Planning an event at a private estate can be very fulfilling, but there are so many questions that come up along the way. We wanted to focus a bit on catering an event at a private estate and what questions you should be asking your venue!
Can I bring in my own caterer?
Although, catering and beverage service is often provided in house, many private estates will have a preferred catering list which will have different vendors available with a variety of menu options and pricing and can customize to your specifications. Many venues will allow outside catering as long as they are a licensed and insured.
If I have religious or cultural guidelines or special dietary concerns, do I have to go through your catering service?
Most estates will allow you to bring in your own catering service in this case, and may wave any outside catering fee.
My guest count is very small, do I have to pay the outside catering fee if I decide to use my own caterer?
Many venues only charge for outside catering when you reach a certain amount of guests. Usually the fee is only assessed when the guest count reaches around 75 guests and above.
Will the caterer have access to the kitchen?
Every estate varies, but some will allow limited access to the kitchen. Others will need to have a build out kitchen set up on the estate (oftentimes the garage). Keep room in your budget for your caterer to bring in their own appliances for the build out kitchen.
Are there food and beverage minimums?
Ask your venue if they have any food and beverage minimums. Some venues will have minimums that you must meet that might be well above what you were planning on spending. Private estate events typically are much more flexible than traditional banquet halls and do not have food and beverage minimums, which leaves you with more freedom to spend that money on something else.
Can I bring my own alcohol or add my favorite beverage to the menu?
If you have a specific brand of wine or signature cocktail that you would like served, most services allow you to customize their beverage menu. Some estates may let you bring in your own alcohol for a lower fee, while they still provide the bartenders and the non-alcoholic drink options.