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 a recent study from CareerCast, meeting planners and event coordinators were ranked the fifth most stressful job. For those of us in the industry, that should come as no surprise. Between negotiations, acting as the middleman between clients and venue, intense deadlines and the unconventional hours, planners have a lot on their plates. We worked with Megan Diaz, senior business development manager at Minneapolis Northwest Tourism, to gather tips and tricks for finding some balance among the demands of this challenging career.

1. Stay Organized

 

Gathering off-site and need a bar that adds a touch of elegance to your next event? Check out the options of Happy Hour Designer Bar Rentals. Offering a variety of styles that include custom, chalkboard, wood, mirrored and backlit bar-fronts and -backs, the rentals can be personalized for your event with colors, themes or logos.