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When planning a private party, it’s a good idea to know some basic tips and tricks to help manage your time and limit stress. Having direction as to ambience, food, and attendance early on can make the process seamless and the private event memorable.
First step: Choose your venue. Once that’s set, meet with the event’s coordinator at your space to discuss logistics. And, lastly? Impress your guests with your attention to detail and customization, where whatever occasion you’re celebrating, be it a rehearsal dinner, corporate event, holiday, or brunch, is a total hit.
Stefanie Rowe, Director of Sales & Marketing at Hotel EMC2, a boutique, Chicago hotel fusing art and science for an interactive, guest experience, as well as at the Albert, a contemporary restaurant showcasing seasonal, global cuisine, within house, shares a few tips for throwing a fantastic private dining event.
Pick Your Space Based On Attendance
No one likes to feel packed like sardines at a private event, so keep the guest list in mind when choosing your venue.
“At Hotel EMC2, three spaces, as well as the Albert restaurant, are offered, and they all vary in size,” says Rowe. For instance, when planning a dinner, Emmy Noether fits up to 48 people at 812 sq ft, Symmetry fits up to 64 guests at 988 sq ft, and the outdoor terrace will hold up to 35 people at 690 sq ft of space.
To keep your party happy—with enough room to feel at ease—book a space that leaves that much-needed wiggle room.
Tell The Chef Of Dietary Restrictions Ahead Of Time
If you’ll need vegetarian or gluten-free options, it’s best to let the Chef know immediately. This will give the Chef and kitchen enough time to plan something delicious and appropriate that’s within your budget and his or her capabilities. You don’t want to be the one to tell your fiancé’s sister a wedding reception that there’s no vegan dish available.
“At the Albert, Chef Brandon Brumback will happily customize based on dietary preferences,” says Rowe. What’s more, he’ll also offer dual-plated options and other special requests, to really let your vision come to life, she adds.
Plus, the selection of stationary and passed canapés is already diverse, in itself, to appease most diets. A few to note: Pastrami with apple-horseradish on rye, prawns with avocado and grapefruit, warm cauliflower soup, eggplant and tomato on sourdough, and fingerling potato with tobiko and crème fraiche.
Pick Buffet Or Plated Meal Based On The Event
A major perk with buffets and family-style plating? You can try a bit of everything! Plus, it lets your guests move around and mingle, taking a few bites in between conversation. A great occasion for family style plating could be a holiday dinner, like Thanksgiving, where everyone is already in the “sharing” mindset, or a corporate gathering, when networking is of top priority.
Yet, if you’re hosting a wedding reception, for instance, a set plated dinner, with assigned seats, might be more appropriate. In these cases, inquire with the Chef and venue on menu options that still offer variety.
For instance, “the Albert’s dinner menu for plated dining per person gives the choice of steak (and cut), lamb, chicken, fish, and pasta, along with a side of vegetables, as well as enhancements, like blue crab salad or oysters,” says Rowe. It’s smart to choose a venue that offers such variety in creating your perfect plated meal.
Choose An Interactive Environment
Atmosphere can really influence mood, so finding a location that has an energetic, interactive feel can create a more stimulating environment. “
And, looking for little details, such as art, insightful words, murals, antique or vintage accessories, or plush couches, can also create a more intimate setting, perfect for holidays, networking happy hours, and anniversary parties. The Emmy Noether room, is a great example of character and ambience.
Eugenia Cheng, resident scientist of Hotel EMC2, designed four large chalkboard panels in the Emmy Noether room. A few hundred books are also on display in the Symmetry space. The spaces capture art, science, knowledge and innovation, a perfect conversation starter between bites.
End On A Sweet Note
No event is complete with a sweet ending—and that means dessert. No matter your dining format, whether it’s buffet, passed treats, or plated, you should always save room for an indulgence (or two). “At the Albert, for instance, you can customize our menu and pick from a few delicious choices, like fudge brownies, cookies, seasonal sorbet, or even a sinful, dark chocolate flourless cake topped with vanilla and almonds,” says Rowe.
A tip: Dine at the restaurant before your event to experience the cuisine and service?