Avoid food fights
Figure out far in advance whether you’ll be using the centre’s kitchen, should it have one; internal catering will give you a much different price per guest than hiring an outsider caterer. McCarthy has seen pesky administrative fees – for things like barbecue rentals, staff uniforms and disposable utensils – add up to 40 per cent on top of the original budget. Keep in mind dietary restrictions, as well.
This should go without saying, but make it the best meal you can afford. This is not the place in your budget to skimp. “People will remember the food, good or bad,” McCarthy says. “They might not remember the keynote speaker’s closing remarks, but they’ll remember the chocolate lava cake they got for dessert.”