For nearly a decade, Elizabeth Tulipana, owner of Anticipation Events, of has been styling events throughout Chicagoland and beyond. We challenged her to put a new spin on the age-old buffet setup. The resulting ideas will have your guests clamoring to take both photos and bites. Forks up!

1. Family-style: Guests enjoy dinner served on platters in the middle of each table, enabling everyone to get food faster. It also helps spark table conversation, because you have to pass and share food with one another

2. Twelve-course  meal: An extravagant meal of tiny bites beautifully plated provides a huge wow factor to any event, if you have the budget.

3. Food trucks: Want to move the party outdoors? Enlist the city’s best food trucks to roll in and serve comfort foods like doughnuts, grilled cheese, tacos or pizza.

4. Breakfast for dinner: This is one of my personal favorites. Surprise attendees by serving decadent cinnamon rolls, quiches, breakfast meats and fresh fruit.

5. Upside-down meal: Serve dessert first, followed by an entree, and then appetizers as a late-night snack.

6. Picnic baskets: Fill picnic baskets with fresh bread, charcuterie, cold salads and maybe a split of sparkling wine for the table to share.

7. Individual lunch boxes: Good for a quick, casual meal, fill lunch boxes with local favorites or a few throwback food items to get people talking about the good old days of school lunches. Who doesn’t love a Capri Sun or a Fruit Roll-Up?

8. Farm lunch: Fill giant wooden boards with meats, cheeses, spreads, chips, dips, nuts, fruit, sweets, condiments, crackers, vegetables, etc. The more the merrier, and plate it beautifully for a great shareable meal. 

In 2020, Houston First Corp. (HFC) reported that the city was slated to host 252 meetings and 611,000 room nights. By March 14, the Bayou City had already hosted 115 conventions and 137,400 room nights. Then the pandemic hit, and meetings and events across the country came to a screeching halt.

We asked Michael Heckman, acting president and CEO of Houston First Corp. (HFC) how the health crisis has influenced the organization’s business model moving forward.

 

Chances are, you won’t know you’re living through history until it’s too late. It’s already happening. A chain reaction has been set in motion and the ground has begun to slide beneath your feet.

This past year has been a whirlwind to say the least. As a global pandemic sent the world reeling, planners were left grasping for footholds as the event industry was brought to a standstill, and many of the most fundamental elements of live meetings and events were cast in a new light.

 

Great lighting is key. Smart décor is a must. But the mood of any gala, auction or awards ceremony lies largely on the shoulders of its master of ceremonies. Who you choose to represent your cause or organization on stage can be the difference between an event that is “ho-hum” or “electrifying.”

Texas Meetings + Events reached out to three of Texas’s favorite emcees. They shared with us how they got where they are—and what they’re doing now—along with some sage advice.