allergies. (Are those sugar cookies or peanut butter cookies? I can’t tell!) Buffet labels are something that many (not all) hotels and caterers already provide. It’s becoming more common at weddings and formal events, but you can really do this for any events – even for entertaining at home. While buffet labels serve a utilitarian purpose, there’s no reason why you can’t have fun with them!

Here are some ideas I’ve seen for various ways to label food – enjoy!

This one is pretty traditional, but I think the flags with the cheese types can be either whimsical or refined, depending on the color, font, type of flag, etc. This can be used for a variety of types of displays. Photo via Ritzy Bee Weddings:

buffet label - cheese tray

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how to save money on food & beverage for events

how to save money on food & beverage for weddings and events

I’m in the middle of planning several events and I feel like I am up to my eyeballs in catering menus and BEOs (banquet event orders). Luckily menu selection is one of my favorite parts of event planning (second to site selection, of course!).  However, it’s one of the fastest ways to add to a bottom line – and people are often confused as to why food and beverage ends up being so expensive. I won’t go into why it’s so expensive (that’s for another blog post), but here are some quick ways to save money without compromising quality.

Be flexible with your date and time

Have you ever gone to a restaurant at lunch and noticed that the prices are noticeably different (cheaper!) than at dinner time? The same goes for catering. Lunch is usually cheaper than dinner. But if moving the time of your meal isn’t an option, maybe you have flexibility with the day. Many venues and caterers charge a premium for the most popular event days – namely Friday and Saturday (and depending where you live, maybe Thursday) – but will charge less or offer a discount in order to fill up the less busy days. On the wedding side – a Saturday evening wedding is almost always more expensive than Friday or Sunday. Continue reading

pumpkin week – catering ideas

pumpkin catering ideas | amanda jayne events blog

Halfway through pumpkin week and I’m not losing steam! Today I want to share some innovative catering ideas that utilize pumpkin ingredients. These would be great for fall events of any kind – weddings, corporate events, conferences, etc. You might even see something that inspires you to try at home for your next dinner party (I love to try and recreate recipes at home!). Pumpkin is a big enough trend that it now makes frequent appearances on catering menus, especially when the caterer offers seasonal menus. But anyone can do mini pumpkin pies or pumpkin cookies for dessert – I like to see pumpkin used in more interesting ways.

Most of these ideas are from caterers so they don’t link to a recipe – but if something strikes your fancy, ask your caterer if they can offer it at your next fall event.

Spicy pumpkin soup shooters – everyone loves shooters! Recipe from 52 Kitchen Play:

pumpkin catering ideas | amanda jayne events blog

Pumpkin & prosciutto crostini – photo via The Daily Meal:

pumpkin catering ideas | amanda jayne events blog

Pumpkin arancini –  Recipe via Bittersweet Blog:

pumpkin catering ideas | amanda jayne events blog

Risotto pumpkin parmesan balls – from Lisa Perkins Catering:

pumpkin catering ideas | amanda jayne events blog

Pumpkin mousse – from Ridgewells Catering:

pumpkin catering ideas | amanda jayne events blog

Pumpkin rice pudding – Recipe from Not Without Salt:

pumpkin catering ideas | amanda jayne events blog

Pumpkin cake pops! (These are pretty simple, but you can obviously make these more theme-y – like these). Recipe by Food Network:

pumpkin catering ideas | amanda jayne events blog

And finally – the ubiquitous (but still delicious) mini pumpkin cheesecake – recipe via Life Made Simple:

pumpkin catering ideas | amanda jayne events blog

Don’t those just make your mouth water? Talk to your caterer, stat!

Stay tuned for the rest of Pumpkin Week:

Top photo – mini pumpkin pies, recipe from Lauren Conrad