Post # 1
I need the advice of someone who has worked in catering or the like.
My venue is trying to tell me that they need to leave this buffet table up during our ceremony, and that the one hour between the end of our ceremony and the start of the cocktail hour isn’t enought time to set this up?
The problem is… we are standing right about where the gentleman is standing, except we are closer to the table. This table will be in every photograph, it’s really hard to crop out (I’m a photographer, I tried).
My question is, how long would it take the setup this table? We aren’t having the weird maroon fabric or any of the odd decorations, just food on the table.
Post # 3
I would explain your concern to them and tell them you will recruit people to help them if it is just a manpower issue.
Post # 4
Is it just the table that will need to be in place, or are they saying the equipment needs to be prepped as well? What types of equipment are/will be on it? Even if it will have chafing dishes, and punch bowls or fountains, an hour should be enough time. Is that the only table that will be set up, or will there be others? If there are more, it could take longer than an hour, but if that’s the only one, then an hour should be sufficient. It could also depend on the food being served. Some things are trickier and require more precise preparation and presentation. If it’s just simple type foods, again an hour should be sufficient.
Maybe they’re trying to avoid completely setting up whilst your cocktail hour is ongoing? In an attempt to make sure things aren’t rushed? Will the cocktail hour be in the same room, or a different one? They could be wishing to stay out of the way, as well.
Post # 5
That’s not difficult to set up but agree provide man power if that’s their issue.
Post # 6
@vmec: agree. Are all their people going to be serving you at the cocktail hour? Is that the only thing they are setting up? Are they already setting tables etc? Would this just push them over the edge for timing or would they need another person to get it set up?
You would be surprised how long it can take to set up. So even if it took only 20 minutes, that is 20 minutes that they dont have for serving your guesets, bringing food out, clearing plates, setting tables.
Post # 7
I have catered! And although it looks simple to you, it’s not. It’s probably a folding table and the linen looks well thought out and there’s a lot on that table. Compromise? Have them remove the things on the table so that a few ladies or gents could set it back up in a jiffy.
Also, that looks like a chafing dish to keep food warm and it could be hot to move. they may ixnay my idea for that reason. (Safety)
Post # 8
If there are going to be chafing dishes on the table, then an hour really would be pushing it time wise. Chafing dishes are kept warm by little candles, so they really take a while for the water under the serving dish to get sufficiently warm to keep your food warm once it is served. It is also dangerous to move chafing dishes once the water is hot…I burned myself more than once when clearing the buffet line after an event. Unless you want your guests to be served lukewarm food, you might have to accept the table being there.
The other issue with setting up during the cocktail hour is that you will have guests milling around. Personally, I wouldn’t want servers having to move among my guests to set up a table during cocktail hour. If your cocktail hour is in another room, however, that might be possible.
Post # 9
Thanks Ladies, it helps to be reminded that chaffing dishes and all that stuff takes time to set-up! I completely forgot about that stuff.
I called the venue today (after waiting a week to hear from them) and he told me that he’s working on a solution that everyone will be pleased with. An extra hitch in this is that I have this wall of curly willow branches that are going to be setup behind it, so I’m also trying to work with the florist to figure out when she can set that up. AHHHHHH!!!!
Worse case scenrio, we move up the ceremony time, because I do not want that table set-up during our ceremony.
Post # 10
Can you put the wall of curly willow branches in front of the table during your ceremony and move it behind after? Or can you set up some shoji screens or pip and drape in front of the table? I don’t think moving your ceremony time because of a table makes much sense. There are a lot of ways you can camouflage a banquet table.
Post # 11
@CanAmBride: That’s a great idea, but I think it would just make it worse. It sticks out pretty far, the room is a lot more narrow than it looks in that picture.
Post # 12
Can they put that in a different location even if it is not the best. Better then in your photos? I am sure your not the first person to want this?
Post # 13
@CanAmBride: I was thinking of something along these lines as well. Can you make a screen of some sort to cover it up?
Post # 14
@siegeli: I’m thinking that they are going to set it up but move it into the room that’s opposite this one, which is where we are having dinner later that evening, the pocket doors that seperate the rooms will be closed, so it won’t be seen.
Post # 15
Whilst I don’t work in catering I do work (from time to time) in events.
As JoJo Bananas said about the screen, you can get something known as a reveal, which is basically a floor to ceiling drape that can be pulled back as required. You can install a track made out of steel cable (catenary wire) or taut rope; or you can use “pipe and drape” (telescopic aluminium uprights and horizontals with drapes). For the track like system you can get drapes with small hooks on them, and for the “pipe and drape” system you’d need to get ones with ties. ETA with the latter you can also box in the table, just noticed that you said it sticks out. Speak to a specialist draping company, Google events draping and you should get a hit.
The other thing that I would say is that it’s your day, you’re the client, you’re in charge and they should, in my opinion, do everything within their power to make it how you want it. If you don’t want the table there, just tell them. They might just be making excuses so as to make things easier for themselves. I doubt it will take more than two people an hour to set up, you could always suggest a test run.
Because I am in the UK I don’t know if some of the things I refer to are called different things in the US.