Matching Your Food to Your Event

Are you currently planning an event? Whether it’s a black tie wedding or a backyard barbecue – or anything in between – your event planning almost always involves planning what foods to serve. And, without a doubt, choosing the right foods for your event can be a little stressful.

Why? Well because, regardless of the event, it seems the food selection is usually the most important part for its attendees. In other words, it is probably safe to say that most event attendees look forward to the food you serve more than any other part of the event.

It’s also true that people have come to expect certain types of foods for certain types of events. As you plan your event and determine your theme, a good caterer can certainly help you put the best menu together for your particular event.

However, knowing and understanding the basics about matching your food to your event is always a good idea.

Having a little extra knowledge also helps you feel more prepared: whether you are planning your own menu, or simply want to feel informed when working with your caterer.

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick at

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick at

Here are three basic suggestions for successfully matching your food selection to your event

1) Know your crowd and who is attending your event

Each type of event often has something which makes it unique. For example, a black tie event typically calls for a more sophisticated atmosphere and venue than a casual get-together.

Planning your menu based on your event involves knowing who your guests are and what they expect when it comes to food selection. Chances are that your black tie attendees are not expecting barbecue and ribs, for example.

As well, you should find out well in advance whether any of your guests have food allergies or other dietary requirements. Planning a menu that accommodates vegetarians and those with gluten sensitivities, for example, ensures you have plenty of different (and “safe”) foods that every attendee will enjoy.

2) Consider the time of year (season) for your event

In today’s world, you can enjoy almost ever food at any time of the year. For example, transportation and refrigeration can help make your favorite summertime foods and produce available for your wintertime event – but you may find that the costs outweigh the benefits of serving off-season produce.

Instead, when planning your event menu, embrace local foods and fresh produce of the current season. Doing so helps keep your food selection within an affordable price range for you…and provides delicious menu items for your guests.

3) Choose foods which go with the time of day for your event

If you are hosting an event during the morning hours, your menu is likely to be much different than what you would serve for an evening event. Although serving breakfast foods has become a popular food trend for events held later in the day, it’s unlikely that you want to serve heavy foods such as prime rib at a breakfast event.

Another idea to consider is how long you expect your event to last. If you are planning your event at a time that falls between meals, or that lasts for an extended period of time, you may consider serving hors d’oeuvres/appetizers, along with your main food selection.


If you are planning an event in the Portland-Metro area and looking for a caterer, we would love to help you with your catering needs. We can answer any of your questions about food selection, menus, and more. Please give us a call at (503) 222-4553, or contact us online any time.


Related Resource

Simply SmoothChoosing the Right Menu for Your Special Event: The Basics