If you’re looking for the perfect place to host a catered event, Woodman’s at Essex can help. Here are some great catering ideas that you can use for your next gathering.

John Maher:  Hi, I’m John Maher. Today I’m here at Woodman’s with Curt Fougere, a fourth generation Woodman and Kristi Swett, a fifth generation Woodman. Today we’re talking about locations for a catered event. Kristi and Curt, welcome.

Choosing Catered Event Locations – Essex Room at Woodmans

Kristi Swett:  Hi, John.

Curt Fougere:  Hi.

Choosing & Booking a Venue

John:  How should I choose a venue to fit the type of party that I’m having, such as a wedding, a birthday, an anniversary, etc.?

Curt:  Depending on your choice of a party that you’re going to be throwing — if it’s a wedding, you’re looking more generally for a formal atmosphere. You may want to be looking at either renting a function hall or a function facility.

If you’re looking for a little bit more casual wedding, depending on location, you could be looking at renting a tent for an outside venue. It could either be a backyard or some event places are outside, seating under a tent style.

John:  How long ahead of the date should I book a venue or book a caterer?

Kristi:  It would really depend on the type of party you’re having. When you think of weddings, people are very specific on time of year or a certain date that they are looking for. That is something you should start to look in…anywhere from a year and a half to two years out, we’re getting requests for different things.

Sometimes caterers have the ability to do multiple events per day so booking them that far out isn’t necessarily a must. Again, if you do have anything that your heart is set on and you’re not flexible, the sooner the better.

John:  If you wanted to have a particular venue on a particular day, then obviously you’d really want to try to check in with that caterer or that venue much earlier. If you had a little bit of flexibility, like you said, “I just want to have a party, it doesn’t really matter where or when,” you might have a lot more options.

Kristi:  We do…corporate events pop up all the time. Business meetings come into town. If you’re looking at it and it’s something that may happen two months away, don’t have that scare you off either. Some places do have availability and the ability to book quite quickly.

John:  Don’t just think, “Oh, well it’s too late. I’m not going to find a place late.” Give the caterer a call and find out because you never know. Maybe they had a cancellation or maybe they just happen to be available that day.

Kristi:  Absolutely.

Prices of Venues and Caterers

John:  How much should I plan on spending for an average venue and how much is the caterer?

Curt:  An average venue is going to vary in price depending on the size, location, what style event you’re looking for. With the caterers, same thing. It depends on the menu.

With the caterers, if you’re having somebody come in to a catering event, meaning an outside caterer coming in, you’re looking at probably a $60 and up range, depending on your menu and the size of your function.

Most caterers won’t do a function without a minimum set price in their pricing. The venues, like I said, they vary greatly depending on what type of venue you’re looking for.


John:  How much of the venue can I decorate myself, if at all, versus the venue itself doing all of the decorating?

Kristi:  That’s something that’s really venue specific. Some places allow as many things as possible to come in and a lot of do‑it‑yourselfers. Other venues are very specific and do have preferred vendors that you have to use. They provide the flowers and the cake and things like that.

John:  So check with your venue and see what their rules are?

Kristi:  Yeah.

Saving Money When Booking a Venue

John:  Is there any way that I can save money when booking a venue?

Curt:  There’s a lot of ways that you can save money depending on what day or time you want your party.

Midweek parties, generally the venue is a little bit cheaper because there’s not as much demand on those venues as compared to a weekend.

Breakfasts tend to be a little bit cheaper than a full course sit down dinner meal, for example.

Foods to Include

John:  What types of food should I have the caterer include in my menu so that everyone at the catered event is content?

Kristi:  You really want to look at your guest list. Sometimes people send out formal invitations and ask the guests for a choice. You always want to have some type of vegetarian option, children options.

Most people with allergies will let themselves be known on their RSVPs. It’s something to always talk to your caterer. Can they accommodate those things as they come in or gluten‑free as well?

John:  Great. That’s excellent information. Kristi and Curt, thanks again for speaking with me today.

Kristi:  Thank you John.

Curt:  Thank you.

John:  For more information about catering, visit the Woodman’s website at woodmans.com or call 978‑768‑2559.

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