Small Party Catering Can Mean Big Impact

Messina's Small Party Catering

With the holidays right around the corner, most are in the process of planning their holiday parties.  With COVID still on the radar, many are opting for smaller, more intimate gatherings to celebrate the season.  But small doesn’t have to mean simple.  Often smaller gatherings allow more room in the budget for high-impact touches, they can create opportunities for more engaging event activities and it can open up more unique special event venue options.  This applies for holiday parties, small weddings, and corporate events!

It All Begins With Venue Selection

Fewer guests often means you can choose from more unique, boutique venue options.  Cozy courtyards in historic hotels, skyline views from a rooftop venue, lush gardens at a bed and breakfast, rustic barn venues, chic art galleries, hip restaurants–these can serve as the perfect location for a small catered event.  And they will set your event apart!  Anyone can rent a ballroom at a hotel.  Be sure to think outside the box when choosing the right venue for your small catered event.  Your caterer is the best resource for this as they know all of the best venues in their cities.  Google best caterers near me, or top caterers to find your caterer.  Read their reviews, and talk to friends for recommendations.  Then once you select your caterer, work with them to focus your venue search.

Messina’s has countless unique New Orleans special event venues that serve as prime locations for small events.  They include the loading dock and “sweets” at Batture Bistro + Bar/ONE11 Hotel, the famous Beauregard-Keyes House & Garden, Republic NOLA, the historic Chateau LeMoyne Hotel, The Rooftop on Basin, the art deco New Orleans Lakefront Airport, Felicity Church, New Orleans Museum of Art, The Presbytere, The Cabildo, Pharmacy Museum, and the Lakeside Country Club.

The Rooftop on Basin View

Custom Invites Create A Lasting First Impression

Smaller events mean fewer invites and RSVPs to mail, so this is place to really set the stage for the inventiveness of the event to follow.  Handmade paper invites that are tied with ribbons and wax sealed are a nice touch.  Enlisting the services of a professional calligrapher to write the invite, the mailing envelope and the return RSVP are also an unexpected luxury.  Embossing and metallic foils also leave a wonderful first impression, and many digital printers can simulate the effect in a shorter print run.

Presentation And Place Settings

Smaller parties mean you can have fun with your place settings!  Perhaps you have a few sets of family china stored away in the attic or in a storage unit.  A smaller catered event is the perfect time to put them to use.  Consider mixing and matching pieces for an eclectic, vintage touch.  Use service pieces like soup terrines or gravy dishes for floral arrangements.  Think also about table linens and whether or not you’ll be using chargers or placemats for sit-down affairs.  Be sure to think beyond typical holiday colors and consider opting for color palettes like sapphire blue and silver rather than red and green.  And don’t forget the name cards at the table.  Designated seating is a great way to mix and mingle guests and lend an air of sophistication to any event.

Holiday Place Setting

Go All Out On Your Catering Menu

It’s easier to splurge on premium ingredients on a catering menu for 50 than it is for 500.  Consider adding dishes prepared with duck breast, stone crab (when in season), oysters, lobster, and prime rib of beef, as these are not typical fare on larger catered event menus.  Plus, vegetable spears artfully tied with lemon grass or tableside-prepared desserts like Bananas Foster are touches that can slow down service to a large crowd but can certainly be accommodated with a smaller guest list.

Catering to a foodie crowd?  A multi-course tasting dinner may be just the treat!

Messina's Oyster Display

Be Creative When It Comes To Wine And Spirits

A small guest list means you can make your bar more than just a standard catered bar.  Think about pairing and serving different dishes with complementary drinks.  A tapas menu could be complemented by fine Malbecs from Argentina or rich Rojas from Spain.  Or bring in a mixologist to swirl, twirl and shake excitement into your event.  Maybe even take your bar out from behind the bar.  Consider serving a drink pairing with each course for plated affairs, or a wine tasting.  And theme it to the season, after all the holidays means once-a-year favorites like mulled cider, eggnog, hot buttered rum, and hot chocolate.

Infuse Local Flavors

New Orleans is a city know for culinary traditions and unique, local flavors.  Treat guests to lots of fresh Gulf seafood, bayou delicacies, and other New Orleans staples like crawfish etouffee, creole gumbo, and alligator puff pastry.  If going this route, be sure to chose an authentic New Orleans caterer like Messina’s, who has been one of the Crescent City’s top caterers since 1961.

We Enjoy The Creative Challenge Of Small Gatherings

We absolutely LOVE to flex our creative muscles at smaller catered events.  While we are skilled at serving hundreds or thousands of guests at a time, we cherish the opportunities to work with clients on small full-service catering events. We put as much planning and consideration into an event for 25 guests as we do for one with 250 guests.