Picnic Like a Pro: Plan and Pack the Perfect Texas Picnic

Plan the perfect picnic with Texas caterer Vestals Catering

 

Is there anything better than getting outdoors to enjoy a Texas summer picnic? Talk about one of life’s simple pleasures – especially when you know exactly what and how to perfectly pack for it! 

Whether you’re going lakeside, sprawling out in one of many stunning Texas parks or botanical gardens, packing a picnic for a summer concert series, or throwing a big outdoor event, we’ve got the best picnic-packing tips to help you soak up the sun with style, ease, and taste.

Planning and packing the perfect picnic

There are a few things to consider when planning for and packing an outdoor picnic. After all, the whole, throw-some-sandwiches-in-a -picnic-basket-and-call-it-a-day-thing just isn’t going to cut it.

We do have to get practical here and think about things like how to pack your picnic foods in the first place. Plus, we know how toasty the summer sun can get in Texas, and the idea of bugs, food poisoning, or birds making off with your beautiful picnic spread? 

No thanks… not on our watch.

Tips for packing a perfect picnic:

Keep your picnic foods fresh

We know picnic baskets have a cute vibe, but keeping your picnic foods fresh is a top priority for outdoor eating. So, let’s talk about your picnic packaging – how to seal in the freshness of your foods and how to carry all your goodies to your dream picnic destination. 

For starters, you’re going to want something to keep your food cold, A cooler is a great idea for a hot summer day — but not just any cooler. You’ll need it big enough to fit food, utensils, plates, bowls, napkins, drinks, cups, etc. Things can get heavy pretty fast when picnic packing (at least, it does when you pack the good stuff). 

Here’s our recommendation: ditch the basket and spring for a backpack-style cooler. It’s functional, easy to carry, simple to pack, and will help keep your picnic food fresh all day. 

Plan a swoon-worthy picnic menu

Now for the most important part of picnic packing… the food, of course! Planning a menu for your elegant outdoor adventure doesn’t have to be difficult, but it also doesn’t have to be boring – not with our Texas catering expertise to guide the way. 

It’s important to consider what types of foods are best for picnicking when planning your menu. 

Can it be out in the sun and still taste amazing? 

Can it be easy to eat, low mess, and high quality, all at the same time? 

When your picnic menu is planned right, absolutely!

We recommend opting for simplicity and safety without sacrificing taste (of course).

(Sorry to melty, tough to cut, or easily spoiled foods…that leaves you out.)

Here’s some inspiration for picnic foods to reach for: 

  • Finger foods are a must (vegetables, pre-cut fruits, sliced meats, crackers, cheese, etc.)
  • Wraps, sandwiches, and pinwheels 
  • Lots of dips (hummus, guacamole, spinach artichoke, pimento, salsa… what’s more fun than a vast array of delicious dips?)
  • Coleslaws
  • Kabobs 
  • Salads of all kinds 
  • Muffins and bagels
  • Handheld desserts (cookies, brownies, lemon bars)
  • Individual jars of pudding, mousse, or parfaits
  • Pies or cakes
  • Summery, refreshing drinks (sparkling water, lemonade, sangria, white wine)

Keeping things flavorful and fun with fresh, seasonal ingredients is key to satisfying picnic goers — even the picky ones —  and setting up a successful picnic event. 

Psst… this is definitely where we can come in. As experts from getting prepared food from point A to point B, we can manage every bit of logistics connected to your picnic — and make sure everything tastes delicious, holds well, and stands up to time (and heat).

We love getting creative with picnic packing, but we also know that not everyone loves the planning step as much as we do. So, let Vestals Catering take the menu planning off your hands! Planning a picnic for friends, loved ones, or at your company? We’d love to help curate the perfect picnic spread!

Reach out here to chat about curating a custom event, or check out our curated platters to-go – a convenient way to skip the hassle and pick up ready-made picnic platters with quality ingredients and excellent presentation.    

Picking the perfect Texas picnic spot

Location matters a lot when it comes to picnicking. From the type of vibe and atmosphere to the space itself and the shade opportunities, you’ll want to do some digging. However, from bustling to tranquil, Texas has plenty of scenic backdrops and fun spots to fit your summer picnic vibe, no matter what you’re looking for. 

Here are some of our favorite places to picnic in Texas

Dallas-specific picnic spots

  • White Rock Lake: Idyllic lake views, lush green spaces, and plenty of wildlife to watch are just a few reasons White Rock Lake is a popular Dallas picnic spot. 
  • Klyde Warren Park: Featuring a performance pavilion, food trucks, free events, and plenty of greenery, this park is perfect if you’re looking for a fun setting in the heart of downtown Dallas.

Austin-specific picnic spots

  • Zilker Park: Enjoy the Barton Springs Pool, playgrounds, open spaces, and botanical gardens for the perfect Austin picnic. 
  • Lady Bird Lake: It’s just as beautiful as it sounds! You can find both shaded and sunny picnic spots, while also taking advantage of the paddleboard or kayak rentals. 
  • Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve: The preserve is packed with tons of peaceful gardens and fun hiking trails to explore — plus you get to see some peacocks! 

Fort Worth-specific picnic spots

  • Fort Worth Botanical Gardens: Here you can find plenty of places to picnic, beautiful views, and serene settings among the botanicals.
  • Trinity Park: Find picnic pavilions, walking trails, and other activities for your picnic – kids will love the playgrounds and the duck pond, too. 
  • Timberview Farmstead: Join us for a picnic at our new non-profit teaching farm! You’ll find 26 gorgeous acres of climate-controlled barns, gardens, and animals — and hands-on experiences for all ages are waiting post-picnic.
 

Did you know that you can also bring the wholesome, sophisticated feel of a picnic into any event you’re planning? 

It’s true! Turn your special occasion into a dreamy, picturesque picnic party you (and your guests) won’t soon forget. Any wedding, company party, family reunion, or birthday celebration can harness the sun-kissed magic of a dreamy garden picnic, and Vestals Catering can help you plan and curate the perfect picnic menu! 

We can handle everything – the planning, the menu, the setup, and more – while you take the credit and share in the magic moments of a picnic-perfect occasion. 

Picture this: delicious finger foods guests can peruse, refreshing drinks to sip in sun or shade, and blankets or picnic tables set up for mingling and relaxing. 

Want to make your Texas-based celebration a more memorable event for everyone? 

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The Ultimate Austin Wedding (Advice from Your Go-To Austin Wedding Caterer)

Austin wedding caterer Vestals Catering

 

When it comes to being a Texas wedding caterer, there are few things we love as much as Austin. From the vibrant food scene (tacos, please!) and the live music to the outdoor spaces and the wedding venues, we always get extra excited when catering Austin weddings.

Whether it’s the location — easy to get to from around the state *or* by plane — the beauty of the landscape, or simply the options, Austin weddings have endless potential. If you’re planning a wedding in Austin, enjoy our ultimate guide (lovingly curated by your go-to Austin wedding caterer).

 

Where to get married in Austin (advice from your go-to Austin wedding caterer)


Wedding venues in Austin are everywhere (and then some). There are hundreds — not including private property weddings — and there’s a venue for every taste. From elegant churches and rustic barns to high-class ranches and industrial-chic buildings, you can find an Austin wedding venue you’ll absolutely love.

And, as a trusted Austin wedding caterer (we’ve catered hundreds of ATX weddings!), we’re lucky to work with some incredible venues. These are some of our very favorite Austin wedding venue partners:

Planning the weekend: Our Top Austin Recommendations

When you’re crafting a guest list for your wedding, it’s always a great touch to provide things to do — especially when you’re planning a wedding in a destination like Austin. From places to stay to things to do to places to eat, these are our favorite wedding guest recommendations for ATX:

Hotels To Stay in in Austin

There are tons of beautiful hotels in Austin, so this doesn’t even come close to scratching the surface — but we love these Austin hotels (and wedding guests do, too)!:

  • The Driskill: This iconic historical hotel was built in 1886 and is a famous, beautiful stay rich in Austin history and tons of cultural lore. Plus, it’s location on Brazos St. makes it central, easy to get to, and a top recommendation.
  • Hotel Saint Cecilia: Perched right behind the famous “i love you so much” mural, this intimate South Congress hotel was built in 1888 and honors the patron saint of music and poetry with gorgeous, elevated rooms and delicious food and beverages.
  • Four Seasons Austin: Located in the heart of downtown, the Four Seasons is a luxe, 5-star accommodation with stunning views of Lady Bird Lake and a medley of incredible amenities.
Things To Do in Austin

With over 320 square miles of space to call its own, to say there are an infinite amount of activities to do in Austin is an understatement. Here are a few of our favorite recommendations for Austin wedding guests, from food to eat to outdoor areas to explore.

  • Get outside: The green space in Austin is unmatched by the rest of Texas, so take advantage! Visit Zilker Park, cool off in Barton Springs, and take a walk down the Greenbelt. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, it’s always fun to paddleboard in Lady Bird Lake — and the views waiting for you in Dripping Springs are a stunning must-see. Hiking is everywhere in ATX and the surrounding areas for nature lovers, and the iconic Jacob’s Well is just a short 45-minute drive outside of the city!
  • Explore and shop South Congress: Austin’s South Congress is famous for a reason — and packed with tons of boutiques, food, coffee shops, live music, and places to see. 
  • Eat some delicious food: As a Texas caterer, it’s no secret we love food (duh) — and that’s part of the reason why we love Austin so much. You can’t go wrong with almost any choice in the city, but we’re partial to BBQ at Franklin BBQ, margaritas at De Nada Cantina, tacos at Veracruz, a beer at Jester King, and a fresh smoothie at Juiceland.

Making your Austin wedding menu

As a top wedding caterer in Austin, one of our favorite things to do is weave the vibrant city and culture into each catering menu. If you’re looking for ways to bring a little Austin into your wedding food, we have you covered. Here are a few ideas (all of which we can help you implement into a custom wedding menu)

  • Try out some funky Texas fusion dining: There’s something extra special about leaning into eclectic culture when you’re hosting an Austin wedding, which is why we can have tons of fun with a funky custom menu. Try out an Asian-Texan fusion dining experience, a family-style menu rich in Texas flavors (and beyond), or have a midnight snack of sopapillas, chips, and salsa.
  • Spin some Texas into your drink menu: Make Texas part of your bar offerings with Lone Star companies like Tito’s, Lone Star, Shiner, and Deep Eddy — and try out Texan-esque cocktails and mocktails like craft margaritas, pecan pie espresso martinis, and peach ranch waters.
  • Build a fully custom menu with Vestals Catering: Our full-service wedding catering process pairs you with a wedding specialist to craft a personalized, delicious menu true to you — and to your Austin wedding roots! We’ve planned menus for many weddings in Austin, and would love to cater yours next. 

We cater weddings across Texas, from Austin and Fort Worth to Dallas and beyond — and we’re here when you’re ready to chat about your vision, your goals, and your menus.

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How to Host a Successful Corporate Happy Hour

 

The way we see it, catering corporate events doesn’t have to be stuffy — and, well, it shouldn’t be. And our favorite corporate event to cater? Corporate happy hours, always. There are so many unique ways to curate these events with professionalism and spunk, whether you’re planning a monthly office event or a special branded happy hour at a festival like SXSW in Austin, Texas.

Wondering how to host a successful corporate happy hour? We have you covered with our how-to guide.

How to host a successful corporate happy hour

 

What’s your business objective?

When hosting any kind of corporate event, you want to make sure it hits some sort of business objective — whether growth, teambuilding, community, networking, or even pairing alongside a bigger event. By aligning things like corporate happy hours with business objectives, you’re able to get more buy-in from leadership and secure the kind of budget you likely want to work with.

Need some ideas? Here are some corporate happy hour objectives we’ve helped support:

  • Celebration of employee milestones like birthdays, awards, or retirements
  • Company-sponsored recruitment events
  • Company culture boosters and stress relief
  • Departmental or organizational team building
  • Employee retention efforts
  • Networking events
  • Client happy hours at events (Need some inspo? We recently supported 6 different companies hosting client happy hours at SXSW in Austin — a two-week festival celebrating tech, film, education, and so much more)

(And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!)

When and where is your happy hour?

Deciding on a time and place for your corporate happy hour is important, so take a look at everything from the size of your team and the ambiance you want to create all the way to the overall objective, the date, and the food and drinks you want to serve. There is a ton of value in hosting your corporate happy hour at your office headquarters (we love an in-office event!). Need some inspiration? Here are some ideas for in-office corporate happy hour locations:

  • Office kitchen
  • Unused office space
  • The rooftop at your building
  • The lobby area
  • Large patio or open spaces
  • Outdoor courtyards
  • Office dining area
  • Neighboring venues (check out our Venue Finder Tool for ideas!) 

 

 

Find a corporate caterer for your happy hour

To elevate your corporate happy hour experience, look for a corporate caterer who can help you hit your business objectives with creativity, taste, and fun. You’ll want to find one close to your location (we cater corporate happy hours across Texas, especially in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, and San Antonio), and it’s key to look for a team that’s excited to bring something new to the equation.

Wondering what this might mean? We recommend looking beyond your typical house wine and house beer and instead focusing on a corporate caterer who can provide exciting signature cocktails and culinary experiences.

Get creative with activities

While there’s definitely benefit to standing around and talking to each other, you can also go further to plan activities during your corporate happy hour. Here are some of our favorite ideas for leveling up a corporate happy hour:

  • Cocktail-making competition: You never know when you might have some former bartenders or sommelier-esque team members — so host a cocktail-making competition during your happy hour! (Psst… you can compete with anything from chili and brownies to coffee brewing and cookie decorating if cocktails aren’t your vibe)
  • Non-cheesy team-building activities: Rent a karaoke machine, host a scavenger hunt, create an escape room, or head outdoors for kickball, soccer, or something similar.
  • Hire live entertainment: Add unreal energy and excitement with an appearance from a band, DJ, or even a magician or comedian.

Keep it professional

While we love a corporate happy hour event that’s unique and fun, it’s also highly important to retain a professional environment. Consider having HR reach out to set pre-happy hour behavioral expectations and make sure your team is set up for moderation and success. Bonus points if you provide resources such as Ubers or other transportation.

 

Planning a Texas corporate happy hour?

 

At Vestals Catering, we specialize in curated, experiential corporate happy hours and events. We can kick off in the mornings with breakfast and beverages (did somebody say espresso bar?!), provide lunch, and also provide afternoon snacks, happy hour, and dinner. Whether catering in the Texas Hill Country or helping you with a DFW-area corporate event, we have you covered.

Our all-day beverage services include non-alcoholic options like prickly pear lemonade, locally roasted coffee, and espresso bars — as well as alcoholic options such as craft cocktails, locally sourced wine, and craft beer. And, as a dedicated Texas caterer, we specialize in high-quality menus inclusive of all types of dietary restrictions — we can provide vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free menus — for a perfect team event.

 
GET IN TOUCH TO PLAN YOUR NEXT CORPORATE HAPPY HOUR
 

Elevating Your Private Property Wedding: Your Ultimate Wedding Catering Partner

When it comes to creating unique, personalized wedding experiences, there’s nothing quite like a private property wedding. As a Texas wedding catering team, some of the sweetest celebrations we’ve been a part of are at private properties. 

Wondering how to elevate your private property wedding with wedding catering, full-service support, and a personalized celebration? We have you covered.

Why private property weddings?

 

When planning a Texas wedding, there are many things to consider. From picking the perfect venue (there are so many options!) to making the seating chart, the to-do list is long. This is where private property weddings come in as a more flexible, personalizable option. 

Private property weddings create a beautiful opportunity for a specialized ceremony and party, whether you’re at a family estate or in a stunning garden — and we love helping our clients pull off magic with these types of weddings. They can be more intimate than larger venue weddings and you can have the option to pick places of sentimental value. 

However, the best part of a private property wedding is actually the lack of restrictions. Since you’re not at a large commercial venue, you’re able to use the vendors you want and celebrate longer into the night. 

Win, win.

Want some inspiration? Here are just a few private property weddings we’ve seen and loved — the opportunities are endless:

  • Family properties, from large estates to grandma’s backyards
  • Texas ranches
  • Beachfront homes
  • Historic estates and manor houses
  • Privately owned gardens and museums
  • Homes owned in the mountains, by the beach, or lakefront

 

Planning a Texas private property wedding? Keep this in mind

While we’re huge fans of private property weddings for tons of reasons (just read above!), there is something that you can often miss out on — and that’s help with the execution. Since private properties aren’t outfitted with venue staff and processes, you’re often on your own to coordinate things like tents, rentals, catering, and more.

We definitely recommend a wedding planner (reach out to us for recommendations!) — but here are things you’ll still want to keep in mind when planning your private property wedding: 

  • What logistics do you need to consider? As you already know if you’re planning a wedding, the logistics piece can be a beast. When you’re utilizing a private property for your wedding, you’ll want to make sure there is enough parking, signage, transportation, and seats. 
  • Who are your vendors? From your wedding caterer (hi!) and your florist to your DJ, lighting, and rentals, you’ll want to choose trusted partners — and then coordinate them.
  • What’s the weather plan? A lot of private property weddings are outside — it’s just the nature of most of those events. However, this makes them extra susceptible to weather fluctuations. 
  • What’s on the menu, and where is it being prepared? The most important part of a wedding is, well… the love part (of course)! But after that comes the food! No matter where your wedding is, you want to work with a team that will create a completely custom menu. From the cocktails and the hor d’oeuvres to the entree and dessert, our Vestals Catering team creates menus just as unique as your private property venue.

That’s where we come in.

 

How our wedding catering team helps with private property weddings

 

As a full-service wedding caterer, we specialize in catering packages that go beyond the simple plated dinner. When you choose us to cater your wedding, you’ll be paired with a wedding specialist who partners with you on everything from your custom wedding menu to your event logistical needs. We can manage your rentals — hello, gorgeous tablescape! — and advise on tenting to keep your guests chic and covered.

Plus, we specialize in off-premise catering. That means we can convert any space—whether it’s a private ranch or a family lakehouse—into a beautiful space for your wedding table.

There’s nothing more important to us than putting our couples at the center of everything we do, and we take great pride in being a trusted part of the most special day of your life. As long-standing Texas wedding professionals, we’re happy to consult on your wedding and create an impeccable experience for you in DFW, Austin, or the state beyond.

 
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Sourcing Locally: The Importance of Ingredients in Texas Catering

Fort Worth caterer Vestals Catering

 

From tender Texas beef and fresh Gulf Coast seafood to juicy peaches, flavor-rich peppers, and complex herbs, fresh Texas ingredients sing in catering dishes like nothing else quite can. As one of the country’s leaders in everything from agricultural production to cattle to poultry, the Lone Star State gives us tons of options to choose from for more delicious dishes in Texas and Fort Worth catering… every single time.

Whether you’re chopping up fresh veggies for a Tuesday dinner or hiring our Texas-based catering team to customize a menu for your Fort Worth catering event needs, sourcing local — and focusing on fresh — can make all of the difference.

 

Venue: Timberview Farmstead https://timberviewfarmstead.com

The importance of local ingredients in Fort Worth catering and at home

 

In a world of DoorDash and Instacart, it can be a lot easier to worry a lot less about sourcing and a lot more about convenience. (We get it, and there’s always a place for convenience!) However, adding fresh, local Texas ingredients to everything from your breakfast omelets and the cream in your coffee to the meat at your dinner table and the berries you eat for a snack matters. 

Wondering why? 

Fresh Texas ingredients let you shake up the menu:

As the seasons change, there are always different (and delicious!) ingredients making the rounds through Texas farmers and producers. Embracing the changing seasons with new flavors keeps your grocery lists diverse and your flavors even bolder. (Psst… click here to see some of our favorite seasonal Texas ingredients!)

Locally sourced ingredients are better for you:

While you can purchase healthy food anywhere, there’s a special benefit to fresh, locally sourced ingredients that you can’t get at every grocery store. Since your Fort Worth-grown blackberries, Canton-grown okra, and Mission-grown tomatoes don’t have to travel as far, they’re processed and stored for less time than something grown in Utah. Plus, you’re able to get a better quality ingredient.

You’ll enjoy flavor (and quality) you can taste:

Those Fort Worth-grown blackberries, that Canton-grown okra, and those Mission-grown tomatoes we mentioned are also harvested right at their peak ripeness when they’re only being transported throughout the state. This gives you a juicier, deeper flavor that sings on your plate. 

Local sourcing reduces your environmental impact:

Supporting local farms and Texas growers on your grocery lists and in your catering menus means fewer miles traveled — reducing your carbon footprint and allowing you to enjoy food grown on Lone Star soil. Psst… that’s not all! Often, supporting local farms also allows you to support places that are prioritizing things like biodiversity and soil health.

You can support your local growers and artisans:

As one of the most agriculturally active states in the country, Texas has an endless amount of incredible farmers, artisans, and growers to support — and by supporting those local producers, you can build relationships with people in your neighborhood and support the economy.

 

Local farms and suppliers to support: Fort Worth caterer edition

With almost 250,000 farms (USDA data), there are a ton of local Texas farms to support. And, that doesn’t even begin to touch additional suppliers, growers, and artisans in the state. If you’re wondering how to support more local Texas suppliers, you can try out everything from a CSA box to simply looking for local options at the grocery store. Luckily, it’s not as tricky as you may think to prioritize Texas suppliers! 

At Vestals Catering, we cater events in Fort Worth, Dallas, and Austin — and have tons of recommendations for farms, venues, and suppliers to support. Here are some of our very favorite local Fort Worth, Texas farms and Fort Worth event venues to support as a catering company:

 

Timberview Farmstead

Timberview Farmstead is our new non-profit teaching farm located in Fort Worth, Texas. We are currently working towards the goal of sourcing the majority of our produce from the state-of-the-art aquaponic greenhouse on site. Timeberview’s mission is to help young people in Tarrant County live a more deeply rooted life. Using a medley of farm-based learning and the embrace of unreasonable hospitality, Timberview Farmstead has a vision of educating and empowering Fort Worth’s kids to thrive.

At Timberview Farmstead, you can find 26 acres of climate-controlled barns, gardens, and animals — and all ages can explore the teaching farm and try out hands-on experiences and activities. Teachers show everything from aquaponics and hatching to how to hold baby chicks, feed goats, and interact with horses, cows, and donkeys. 

To support locals at Timberview Farmstead, you can buy eggs from on-site hens and home-grown produce, shop inside The Farm Shop, and join in for the grand opening on March 2, 2024. We are also offering exclusive Timberview Farm Dinners are available to start reserving now, rooted in the importance of gathering over a shared meal. Each menu is seasonal, curated by our local chefs, and sourced with the highest-quality, local ingredients. Click here to learn more about dining at the Farmstead to share the most universal human conversation — a meal.

DINE WITH US

 

Want to support further? By joining the Timberview Collective, you can invest in Fort Worth’s future — and you can donate here, volunteer here, and learn more here.

LEARN MORE

 

Photographer: EE Photography https://eephotome.com

Dove Ridge Vineyard 

Eggs, produce, and meat are not the only things you can purchase locally! Did you know Texas is home to some incredible vineyards and wineries? As a Texas caterer who specializes in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Austin events, we work with several venues that bring us (and our clients) so much joy. One of our favorite Fort Worth wedding venues is Dove Ridge Vineyard, a 56-acre vineyard nestled in Tarrant County with breathtaking views and a focus on sustainability that we love.

While Dove Ridge Vineyard is a stunning venue, it’s also an active vineyard, and we cater their wine tastings at their Parker County tasting room. From curated cheeses and cured meats to slow-braised short rib, we love getting to pair our food with Dove Ridge’s Texas wines. Learn more about their tasting room and wine options here.

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Fort Worth caterer who prioritizes local

 

Are you planning a Fort Worth wedding or Cowtown event? Driven by unmatched hospitality and powered by culinary excellence that prioritizes the local market, our Vestals Catering team would love to help you produce your next event. 

Our custom menus can be designed for Fort Worth catering needs in events from weddings and private parties to galas, corporate events, and more — and we commit to using the best ingredients available, always. As culinary experts committed to crafting your most meaningful event, we stand behind each Texas ingredient we put on the table. We’d love to meet you and show you what we love. Get in touch to plan your event with a Texas caterer here, and reach out for a Fort Worth caterer event quote here!

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A Day in the Life of a Texas Caterer: Event Day Edition

 

Whether you’re planning a massive wedding, a unique corporate event, a glitzy nonprofit gala, or an intimate dinner party, one thing always matters: your experience and that of your guests. However, that experience doesn’t exist without a lot of moving parts from a lot of people… which is why choosing the right Texas caterer is such an important decision.

At Vestals Catering, we employ a team of talented, incredible people who love making your experiences equal parts magical and memorable. Our dedication to unmatched hospitality starts with those very people we call part of our team and family and translates into flawless, memorable events for you.

During each event — and with every team member — we strive to create meaningful experiences, make delicious, excellent food, and never falter on our unwavering passion for hospitality. Our team, which is a few dozen people deep, is built on that framework and weaves it into every party we help produce, no matter how big or small.

Day in the life of a Texas caterer: event edition

 

Depending on the day or the season, we can have anything from a massive gala to a small elopement on the books. Every client who comes to us for catering builds a relationship with their event specialist, who helps them craft a vision for an experiential, delicious menu. Then, it’s up to our team to bring that event, no matter the size, to life. 

By the time we get to the day of an event, we’ve already worked for months on each and every detail. From deciding on tablescapes and menu selections to handling logistics and staffing, most of the event has already been put into motion. However, when the morning of an event gets here, it’s really showtime.

Wondering how we do it? Come along for a day in the life with three of our team members: Arin, one of our sales managers; Jose, one of our lead event chefs; and Nate, one of our warehouse specialists.

Photographer: Natalie Barrett (https://www.nbarrettphotography.com/) Venue: On The Levee

 

Spend an event day with the people who make it happen

 

Jose, one of our Vestals Catering lead chefs

 

 

As one of the lead chefs for Vestals, Jose describes his job as being “responsible for making sure all event food is flawless.”

For Jose, event day mornings start bright and early. He heads straight to the kitchen to get started on any necessary prep work and connects with the rest of the kitchen staff. The kitchen team typically packs up and heads over to the venue in the early afternoon, and then the magic begins: warming the food, getting it ready for plating, and making sure it’s up to taste standards.

“I get to cook, which is what I love to do,” he says.

Nate, one of our Vestals Catering warehouse specialists


As one of the warehouse specialists for Vestals, Nate is responsible for “making sure all items are pulled for the event.”

For Nate, mornings kick off with a lot of logistics: pulling anything still needed for the event from the warehouse, unloading the vans, and heading over to the venue. He has an opening list that he references as he goes and, along with his team, makes sure that everything necessary is where it’s supposed to be.

This usually includes ice chests, beverage urns, cambros, hot boxes, chafing dishes, and more. Nate also inventories and packs all of the alcohol for each event with bar service, confirming the amounts are all correct. Then, once the events are out for the day, Nate immediately resets the warehouse and begins preparing for the next day’s events.

“Everyone is so nice to work with,” he says. “I feel happy where I’m at.”

Arin, one of our Vestals Catering sales managers


As one of the sales managers for Vestals, Arin explains that her job “encompasses taking my client’s vision for the event and making it come to life. This is especially true on the event day by ensuring that all of the details we spoke about are executed.”

For Arin, mornings on an event day are a culmination of everything she’s already worked on with the client. She wakes up, checks emails in bed to make sure nothing has popped up, and then spends her morning drinking a black iced coffee and taking her pup Alfred for a walk. Then, she’ll tackle her pre-event checklist, head to the venue, and give everything a double-check along with her team: making sure that the vans are unloaded, checking inventory, and cross-checking rentals.

“My favorite part of the event day is when the room set is complete, and you get to see your client’s reaction to the space for the first time,” she says. “It’s truly one of the most rewarding feelings.”

Photographer: Madison Shewmaker (https://madisonshewmaker.com/)

 

Our event philosophy at Vestals Catering

 

Once the event is wrapped, our team tackles different things to get ready for the next event. Arin focuses on her post-event top 3 to round out the experience: sending out thank yous, checking for client satisfaction, and sending photos to vendors. Jose goes right into kitchen clean-up — from packing up and loading the truck all the way to mopping and sweeping — while Nate works through his closing list back at the warehouse.

No matter what, every team member is laser-focused on one thing: creating the most impeccable experience for everyone in attendance (and for their own teams, too). From the reaction of our clients to the enjoyment of the guests to the fulfillment of our Vestals family, no detail is too small — and this is never more true than on event day.

Photographer: Natalie Barrett (https://www.nbarrettphotography.com/) Venue: On The Levee

 

 

Plan your 2024 event with our Texas catering team

 

Regardless of the event, our team works together to alleviate all stress from our clients and deliver an impeccable, taste-filled event… and we’d love to treat you to the same experience. From planning a Texas wedding to hosting a DFW corporate event, our expert team is your top choice for crafting a memorable, tasteful day.

Whether you’re dreaming up your delightful event with Arin, eating culinary masterpiece food from Jose, or sitting near a display thoughtfully decorated with items from Nate’s warehouse, we can promise that your event will be one you’ll never, ever forget.

Tell us about your 2024 event here, and we’ll be in touch. We can’t wait to meet you!

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Trends in Wedding Catering: Infusing Texas Flavors into Traditional Wedding Menus

 

It’s officially engagement season, and you know what that means — it’s soon to be wedding season, too! While we operate like the wedding season is always in full swing over here (there are always weddings to attend and to cater), this is the time of year that we start to pay special attention to trends in wedding catering for our clients. 

Why, you ask? 

Well, it’s simple: people are planning 2024 weddings now, and every bride and groom wants a culinary experience that they know their guests will love. So, if you’re planning a 2024 or 2025 wedding (or you just love weddings and events in general), you’re in the right place! 

What’s trending in wedding catering?

 

While more traditional wedding menus will always have their place, trending wedding catering is veering into a more experiential, eclectic space. At Vestals Catering, we’ve been seeing a push for everything from raw bars and fusion taco stations to late-night snacks and signature dishes. However, more than anything, we’ve seen a big shift to focusing on local ingredients, seasonal produce, and interactive dining experiences.

This means that these days, people aren’t usually looking for your typical chicken breast and roasted veggies dish. While simple and cost-effective dishes will always be great for those planning weddings, people are also looking to strike a balance with menus that feel exciting, fresh, and inspired.

How we focus on infusing trends in our wedding catering

 

As a Texas caterer, we’ve long been using trends in catering to create experiences for weddings that fuse together Texan flavors, seasonal menus, and innovative types of serving. With a focus on sourcing locally wherever we can, we spend time helping our clients curate menus that excite every guest. 

Here are some ideas for doing the same with your wedding menu:

Infuse Texan flavor into your wedding catering

Some people may think of Texan flavor as a simple brisket or BBQ, but we think of it as so much more than that. To us, Texan flavor is a beautiful combination of everything from mesquite-smoked meats and southwestern ingredients to bold Tex-Mex and spicy, fresh produce. Whether it’s focusing on wild game like venison, serving pecan-forward desserts (and smoked meats), or playing around with Gulf seafood, there are endless ways to infuse Texas flavor into your menu.

At Vestals Catering, we have many signature Texas flavors that we love cooking at weddings — and our clients have a special love for dishes like our signature applewood bacon-wrapped apricots, roasted chicken flautas with salsa crema, and smokehouse BBQ buffets. However, we can work with you to bring your idea of Texas flavors into your menu… whatever that may be!

 

Have interactive food stations at your wedding

You may picture wedding dinners as sit-down affairs, but they can be more interactive (and fun!) than that, too. Wondering how? Consider trying out taco bars, raw bars, charcuterie stations, mashed potato bars, stir fry stations, or even a pasta station. Interactive food stations like this let your guests be involved in the experience, which creates a more fun, personalized meal that they’ll remember long after your wedding. 

Plus, you don’t need to make your entire dining experience interactive (unless you want!). Instead, consider adding an interactive element to one specific area of your catering: for instance, cocktails, appetizers, main courses, or desserts.

Need some inspiration? Here are some more creative ideas for interactive food stations at your wedding:

  • Coffee, margarita, or espresso martini bar
  • Wine & cheese pairing station
  • A made-to-order pizza station
  • A chef-carved prime rib station 
  • Build your own bruschetta/salad bar
  • Sushi roll station
  • Oyster bar 
  • Midnight snack to-go station (some ideas: breakfast tacos, ice cream sundaes, honey butter chicken biscuits, or cookies and milk)

Psst… want to see some in action? Here are a few interactive food stations we’ve done recently with our Vestals wedding clients:

 

Create seasonal wedding menus

 At Vestals Catering, we focus on seasonal (and local) ingredients whenever possible. The way we see it, properly sourced and timed ingredients taste better, make a bigger flavor impact, and create a more sustainable experience for everyone involved. We build our menus around the seasons and find a ton of produce inspiration through The Texas Farmers Market.

Wondering what’s seasonal around the time of your wedding? Here are some of our favorite seasonal Texas wedding menu items:

Seasonal Texas produce for winter weddings:
  • Salads with arugula, chard, or spinach bases (with pairings like cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, mushrooms, carrots, and radishes)
  • Herb-forward flavors like basil, cilantro, dill, fennel, garlic, oregano, mint, and parsley
  • Hearty sides like beets, squash, and sweet potatoes
Seasonal Texas produce for spring weddings:
  • Spring salads featuring strawberries, tomatoes, and cucumber
  • Herbs like cilantro, dill, garlic, oregano, parsley, and rosemary
  • Edible flowers for cocktails and desserts
  • Fresh sides that incorporate beans, fennel, or tomatillos
Seasonal Texas produce for summer weddings:
  • Desserts that feature juicy peaches, strawberries, and blackberries
  • Fresh pepper flavors, from sweet and bell to jalapeno and banana
  • Herb-forward flavors like thyme, rosemary, and parsley
  • Vegetable sides that include okra, eggplant, summer squash, and tomatoes
Seasonal Texas produce for fall weddings:
  • Fall flavors like sweet potato, persimmon, pumpkin, squash, and onion
  • Pecan-forward desserts and sweet flavors like pear
  • Herb flavors rich in basil, lemongrass, thyme, tarragon, and sage
  • Green dishes that include things like bok choy, beets, mustard greens, or turnips
 

 

Are you ready to plan your Texas wedding with a caterer who knows how to balance experience, trends, and seasonal flavors? 

 

At Vestals Catering, we specialize in delivering an unmatched experience to every wedding and event, whether it’s through our culinary experience or dedication to hospitality. We want your wedding to be a meaningful, memorable experience, and we’re here to create an event your guests will never forget.

Whether you’re planning a Dallas wedding, a Fort Worth Wedding, an Austin wedding, or somewhere in between, we’re here to make your Texas wedding catering choice the easiest, most delicious, most trustworthy one yet. Alongside your Vestals specialist, you’ll get to build a carefully crafted menu that speaks to every one of your wildest culinary dreams — whether it’s through a seasonal menu or with an interactive station. 

We’re booking weddings for 2024 and 2025 now, so get in touch with us here! We can’t wait to meet you.

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The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Perfect Caterer in Dallas, Austin, or Fort Worth

So, you’re ready to look for a caterer in Dallas, Austin, or Fort Worth? Congratulations are in order because it seems like you’re planning a party! Whether you’re planning a wedding, a corporate event, or a dinner, we believe that any party is worth a celebration — and every celebration is better with great food. 

However, we also know that choosing the perfect caterer can be tricky… especially when you’re in a bigger metropolitan era. There are a lot of great caterers out there, and scoping out the right one for your specific event is important.

This is why we’ve produced the ultimate guide to choosing the perfect caterer in Dallas, Austin, or Fort Worth! Scroll through to read our tried-and-true tips for finding a caterer you can trust (and whose food tastes delicious, of course).

First up… what are you envisioning food-wise at your event?

 

Before you start searching for a caterer, it’s important to have an idea of what you’re looking for. While the right caterer will help you flesh out your ideas and plan a personalized menu, make sure you’re not going in blind. 

For instance:

  • Are you envisioning a sit-down, steak-and-shrimp meal for an elevated wedding? 
  • Are you envisioning an easy-to-navigate buffet during a laid-back corporate event?
  • Are you envisioning a curated small plate experience for donors at a nonprofit meeting? 
  • Are you envisioning an intimate in-home dinner party to celebrate a special occasion with your nearest and dearest?

By having an idea of what you’re looking for from potential caterers, you’re able to get a more accurate quote and clarify the caterers’ scope of expertise. Then, you can start to create a list of local and semi-local caterers who are in line with your needs. For instance, some caterers may only provide smaller, fixed menus that aren’t aligned with your vision. Being clear on what you want and need is key to ensuring that the caterer you choose is able to help your event really reflect you  — and, when you choose the right caterer, you can trust that your vision is in good hands

Ask the right questions to potential caterers

 

When you’ve narrowed down a shortlist of your favorite caterers, it’s time to schedule a tasting and get on the phone to ask any questions you might have. If you need a cheat sheet of the best questions when choosing the perfect caterer, we’ve got you covered! 

Here are the questions you should ask when choosing the perfect caterer:

Questions to ask your caterer

Scope out reviews, ask your community, and trust your gut.

 

As you build out a potential list of caterers, take the time to look through reviews (Google Reviews, website testimonials, The Knot, and Party Slate are all great places to search). While every catering company you see is likely going to have a few not-so-great reviews, the catering company you choose should have overwhelmingly positive ones. Take a look at common themes in the reviews — for instance, do you see tons of reviews speaking to delicious food, or are you seeing a bunch of people commenting on the lateness of the staff? 

Plus, don’t forget to ask your friends, family, and community! Chances are, at least one person you know has planned or attended an event similar to the one you’re throwing. Ask them about their experience with the caterer, find out any lasting memories of their meal, and discuss whether or not they recommend who they worked with.

More importantly, though: Trust. Your. Gut. If you have a good feeling about a caterer, it’s probably right — and if you have a bad feeling about a caterer, it’s probably right, too. You deserve to make your decision with confidence, and your intuition matters.

Are you looking for a caterer in Dallas, Austin, or Fort Worth? You’re in the right place!

 

At Vestals Catering, we work to create the most tasteful catering experiences across Texas by offering the highest standard of food and even better service. We pride ourselves on going above and beyond the responsibilities of your average caterer to anticipate our client’s needs. We always promise personalized culinary excellence and an unwavering commitment to pulling off your event without a hitch — and as a Texas caterer who loves nothing more than to help produce memorable, special, and delicious events, we’d love to chat! 

Whether you’re planning a DFW wedding, an Austin corporate event, or anything in between, our team is ready. We believe that your event should always be a reflection of who you are, which is why every menu is carefully crafted alongside you and your Vestals specialist. Along with a custom approach to each event and menu, we place a huge emphasis on seasonal, fresh ingredients and over-the-top service. Our goal is always to serve life’s most important moments with joy and intention.

To get in touch with us for your Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin, or Greater Texas area event, contact us here. Our team cannot wait to meet you!

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