Real Weddings

Beacon Hill Catering and Events is a staple in the Spokane wedding industry, and today they're here on Apple Brides to share everything you need to know about catering - from the hors d'oeuvres to desserts! 


Catering 101: Beacon Hill Catering & Events


Planning a wedding is fun, creative, and inevitably, a bit challenging.  Often one of the more challenging decisions while wedding planning is deciding on catering. Catering is the aspect of your wedding that your guests will remember and talk about the most after the day has passed. It is important that while planning the food and meal service, you keep your guests in mind. To make things simple for couples, we have put together a description of the different services caterers can provide.  We call it, catering 101!  At Beacon Hill Catering and Events, we strive to provide handcrafted catering with distinctive service that allows your day and guests to comfortably enjoy your special event.  We want each couple to choose memorable food that fits their events needs and budget.  Understanding a little bit more about catering can help you make the most memorable wedding menu!  Let's dig in:

Catering 101: Beacon Hill Catering & Events

Hors d'oeuvres:  It's just the French (and fancy) word for savory appetizers or finger foods!  There are two types of hors d'oeuvres; tray passed or displayed. Tray Passed Hors d'oeuvres: These are appetizers that will be passed around to your guests.  They tend to be smaller, bite-sized items that are hand-crafted with care.  This typically allows for more service for your guests, but the quantities will be a touch smaller than displayed appetizers.  These are very appropriate for a cocktail hour or a late-night snack. Displayed Hors d'oeuvres: These are appetizers that are displayed in larger quantities like a large cheese board or a house-smoked salmon display.  The quantities tend to be bigger than tray-passed and require a small plate and silverware. At Beacon Hill, we include china plates, silver forks, and silver knives with these stations. These are great for cocktail hours, late night snacks or even to fill into a dinner buffet as a unique addition to your menu!


Catering 101: Beacon Hill Catering & Events


Things to consider when choosing your hors d'oeuvres:Cocktail Hours: If you are planning a cocktail hour, it is essential to serve something alongside the alcohol. Guests always show up hungry to weddings, and hors d'oeuvres offer a way to whet their appetite and balance any alcohol consumption. Late-Night Snacks: Planning a long wedding? Make sure to offer some late night hors d'oeuvres to keep the dance party alive at the end of the evening! Heavy Hors d'oeuvres Parties:  We love heavy hors d'oeuvres parties!  If you are planning to serve only hors d'oeuvres, plan a late evening wedding and make sure your guests are informed of a lighter food service.  If you would like a dinner timed menu, but want to serve only hors d'oeuvres, make sure that you offer sufficient quantities.  Always keep in mind that serving just hors d'oeuvres may not save you money, as they can be very labor intensive to create. An experienced caterer can you help you decide and customize your menu to fit your event timing needs and budget. Beacon Hill Popular Items: Want to win your guests over? Try our Bacon Wrapped Dates with Goat Cheese.  Our Northwest Cheese Board has been a big hit this season with a house made pesto torte and selection of regional cheese (including Beecher's!),  served with beautiful dried fruits, fresh baguettes, and crackers.


Catering 101: Beacon Hill Catering & Events


Dinners: Dinners can be served in three main styles; buffets, family style or plated. Buffet Meals: The most popular dinner service is a dinner buffet. Buffets are lovely options for your guests since they can choose the items they like and avoid the items they do not. Whether a wedding budget is on the high or low end, buffets allow you to put your money toward more food as they require less labor.  With a buffet, food is presented beautifully in one location allowing another platform to show off the design of the wedding. Couples sometimes add in personalized buffet menus or lush floral garlands. At Beacon Hill, we display our buffets on gorgeous hand-crafted farm tables with, a custom menu sign, florals, and candles to liven up the already beautiful array of food. Family Style Meals: Family style is a fresh take on a served meal.  Guests remain seated during the meal while catering staff bring each course to the table. Each item is passed around the table in true family style and just as the item makes its way around the table, the next delicious portion of the meal is brought out. This is an incredibly fun way to serve a meal.  Family style provides the elegance of a plated meal, but allows for the table to talk and interact with one another as they share the meal together. Guests are encouraged to chat and enjoy the company they are in. Assigned seating can be done for this style of meal, but open seating is also a simple route to take and offers a little less pressure on the wedding couple.  Of the three dinner meal services, this option tends to be a crowd pleaser.  Beacon Hill specializes in family style meals. Plated Meals: Another option for dinner service is a plated meal. We typically limit this to 100 guests or less as we feel the best services is achieved at those guest counts. Guests stay seated and are individually served by catering staff. This service is very formal and elegant, but can also be timely and will incur the most cost due to labor. This style of meal service always requires a bit of leg-work for the wedding couple.  Each guest is served typically one of two offerings, which means that each guest must have an assigned seat and a place card at their setting to indicate which meal they chose. Nevertheless, a plated meal service is an elegant option for any wedding.  Beacon Hill loves creating specialized menus for plated meal services for intimate weddings.


Catering 101: Beacon Hill Catering & Events


Things to Consider When Choosing a Dinner Menu:Budget: If you are working with a budget, make sure to set yourself up for success and opt for the meal service that works within your budget. You can customize from there and make the planning less stressful and fun! Remember the Cost of Time: So many wedding couples focus on the actual cost of their weddings, but forget about the cost of their time. Remember that seating charts, place cards and specific seating necessary for certain menus can take up a lot of time in the last weeks before the wedding.  Don't forget to consider if you will have the time and energy to complete these necessary tasks so you are well rested for your big day! Service: When choosing a menu and caterer, make sure to know what service is included in the menu price or if servers are an additional cost.  It's great to put much of your money toward food, but the most elaborate menu won't be as enjoyable with proper service.  At Beacon Hill, we include servers to set up and clean up the entire catering service within the cost of catering. Beacon Hill Popular Items: Our Her-Stuffed, Phyllo-Wrapped Chicken with Champagne Shallot sauce is a crowd favorite for any wedding. It offers a yummy, memorable entrĂ©e at a lower ticket price.  Or try our Lemon-Cream Fusilli Pasta with Arugula and Grape Tomatoes to round out any buffet.  With freshly zested lemons and a lighter cream sauce, this is a favorite amongst our staff!


Catering 101: Beacon Hill Catering & Events


Dessert: Desserts can be displayed, pre-set or tray passed to guests.  We will discuss all three options below: For a wedding, a cake is most traditional and will be displayed and then cut for guest to receive or to be tray passed to your guests. If you do not want to do cake, desserts displays, donut displays or any other creative idea are an amazing way to provide bountiful choices of sweet treats for guests to eat and then head right back to the dance floor. If you are not set on doing any sort of cake cutting, you could even have a dessert (like a petit four) pre-set at each place setting for guests to enjoy at any point in the evening.  At Beacon Hill, we always provide cake cutting service with any wedding at no-charge with disposable ware.


Catering 101: Beacon Hill Catering & Events


Things to consider when choosing Dessert:Choose What Speaks to You as a Couple: No one says you must do dessert, so choose a sweet that you like!  If you really want to do a cake cutting, but don't want dessert, why not purchase a mini cake for that tradition? Not all Cakes are Created Equal: Choose a vendor that is committed to scratch-made goodness.  You and your guests will notice the difference on your wedding day! Beacon Hill Popular Items: Our Beacon Hill Dessert Table offers an array of goodies including Beacon Hill Signature Brownies, Frosted Sugar Cookies and other treats.  You also get a scratch-made wedding cake in a flavor of your choice.  Our favorite is the Toasted Almond Cake with Buttercream Frosting.


Catering 101: Beacon Hill Catering & Events


Don't Forget to Enjoy! Last, but not least, make sure to enjoy your meal on your wedding day! Sharing your first meal together as a married couple is a memory that you will not forget. Slow down to savor the moments and the flavors!

{All photos courtesy of Ifong Chen, Crystal Madsen, Urban Rose, Cami Bradley, and Rebecca Hollis}

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