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5 Tips for Sending Party Invites

Invitation etiquette for a casual birthday party on a typical invite.

How to put together an invite system when you’re planning an event 

When you’re planning an event, it’s important to create an organized system for sending out invites. Will you send digital e-vites or invitations in the mail? Who will you invite when factoring in the budget? How formal or casual will your event be and should your invitations reflect that style? 

Planning will smooth out the process. Giving your guests enough time to respond will also make it easier for you to plan the rest of the party. Here are five invitation etiquette tips for your event. 

Tip 1: Digital or paper? 

The first decision you have to make when sending invitations is the form they’ll take – digital or paper (by mail). This may depend on the style of your event. If it’s a casual luau, for example, e-vites would be fine, but a fancy wedding probably calls for an in-the-mail invitation. 

Digital invites are cheap (they’re usually free, in fact) and are easy to send out. They might not be accessible to everyone, though, if they don’t have a computer or smartphone. Consider your guest list. Will there be older or less tech-savvy people on it? They would benefit from a paper invitation. If, on the other hand, you’re confident that everyone on your list will see an e-vite and the style of the party fits it, email away.  

Tip 2: Choose an invitation that fits your event’s style 

Design your invitation based on the feel of your event. The font, colors, and design of an invitation can tell a guest right away what kind of event you’re having. When you choose a design for your invitation, think about something that fits the occasion and go from there. Have fun with choosing the color scheme and design. Whatever the occasion, the style of your invitation should reflect the purpose of the event and show personality.  

Tip 3: Choose your guests

When making a guest list, think of who you want at this particular occasion. Instead of trying to invite everyone you know, you’ll want to narrow it down depending on the size of the event and your budget. Different events sometimes call for different guests; for example, you may invite your great aunt to your wedding but not necessarily to a Cinco de Mayo shindig. 

Tip 4: Keep the invite’s content short and sweet

Your invites should thoroughly detail the “who, what, when, where, and why” of the event. Clarity will keep questions to a minimum. 

You may also want to include pertinent details such as a dress code if there is one. Keep in mind how you can serve the best interests of your guests so that everyone feels at ease and can enjoy themselves when they get there. 

Tip 5: Make sure to include RSVP instructions 

Once you figure out if you’re creating digital or paper invitations, you can choose how the guests will RSVP. On a digital invitation, the guest can simply click a button to RSVP while paper invitations will need to include an RSVP card with an envelope and return address on them. 

Typical styles of invitation based on events

At the end of the day, event invitations, much like everything else, are a personal choice, so you should choose them in whatever style you like. With that being said, here are suggestions for invitation etiquette based on two popular events. 

  • For a wedding

Since weddings are usually formal, your invitations should reflect that. Paper invitations will work better for this type of event because it communicates the importance of it more than an email or text invite would. Important documents always come in a physical copy, so wedding invitations should as well. Planning a wedding involves many parts and sending invitations early with RSVP cards will make your planning process much smoother.

  • For a birthday party

Whether it’s your seven-year-old’s birthday or your mother’s 50th, birthday invitations can give guests an idea of the theme and formalness of the party. Emailing a fun digital e-vite would be perfect for a casual backyard party. This makes the RSVP process as simple as a click and easy for guests to add to their digital calendars. 

Share details, such as costume dress code, if you want guests to dress up for a certain era or theme. If there are last-minute changes, they can go into an update more easily in a digital form. 

Make your event shine with TooJay’s Catering

Whatever type of event you’re hosting, providing quality food for your guests is essential for a good party. TooJay’s offers catering services that have a span of options to choose from. Whether you need breakfast, lunch, or dinner, TooJay’s has options for each course and meal of the day. From sandwich platters to desserts, our catering menu has you covered. Call us today!

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8 Ways to Celebrate Your Employees on a Job Well Done

Graphic of megaphone shouting “Great Job!” on a yellow background for employee appreciation day.

An employee appreciation day is a great morale booster – and it’s also just a lot of fun!

Did you know that Employee Appreciation Day is an official holiday? Many don’t (and unfortunately it’s not a day off). Officially, Employee Appreciation Day takes place on the first Friday in March. It was started in 1995 by a guy named Bob Nelson. You might call Bob an employee appreciation enthusiast. He has authored many books on the subject and was so passionate about saying thanks to workers that he created a day for it.

If you’re reading this in 2021, you may have missed it – it was March 5. That doesn’t mean you can’t catch it in 2022, though, on March 4, or better yet, throw your own Employee Appreciation Day sometime soon. Why do this? Well, it’s not only a great way to keep your employees happy but it also makes good business sense! Retaining employees is less costly than hiring new ones, so avoiding staff turnover is always a smart move.

Stumped about how to throw your own appreciation day? These eight tips should help (spoiler alert: food is always the best way to show gratitude).

  • Hold employee appreciation day during business hours

No matter how close your team is, few people like to show up for workplace events outside of office hours. That’s why rule number one when hosting an employee appreciation day is to do it during business hours. This gives your staff a break from work and shows them that you respect the work/life balance.

  • Explore on-site and off-site options

Hmmm…now where to host your appreciation day? Take a look at what you’re working with at the office first. If you’ve got a break room big enough to host the whole staff, that’ll work (don’t worry, we’ll talk decorations in a bit). If you’ve got an outside space such as a grassy area near the building, that’s an even better idea if the weather is nice. 

If your office doesn’t have the right space, look to outside options, such as a nearby park, a restaurant with a private dining room, or an event venue.

  • Don’t forget about remote employees

In today’s remote office culture, some of your team may be working from home. Maybe you’ve even got folks who work from hundreds or thousands of miles away. Don’t forget about them! Offer a Zoom link to the event and send a gift in the mail (or a digital gift card via email) to say thank you for their work.

  • It’s all about the swag bags

Speaking of gifts, no employee appreciation party is complete without a token of your appreciation. You can give employees items with the company logo on them, such as sweatshirts or coffee mugs, or if you have a small team, opt for customized items (Etsy has some great options) so that each member of the team has something that’s just for them. If all else fails, sweet treats and gift certificates are never a bad idea.

  • Decorate

This is especially crucial if you’re having your employee appreciation party at the office. You want it to feel special – you know, not just like another coffee break beneath the fluorescent lights. Hit up a party store and buy streamers, confetti, and maybe even a piñata. Buy or make a banner saying “thank you.” Keep the decorations colorful and cheery.

  • Give out awards

One great way to say thanks is to give out awards. These can be serious or silly. Give a speech or write cards where you acknowledge specific achievements. You might even consider putting together a photo slideshow of some memorable events or accomplishments. 

  • Bring in entertainment

A truly great party has that wow factor: entertainment. No, we’re not saying you have to spring for a celebrity appearance from a famous pop star (your accounting department would definitely not love that decision). Consider a local musician or comedian, or maybe a guest speaker. If you don’t have the stage or space for that, you could even show a movie. Who doesn’t like the idea of a plate of good food and a movie during the workday? 

  • Say thanks with catering

Food is one of the best ways to say thank you to your hard-working employees. TooJay’s Catering is a trusted local caterer with 40 years in the business and a wealth of options that’ll delight everyone in your office. From savory lunch specialties to sumptuous desserts, nothing says “thank you” like a catered lunch for your employees.  Call us today to start planning. 

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Fresh and Creative DIY Tips for a Backyard Wedding

A newly-married couple at their backyard wedding speaks to a table of guests

Stun on your big day with these DIY outdoor wedding planning tips 

Key takeaways: 

  • Create your guest list based on the size of your backyard
  • Hope for sunshine, but make sure you have a plan in case it rains.
  • Use foliage, DIY arbors, and string lights to create a festive feel 
  • Consider long banquet tables to enhance conversation and optimize seating
  • Help your guests relax and have fun with lawn games, a bar, and a lounge area
  • Work with a professional caterer to provide delicious food

A backyard wedding lets you say “I do” in the great outdoors. It might be the backyard you played in as a child, shared countless BBQs with friends in, or created other sweet memories. Getting married in your backyard, your parent’s backyard, or renting an outdoor space benefits from a DIY spirit. You can strike a rustic tone, set up an enchanting tent, or embrace your own eclectic style. 

There are no limits to what you can do with backyard weddings, as the outdoor space is a perfect canvas to customize your big day. 

Planning your own or someone else’s backyard wedding and looking for ideas? Keep reading for 10 DIY tips for backyard nuptials. 

1. Size your guest list correctly

The size of your yard will indicate how many people you can have at your affair. Don’t overstuff your space or people might feel uncomfortable. Be realistic about how many people you can comfortably fit in your yard.  

Take the rough size of your backyard and identify how much space you need for the ceremony, the dance floor, the buffet table, or whatever else you’d like. Leave a good portion of space for the dining tables if you plan to have a sit-down dinner, and decide how many guests you can invite based on the number of tables and chairs you can fit in your designated dining area. You can be a bit more flexible if you skip the sit-down meal and opt for lots of hors d’oeuvres.

2. Hope for sunshine, plan for rain

You want your day to be as perfect as possible and that means planning for unwanted issues like rain. Try to shoot for a time of year when the weather is likely to be nice, but also make a plan in case the rain blows in. Have a backup indoor venue (your living room perhaps), invest in a rain tent or a weather-resistant marquee, and consider having ponchos handy. 

3. Pump up the foliage

Plants will help give your backyard wedding a lush and luxurious feel. Use small plants as table centerpieces, rent potted fruit trees for your tent, or add interesting plants and flowers around the dance floor. 

Make the most of your outdoor space by decorating everything from garden sheds to kiddie pools to decks to fences. It’s really up to you. Have an old clothesline, for example? Hang pots of flowers on the poles or wind flowering vines around the lines. 

4. Make a grand entrance

Welcome your guests to your backyard wedding by creating a grand entrance for them to walk through. Hang curtains from a metal frame, wind fabric and greenery around trellises, or create a rustic arbor with fallen branches and wildflowers. You can also walk through this entrance on your way up the aisle or use it as a backdrop to capture photos of your guests

5. Illuminate your backyard wedding with string lights

The right lighting is critical for a beautiful ambiance and string lights are gorgeous and affordable. Grab some umbrella stands or put metal poles into buckets full of concrete to support the lights. Then, place them strategically around your yard or use them to define different areas.

6. Utilize long banquet tables

Long banquet tables help you optimize the available space you have. They are great for conversation and you can customize them to create any look you want. Direct guests to their tables with an escort card display that complements the rest of your space. Use wood and wire to create a rustic look, for example, or integrate antique paper and baby’s breath flowers for a more elegant feel. 

7. Create a lounge area

Give your guests an area where they can sit, chat, and enjoy a beverage. Use patio furniture, plants, and hanging lights to create a lounge area. Alternatively, set up a glamping tent with comfortable upholstered furniture and a working chandelier if you would prefer a more luxurious space. 

8. Have lawn games

Create a fun vibe at your wedding with lawn games. Customize cornhole boards with your wedding date or special photographs. Take a note from a 1920s garden party and set up a fancy 2020s croquet game. You may even want to consider giant Jenga in your wedding’s colors.

9. Set up a backyard bar

Every backyard wedding needs a bar – even if you don’t plan to serve alcohol, you still need a stand for drinks. Opt for a traditional bar with a bartender or embrace the backyard vibe by turning an old fruit cart or antique pick-up into a bar. Complete the rustic feel by filling metal troughs with ice and canned or bottled drinks. 

10. Make the food spectacular

One of the biggest things people enjoy at a wedding is the food. Being outside doesn’t mean that you need to sacrifice quality at all. Reach out to caterers in advance to talk about what kind of food you’d like. Caterers have a lot of experience with backyard weddings. They can let you know the ideal amount of food you need to keep your guests happy and walk you through the logistics of keeping buffet platters hot, organizing wait staff to pass out hors d’oeuvres, and dealing with other dining essentials.

Let TooJay’s Catering make your backyard wedding spectacular

We can help you make your backyard wedding into a spectacularly memorable occasion. TooJay’s offers a host of menu options including hot entrees, hors d’oeuvres, cakes, and more. We can customize the perfect menu for your big day whether you want a sit-down dinner, light snacks, decadent desserts, or something else. We offer full-service catering, as well as pickup and drop-off. 

Ready to start planning your wedding’s menu? Contact us today.

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9 Foolproof Ways to Plan a Sizzling Summer BBQ

A group of adults and children sitting at a table laughing and mingling outdoors during a summer BBQ

Leave basic backyard BBQs in the past and transform your event into the best party on the block with these can’t-miss tips

The sun is shining; the flowers are blooming; the grass is green; it’s summertime, and if you’re the event planner of your household, that means one thing: BBQ season. Nothing says summer after all like a group of friends and family eating, drinking, and laughing together outside. 

It seems so easy to plan a summer BBQ – you just set out some chairs, buy a sleeve or two or Solo cups, crank up the tunes, and invite your friends over, right? 

If you’ve hosted your share of backyard soirées, you know that it’s not quite that easy. But guess what? It doesn’t have to be super hard either. Whether you’re having one big summer blowout this year or you’re aiming to make every Saturday a party for the ages, these summer BBQ tips will get things cooking. 

1. Decorate your backyard

Here’s the cool thing about any outdoor party: decorations are pretty much already in place. The trees, flowers, and sunlight do so much of the decorating work for you. Fill in the rest of the scenery by setting up some string lights (crucial if your summer BBQ is after dark!) and getting some festive table settings. Gingham or checkers are great for summertime place settings, and a few vases of flowers or potted succulents can also create a pleasant atmosphere. 

2. Put thought into the seating

You’d be surprised by how many party hosts forget to have enough seating for their guests. Don’t let that be you! Plan your seating with the maximum number of RSVPs in mind. Since it’s a casual event, you can mix it up by having lawn chairs, picnic tables, benches, camp chairs – whatever you’ve got. Don’t have enough seating? Spread out a few picnic blankets for guests to relax on. 

3. Make batched cocktails

The day before your summer BBQ, make a big batch of spiked punch for your adult guests. Divide it into mason jars the day of with lids and place them in a galvanized tub of ice. This is a festive, easy way to create that perfect summertime backyard party vibe.

4. Don’t forget about drinks for the kids

Have some non-alcoholic beverages for the kiddos, too. You can stock up on some cool old-fashioned sodas in glass bottles, set up a lemonade stand, or make fun mocktails. Just be sure that the adult beverages and the children’s beverages are clearly labeled.

5. Have extra napkins

It’s a BBQ, which means lots of people eating with their hands while walking around. It can get messy! Translation: buy more napkins than you think you’ll need. 

P.S. We love this easy hack for preventing napkins from flying away when the wind picks up.

6. Games, games, games

People will have fun socializing and eating at your summer BBQ, but they’ll have even more fun if you set up some backyard games. From cornhole to sack races to giant chess sets, the options are limitless. Go big by setting up a backyard volleyball court, or keep it simple by just investing in some cards for a post-dinner round of poker.

7. Keep your guests’ comfort in mind

Even if the weatherman says it’s going to be 73 degrees and sunny, you want to be prepared. Have a covered area so guests can get shade from the sun or rain, and set up a station (away from the food) where partygoers can grab sunscreen, bug spray, and personal fans. If you really want to be the host with the most, have extra hats, sandals, and towels (if you have a pool) on hand.

8. Consider a fire pit

Picture this: A starry night, your closest friends, ample s’mores supplies, a crackling fire. Doesn’t a fire pit sound like the perfect addition to your summer BBQ? If you’ve already got one, great! If not, you might be surprised to learn that they’re cheaper than you think.

9. Leave the food to the pros

With summer almost here and BBQ season ready to go, these nine tips will help you plan a fun shindig. TooJay’sCatering is a trusted caterer that can make your summer BBQ a hit. Whether you’re feeling fancy or no-frills, we’ve got you covered. Select the TooJay’s menu that sounds tastiest for your party or let us customize something special! Contact us to get started. 

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Have You Considered a Hybrid Event?

A family of four celebrates and holds a cupcake while sitting in front of a laptop and attending a hybrid event

The benefits of hybrid business functions and social gatherings and how to plan them 

Many parties and events went virtual in 2020 and in-person events aren’t currently the norm. For many, health and safety concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic are at the forefront. That’s why during event planning, prioritizing guest safety is key. 

As the pandemic recedes, however, virtual events aren’t the only option, and combined experiences, in the form of a hybrid event, can offer the best of both worlds. We’ll walk through planning a hybrid event, with a focus on guest safety, programming, catering, and how virtual guests can still have an immersive experience. 

Key takeaways:

  • A hybrid event includes a virtual and in-person component.
  • These events give guests the option to choose what’s most comfortable for them.
  • Just because guests can’t physically attend your gathering doesn’t mean they’ll have to miss out on social interaction. 
  • Following COVID-19 safety guidelines for social distancing and catering is very important.

The benefits of hybrid gatherings 

Hybrid events have several benefits for guests – since they accommodate both those who are and aren’t comfortable attending in-person gatherings. Here are three. 

  • One plan works for everyone 

Hybrid events are multicomponent, which means you have the advantage of planning an agenda that can be seen in-person and streamed online. This allows you to reach a large audience seamlessly. There is no need for double-duty planning as anything that is done in person can be recorded for an online audience and shared at the same time or after the live event. 

  • Everyone can interact

During hybrid events, you can also make the most of the experience for online guests by offering ”breakout group” sessions. While in-person attendees are chatting or networking, guests online can too. Invite virtual guests to join smaller, private meeting rooms to discuss topics, answer questions, or just catch up with one another. That type of small group dynamic promotes meaningful interaction virtually in an immersive way. Even though virtual attendees won’t be hanging out by the catering table talking casually, they’ll have the same opportunity to interact.  

  • Staying within budget is easy

With a hybrid event, you will probably host fewer live guests, so your budget for things like the venue and catering doesn’t have to be as large. Planning a great event with plenty of room for social distancing and delicious, catered food, won’t take you over budget. If it’s a business function, try these tips for budget-friendly business catering. 

Ways to make your hybrid event a success

Here are some tips for making a hybrid event planning process simple, easy, and safe.

  • Ask guests that are coming to your event to practice social distancing. Make it easy for them by marking spots on the floor that are six feet apart and spacing out chairs so that there is plenty of space. Also, pick a space with good ventilation, which reduces viral particle exposure
  • Test out your virtual platform and software beforehand. Send out Zoom links, or whichever platform you’re using, before the event starts so there is no last-minute scrambling to get virtual attendees connected to the in-person program.
  • Ask attendees for their diet-related concerns, like food allergies or observances. Then, you can plan the right menu with your catering team. A great caterer will have lots of catering options for any type of diet. 
  • Put guest safety policies in place. For the in-person aspect of your event, it’s smart to set a guest limit. Ask those invitees who want to physically attend to RSVP. Remind them to make a decision that is most sensible for themselves and tell them that they won’t be penalized if they cannot attend in person. You may want to require those attending in person to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test. Don’t worry if it’s a small group. Small gatherings can be more fun than large, overwhelming ones!
  • Since your hybrid event will include some in-person guests, make sure to work with a full-service catering team that is practicing the most up-to-date safety guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Your catering staff should wear facial coverings and practice social distancing. Contactless catering is also an option that allows you to order online. Ask in-person attendees to wear masks while plating their food and social distance when eating. 

Hybrid events are the safer option 

Whether you’re planning a business meeting or a casual friend and family gathering, a hybrid event works for everyone. In-person guests can follow safety protocol while those invitees who may feel unsafe attending the event in-person will be grateful that they can still participate in the fun. Hybrid events will make your guests feel safe and valued, despite the current challenges of the pandemic. 

When you’re ready to host a hybrid event, TooJay’s can provide COVID-19 compliant (and budget-friendly!) catering services for events big and small! Take a look at our catering menu and contact us if you have questions. 

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Make up for Missed 2020 Celebrations With Your 2021 Graduation Party

A food table with a black table cloth set up outside for a 2021 graduation party

Celebrate school graduation without sacrificing safety with these 2021 grad party ideas

Most graduation parties last year weren’t exactly all-out soirees. 2020 grads were forced to make do with getting their diplomas in the mail and listening to commencement speeches over Zoom – not exactly a rousing celebration.

Fortunately, 2021 grads should be able to look forward to commemorating their achievement this year. The possibilities for in-person events are becoming more promising as the COVID-19 pandemic slows down. Whether it is high schools or universities, more and more academic institutions are giving the green light on graduation gatherings.

Now here comes the challenge: after a year of social distancing, do you even remember how to throw a party? Yes; yes you do. And we can help you even more with these 2021 graduation party tips. Not only can you throw a graduation event that celebrates success in style, but you can do it safely (Covid-19 isn’t quite over, after all). As a bonus, include any 2020 grads in your life that missed out on their parties last year.

Here’s what to do:

1. Host it outdoors

Springtime brings warm, sunny weather and blossoming flowers in your garden that just happen to serve as the perfect natural décor – there’s no better season for an outdoor party in Florida! Keep your grad party Covid-19 safe and scenic at the same time. Win-win!

Just be sure to keep your eye on the weather and look for a shady area to retreat from too much sunshine and enclosed space in case of precipitation. Add string lights for a festive touch to illuminate your space, and stock up on sunscreen and bug spray to keep guests comfortable.

2. Have party games

It’s not a backyard event without some party games! From cornhole to croquet (or even outdoor beer pong for college grads), the options are practically endless. And there’s no need to install a whole volleyball court! You can try these easy DIY options.

3. Decorate with school colors

The color scheme is easy at a graduation party – just look to your grad’s soon-to-be alma mater for inspiration. Then, purchase streamers, table spreads, disposable plates and cups, and other items in these school colors. You can even look around your house for items you already own in that color scheme.

4. Send your RSVPs out ASAP

Unlike last year, folks are going to have more options for in-person graduation parties in 2021. So plan your event early and get those RSVPs in the mail or email. You can send out virtual invitations to keep things simple and affordable (and to avoid any lingering postal service delays due to the pandemic). Even a Facebook event works. If you opt for the latter, you can post updates and information as the event draws closer.  

5. Have a virtual option for those who can’t make it

Even though Covid-19 is much less active than last year, you might still want to keep your guest list small. You might also be dealing with out-of-state guests who aren’t comfortable traveling yet. No need to leave those people out in the cold on graduation day. Offer a virtual option so they can make an appearance at your party no matter where they’re located. Another fun idea is to ask them to record a congratulatory video and send it your way to be played at the event as a surprise for your grad.

6. Set a backdrop for photos

Using a draped cloth, poster board, or hanging garlands, create a dedicated area of the party for taking photos. Your grad and their friends will have fun posing with caps and diplomas in hand. You can even buy (or DIY) some fun 2021 photo props.

7. Incorporate retrospective photos

Speaking of photos, one easy 2021 graduation party decorating hack may already be in your Instagram or Facebook feed: photos from the past four years. Before the event, print ‘em out! You can use them as table settings, tack them up on poster board by the gift table, or even create an album for people to leaf through.

8. Safety first

Keep guests safe and comfortable by having socially distanced seating and hand sanitizer and soap available. You can even offer commemorative Class of 2021 face masks.

9. Acknowledge 2020 grads who missed out on their parties last year

If you’ve got some 2020 grads at your event, now is the time to give them the party they missed out on last year. Include some 2020 graduation items in your decorating scheme, buy a special cake, and add be sure to acknowledge them in your speech.

10. Don’t forget party favors

There are so many fun party favors you can buy or create when hosting a 2021 graduation party. One that we love is this super easy (and super chocolatey) Reese’s graduation cap idea.

11. Get graduation-worthy catering!

Make your 2021 party a thousand times more special than last year’s less-than-awesome celebration by getting some delicious catering.  TooJay’s Catering is a trusted catering company that can make your event come alive with a wide array of tasty options. From sandwiches and wraps to hot entrees and gourmet desserts (Key lime pie anyone?), we will make your 2021 graduation party a hit.

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9 Enjoyable Party Ideas for 2021

Creative party idea. Outdoor gathering on a roof with people mingling and barbeque

The entertainment landscape is still uncertain in 2021, but that doesn’t mean we can’t plan fun, safe parties to have now or at a later date. Let’s use what we have to create a fun, safe atmosphere where we can connect and share a laugh with our loved ones and friends. One of the most popular ways to have a party now is to hold it outdoors. Having a gathering in your backyard or local park can make a difference in making your guests feel safe and comfortable. Here are nine fun, creative ideas to get your party-planning juices flowing!

1. Themed party 

Themes bring everything together and help make choices, from food to decorations, a lot easier. Pick your favorite movie, book, or era in time and go from there. Some popular themes are “The Great Gatsby,” “Harry Potter,” “Lord of the Rings,” or Disney characters. Create a menu based on your theme and make it fun and delicious. Planning games and activities will bring life and energy to the party. Having a photo booth can also make any shindig livelier. 

2. BBQ

Spring is here and summer is around the corner – the perfect seasons for a barbeque! Turn on your grill and fire up some hotdogs and hamburgers in the park, beach, or your backyard. Order a party platter of sandwiches and salads to go along with the grilled meats. There are many creative ways to make an outdoor party fun. The lawn game, cornhole, is fun for the young and old. Get some fresh air and host your party safely.  Picnics work well for this too. 

3. Backyard movies 

A backyard movie-viewing has an intimate and welcoming feel that invites people in. Set up a projector outside and watch a movie at night. Bring out some blankets and pillows and string some lights in the backyard and you’re all set. Pop some popcorn, make blanket forts, and get cozy at your personal movie screening. 

4. Baking soiree   

Baking can be a lot of fun with friends and family. Make it into an event where you judge each others’ recipes at the end. Most everyone enjoys decorating cookies or cupcakes. Since you probably don’t want to spend the whole time cooking, however, order delicious catering to enjoy lunch before or after baking. 

5. Campfire

A bonfire brings people together and who doesn’t love the smells and sounds of a crackling fire? It’s the perfect excuse to roast some marshmallows and order in desserts. If you want to get creative and make your backyard feel like the wilderness, set up tents and ask guests to wear camping outfits.  

6. DIY crafts 

Doing crafts with others is always fun. People like to make things they can take home. Check out some online sites for crafting ideas, from simple to advanced level. You can also buy small canvases and pots and paint together. It’s not just a fun activity, but a therapeutic one too. After this past year, everyone can use a little art therapy in their lives. 

 7. Game night 

Have everyone bring their favorite board game or cards and play some good, old-fashioned games together. Some options include UNO, charades, trivia card games, and Monopoly. Not everyone enjoys board games, so switch it up with games like Heads Up that you can play on your phone with a group. 

8. Outdoor games 

There are so many games that are perfect for the outdoors. Spikeball is easy to set up and you can play it in your backyard. You can also choose a park with volleyball, or tennis, and/or pickleball courts to get some games going. If you have a big backyard, you can set up some goals and make a little soccer field. 

9. Tie-dye party 

Grab a bunch of plain white shirts, hair scrunchies, or even white cotton masks and have a tie-dying party. Plenty of craft stores have tie-dye kits and sell fabric. Tie-dyeing is a fun and easy way to make something you can wear and kids love to see their homemade creations when they’re done. This type of party requires minimal supplies and is a great activity for kids and teens to do together. 

Get catering for your party!

Planning a party doesn’t have to be stressful. There are many ideas for fun shindigs that are also safe. 

TooJay’s offers catering services for the party you’re planning. From breakfast platters to desserts and everything in between, hawse have you covered. Every party needs great food and TooJay’s has your menu covered. Contact us today for help planning your event’s food options.

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Everybody’s Welcome: 3 Ways to Make Work Parties More Inclusive

A diverse group of employees mingling at an inclusive work party

How to host catered corporate events that celebrate diversity

Key takeaways:

  • Focus on creating an inclusive workplace that welcomes diversity.
  • Ask employees for feedback about what makes them feel comfortable in the work environment. 
  • Be considerate of different types of people and their unique needs.
  • Ensure that you serve catered food that appeals to all employees, including those with dietary restrictions and allergies.

Inclusivity is important, especially in the workplace. Establishing a diverse and welcoming work environment is more essential than ever. To achieve this type of inclusive workplace, your company’s culture and day-to-day actions must showcase a broad mindset. 

One way to make inclusivity a priority is to ensure that work parties are respectful, welcoming, and open to everybody, even on a budget. Whether it’s a group meeting, business function, or catered party, it’s important to be mindful of everyone on your staff. This means incorporating employee feedback, welcoming all the unique and diverse members of your workforce, and creating inviting opportunities fit for the whole team to come together, not just a select few. Here are some ways to make your work parties more inclusive. 

  • Be an example 

When hosting an event for work, you want to make people feel comfortable. Be respectful of all of the different types of employees you have. Create a relaxed and welcoming environment, so that everyone can enjoy the event. 

Talk to your employees during the party, even those you rarely have interaction with, and introduce staff members from different departments if it feels right. This helps break up cliques.

As the host of a catered business event, you set the tone and the example for the rest of the team. Try bringing a plate of hors d’oeuvres over to different groups and ask them how they taste. Circulate the room and try not to zone on in certain people so as not to show excess favoritism. 

Be especially mindful of not only congregating with upper management and C-level employees. Show your employees that they all matter and are important to your company, regardless of their position.

  • Go beyond the surface

Inclusivity is not only about race, ethnicity, gender, or other attributes that are outwardly visible. Take into consideration other deeply-rooted differences between people that may not be so apparent to the eyes. 

Other things that make people different include:

  • Religious beliefs  
  • Health conditions (such as a disabled employee)
  • Marital status
  • Childcare or family responsibilities 
  • Financial situation 

To create a truly inclusive work party, it’s important to recognize the potential differences in your staff according to these broader concerns, and then plan events that acknowledge our uniqueness as people.

Some of your staff, such as mothers or those with certain religious beliefs, might not be able to make an event. Strongly consider making attendance optional, not required. Not every member of staff will have the financial means or time available to attend. 

Encourage attendance with welcoming energy, but clarify that staff should only come if it fits into their after-work schedule. It’s important to establish that there will be no repercussions for non-attendance (except that their colleagues may miss them!) If employees are afraid of retaliation or judgment from coworkers or upper-management, they may feel forced to come despite it not being a good choice for them.

It’s also a good idea to limit alcohol at business events. Some of your staff members may struggle with alcohol dependency, be pregnant, or abstain from alcohol for religious reasons.  Also, you don’t want to create a wild environment where employees let loose a little too much and possibly do something they’ll regret that could cost them their job. 

  • Order catering that appeals to everyone 

One way a team differs is through their food preferences and dietary restrictions. There may be individuals that don’t eat meat, while others may have particular food observances like following a kosher diet. In some cases, employees may have food allergies.

Work with a caterer who can provide a wide variety of food choices to your whole staff, including those with dietary restrictions. An experienced caterer can recommend an array of options that work for large, diverse groups. 

It’s also a smart idea to work with a caterer who is practicing social distancing and taking the appropriate COVID-19 safety measures right now. 

  • Incorporate employee feedback input

One important way to show employees that they are valued and respected is to ask for their input.

Ask for their opinions and feedback regarding their work environment and events that occur. 

Find out what makes your employees comfortable directly from them! This way there are no more guessing games or room for unintended disrespect. When your team sees their feedback in place at a later event, they will feel even more valued and respected.

Always ensure that the staff is allowed to give their feedback anonymously. Allow the team to give honest feedback without the fear of potential punishment or ridicule, as that does not create inclusivity. 

Have a work event that welcomes everyone 

Ultimately, developing an inclusive workplace where all staff members feel comfortable is everyone’s responsibility. By demonstrating a company culture that welcomes – and celebrates – diversity, you can get the ball rolling. Then, employees and colleagues should take it upon themselves to operate from that same safe, collaborative mindset. 

By being a model of inclusivity, it will encourage your employees to do the same. Start by asking your staff for feedback, promoting diversity, and considering more than just surface differences. 

By establishing a comfortable and inclusive workplace and hosting inclusive events that are considerate of everyone’s needs, you’ll be on your way to a healthier, happier workplace.

Considerate catering services

Inclusivity is not just a buzzword, it’s a necessity. We are not all the same but we do work together and it’s important to make everyone, not just certain people, feel comfortable at work. 

If you’re planning an inclusive work party, think about hiring a full-service caterer who can provide a diverse menu that appeals to your guests. TooJay’s offers a wide variety of catering options to meet your needs. Whether guests have dietary restrictions, allergies, or just strong preferences, our extensive catering menu is sure to please everybody!  

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3 Benefits of Hiring a Full-Service Catering Staff for Your Next Event

A happy full-service catering staff standing in a circle looking down and smiling

How can a full-service catering staff simplify your event? 

  • Full-service caterers plan menus for events when you’re not sure which food to choose.
  • Professional catering teams orchestrate several details, from the food service to the event setup. Full-service caterers will set up and break down your event, making clean-up easy.
  • They offer the support of an experienced event-planning team. 

Planning and hosting an entertaining event shouldn’t be stressful; it should be fun! Many people get easily overwhelmed during a party-planning process because there are so many aspects to organize. From sending out invitations to venue selection, to the day-of itinerary, there are a lot of details to coordinate. 

You can make your event-planning process much simpler, though, by hiring a full-service catering staff. Professional caterers will help you with all of the food-related details for your event, as well as other needs, like choosing the right venue. A full-service catering team can work with you to select the perfect menu, manage the food service during the event, set up and break down, and offer experienced support before, during, and after the event. Choosing to work with a team means that you don’t have to be overwhelmed by menu planning or worried about meal preparations. Rather, you can focus on creating a fabulous event for your guests that everybody gets to enjoy (including you!)

Compared to drop-off catering, full-service will make a noticeable difference. Here are the benefits of getting the full package. 

  • Simple menu planning

Whether you are organizing a corporate event, family celebration, or a group gathering, you need to choose a menu that is appropriate for the audience. Try to work with a caterer with an extensive catering menu. 

You can choose easy, group-friendly options for a casual event, like:

  • Sandwiches
  • Salads
  • Desserts

At a professional or more formal event, you may want to select hot entrées paired with elegant hors d’oeuvres. These catered options might include:

  • Shrimp cocktail
  • Phyllo puffs
  • Garlic chicken pasta
  • Grilled London broil
  • Baked Atlantic salmon with dill sauce 

By hiring a full-service catering staff, you’ll have support for a proper menu selection.

An experienced catering team will also be able to help you choose the best menu options for your guests’ unique dining needs. They will take dietary requirements or other accommodations like vegetarian or kosher options into consideration when organizing the meals for your catered event. 

  • Staff to help facilitate the event 

On the day of your event, you’ll be busy with last-minute arrangements, greeting guests, and even possibly putting out fires. By hiring a full-service catering staff, you won’t have to worry about the food at all. Simply let your trusted catering crew take care of it. 

Since you will have already reviewed the menu, you can focus on other things. Your catering team will arrive with prepared food, set up food service stations, plate the food, and serve it accordingly. 

If guests have food-related concerns about the ingredients or their food allergies, they can direct their questions right to your staff. 

  • Pre-event set up and post-event clean up 

One of the biggest benefits of working with a full-service catering staff is that they will set up beforehand and clean up afterward. 

A catering team typically arrives before the event begins to make any final food preparations. They’ll also be on-site early to set up the space and ensure the food is heated and plated appropriately. Then, they’ll stay after the event to ensure everything is cleaned up and cleared out. You don’t have to worry about the mess!

From preparing the food in advance, to delivery and plating, your catering team will make your life easy. If you plan to have caterers serve food throughout the event, they’ll arrive with plenty of time to organize and garnish the hors d’oeuvres and prepare share plates. 

  • Experienced catering team

Another excellent reason to work with a staff is that they’re experienced in catering events, small and large. If anything goes wrong, they’ll know how to fix it. Since they’ve done this before, your caterer will be prepared in advance for the common event and catering mishaps. This way, your event can still go on without a hitch and no guests will go hungry. 

It’s also beneficial to have an experienced catering staff on-site because they work together to ensure your event food service is running efficiently. If there is a problem, there will be back up staff to step in and serve food or resolve any food-related issues. An experienced catering team is a great addition to any event.

Since we’re also still in a pandemic, a catering staff should take the safety of your guests seriously and follow COVID-19 guidelines.

A good decision

Working with a professional and experienced catering team will make your event planning easy. They will help you select a perfect menu and handle all of the food-related details. They’ll prepare the food, bring it to the event, and provide service throughout the occasion. Plus, a full-service catering staff will set up and break down, so you don’t have to worry about cleanup. 

Hiring the best full-service caterer for your event

A full-service catering staff will take the load off of your shoulders to plan and host an event. Not only will they plan a fantastic menu and serve the food, but they will also clean up afterwards. 

An experienced full-service catering staff is available for your upcoming celebration, whether it’s a wedding, baby shower, or corporate event. TooJay’s is proud to offer full-service catering including menu planning, food service staff, setup and breakdown, and more. Visit our website to learn more about hiring us for your next event. 

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Party Themes Made Easy: How to Select the Perfect One for Your Event

themed-work-party-with-catering

Simple tips for choosing an exciting theme for your party or event 

Key takeaways: 

  • A theme can take your party to the next level
  • Choose your theme based on the type of event you’re having, its goals, and your guests.
  • A theme can be incorporated into the attire, menu, entertainment, and venue.

Whether you’re hosting a birthday party or business luncheon, having a theme adds that extra oomph that will dazzle your guests. 

In our experience, the best themes are those that blend the reason for the event, the style you’re looking for, and the expected outcome of the occasion. You can entertain guests no matter what you’re celebrating by incorporating a fun and appropriate theme.  

The theme isn’t just about décor and dressing up. Excellent party themes create the perfect atmosphere. Your guests will feel as though they’ve been transported to a totally different environment. They’ll enjoy the magic of your special event because they’ll be immersed in its setting. Between the location, the food, the attire, and the entertainment, a theme will take your gathering to the next level and really impress your guests.  

If you’re planning a party, celebration, or event, but not quite sure how to choose a theme, don’t stress. We’ve got you covered below. 

How to select an event theme

An event’s theme depends on the type of event it is. If you’re planning a birthday party, you’ll take a different approach than if you’re orchestrating a corporate event. The theme, therefore, should define the event and the reason it’s being held. 

Start by asking the following questions:

  • What type of event is this?

There are many different types of gatherings and events. A high-end corporate event, for example, may have an emphasis on luxury. This means there will be a sense of opulence to it. It may be held at a country club or nice hotel. Champagne may be served and people will most likely dress very well. On the other hand, an informal or relaxed event will be geared towards delivering a fun experience and focus on promoting casual social interactions. 

An easy way to determine the event type and whether it should take a more formal or a laidback approach is to consider what you are celebrating or meeting for. 

  • Who are the guests and how can you offer them an enjoyable experience?

It’s important to think about your guests. Are they family members and/or friends? Are you hosting colleagues for an annual review at work? Are you inviting new neighbors over for a house-warming party?

An event aimed at impressing business partners should have a different ambiance than that of a neighborhood get-together. So, plan your theme accordingly. High-level executives may not enjoy a superhero-themed event as much as a group of your children’s classmates would. On the same token, your children’s classmates probably won’t enjoy a Mad Men-themed event as much as your coworkers might.

Keep your guests at the forefront of the theme selection process. 

  • Why are you having this event?

Ask yourself what the goal of your gathering is. Are you trying to generate new clients for your business? Are you having a gender reveal party? The theme should fit your event’s intention. By working backward and considering your objectives, you can simplify the theme selection process.

  • What is the event budget?

Planning a spectacular event doesn’t have to be expensive, it just requires some planning. This includes setting a budget. Once you have an estimate of it, you can organize the theme’s necessary elements without overspending.

Theme décor and related elements

The next step in choosing the right theme for your event is to think of what elements will define it. Décor, attire, catering, entertainment, and the venue should all fit your theme. 

Here are elements to consider when planning a theme: 

Attire

Your event might be business professional if you’re at the office, or flapper costumes and tailcoats if you’re having a Great Gatsby-themed birthday party. You can invite guests to dress in theme and ask any staff working at the event to wear the appropriate attire. This is a fun way to get your guests involved in the party’s theme.

Catering

Catering is a very important consideration for your gathering – everyone’s got to eat! Food is a great way to combine an event’s theme into the overall experience. If you are hosting a sports-themed party, for example, you might want beer-battered onion rings and loaded sandwiches. Work with your caterer to see how they can incorporate the theme into their presentation of food, such as through garnishes and preparation methods. Selecting the perfect party menu is easy when your caterer has experience offering tons of options for any sized event.  You can also consider hosting a food-centric event, like a dessert party, which is almost sure to be a hit. 

Entertainment 

The most exciting part of any party is usually the entertainment. If you are having live music or playing music from an electronic device, make sure to think of your guests and their tastes. The same goes for other forms of entertainment, which include games and activities, programs, speakers, and slideshows or videos. Try to schedule entertainment intermittently throughout the event so that guests have time to interact (and eat!) in between each activity. There’s nothing more frustrating than attending an event with tantalizing food and not having a chance to eat because you’re moving through a hefty itinerary! Balance is key when organizing your event’s entertainment.

Venue

In some instances, the event venue is implicit, i.e. your home or backyard, or your office conference room. On other occasions, the venue is totally up to you. Either way, the important thing is to consider how you can work the setting into the theme and style of your event. An office can easily be transformed into a disco scene. A rooftop bar probably won’t cut it as a good backdrop for a rustic barn-themed party, however. Plan accordingly but don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

Exciting themes for your next event

Ready to select a theme? Here are some fun, versatile suggestions.

  1. Garden party. These are easy to do in South Florida! Just take your guests outside, place some colorful, fragrant bouquets on tables, and voilà! 
  2. Dessert party. Almost everyone loves sweets! Offer an array of decadent homemade, desserts crafted by your favorite caterer. 
  3. “Travel the world.” Bring an international theme to your party with a culturally-inspired menu, and foreign décor. 
  4. Farm to table. Keep it healthy by offering a curated menu of locally-sourced foods served on beautiful platters. Whether you’re hosting a business luncheon or a children’s party, a farm-to-table menu and theme is a great choice.
  5. Roaring 20’s. This is a classic party theme, or at least it has been for the entire last century! Now that we’re back in the ‘20s, it’s a fun way to create a then-and-now atmosphere for guests.

Here are a few more ideas for fun party themes to create a fantastic event.

A perfect party theme for your event

Hosting an exciting party for your guests doesn’t have to be stressful. It just calls for some planning and a little bit of creativity. Including a theme can create excitement and make your event even more festive.

When choosing the theme, remember to think about why you’re having the event, what type of occasion it is, and who your guests will be. Then, select the best venue and menu to deliver a great gathering! 

Once you’ve considered these aspects, you’ll be ready to choose an amazing theme for your upcoming event. We’ll be happy to help plan the perfect menu to match your theme, too. Contact us today to cater your event. 

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