How a guest is greeted at the beginning of an event leaves a lasting impression. A theory in the industry is that the greeting and farewell are the most memorable aspects of a guest's visit. Walking into a venue can be intimidating for some. Put your guests at ease with a warm welcome from you and your staff.
In cooler months, the first step to making a guest feel welcome is offering to take her coat. In rainy weather, be prepared to check in umbrellas as well. The first few moments of coat check can be hectic, so instruct as many staff members as possible to take a guest's coat. Unless the event is being held in the middle of summer, have a coat check area prepared.
Provide a twist on the traditional coat check and offer shawls to guests on breezy nights. Collect umbrellas to give away to guests leaving in inclement weather. And for fall or winter functions, a warmed blanket on an outside veranda will make a guest feel extra cozy.
You and your client most likely designed a plan of attack for when guests begin filtering into the venue. Greeting each guest with a glass of champagne has always held a high-society touch. With the recent revival of the cocktail, miniature signature drinks are much in fashion. You might also consider having a server offer punch from a stylish punch bowl.
Avoid having guests wait in line for ten minutes at the bar. Whatever your means of attack, a good host will make certain her guests want for nothing. Placing a beverage in the hand of each guest upon arrival is a good start.
The next phase of the attack should be food-related. If guests are not immediately sitting for dinner, plan for hors d'oeuvres to be passed. A less expensive alternative to passed hors d'oeuvres are stationary items such as cheese plates or antipastos. Do not forget your table markers identifying each stationary cuisine. Be sure to keep this course light to avoid the guests' filling up before dinner. For a cocktail party, the first rounds of hors d'oeuvres should be light followed by heavier more substantial fare.