How to plan a safe catered holiday event during COVID
With holidays just ahead, you can absolutely plan a safe corporate or private holiday event. We have been doing this very thing over the past several months at Finley Creek, and we know the rules.
We also know what works and what doesn’t. We want your guests to feel safe while following all applicable state and CDC guidelines.
The first order of business, say experts, is to make sure your guests feel safe enough to attend. Towards that end, here is our protocol:
Jacquie’s Gourmet Catering will:
- Have staff wear gloves and masks during all prep and serve
- Keep food covered and at ideal temperatures after prep and before serving
- Display food under protective shields to prevent contamination
- Food will be served with tongs and utensils handled by masked server at all times
- Individual-sized appetizers available as much as possible
- Use single-use disposable dishware and glasses unless otherwise asked.
Finley Creek will:
- Be set up to assure maximum space between tables and each guest
- Common areas (such as bars, restrooms and coat check) will be marked with 6-foot guide icons to keep patrons from unintentional exposure to others
- Barware and alcohol handled by gloved and masked bar managers only.
- Outdoor areas, entrances and exits marked for safety of guests.
Of course, we know there really are no hard and fast answers, and serving alcohol to those enjoying a holiday party makes guest behavior slightly riskier. With that in mind, we recommend:
- Asking several good friends to help talk to guests engaging in behavior that puts others at risk
- If you have an MC or DJ, ask them to periodically remind guests to keep safety a priority.
- We make sure the setting at Finley Creek is right for your crowd. We want your guests to be able to safely distance.
- Using available outside space at Finley Creek is always a good idea for an extra measure of safety.
Even during a pandemic, some catering rules will always be paramount for us:
- Guests will forgive an event that could have had another restroom or two, but they will always remember how good the food was -- or wasn’t. That’s why we never skimp on food quality.
- We never run out of food. This is a cardinal rule at Jacquie’s Gourmet Catering.
- Presentation of food matters. A lot. Food should always look (and taste) luscious, fresh, and be served at the right temperature.
- Planning how bar and appetizer table traffic flows at an event is especially important now. Nobody wants to stand waiting for a drink at a crowded bar for 25 minutes.
The holidays are coming up fast. So if you have a holiday party in mind, there are still plenty of open dates in November, December and New Year’s Eve. We're ready to book your next event safely.
Outdoor venues like Finley Creek Vineyards are safer and greener for summer/fall events
As we carefully edge toward establishing a “new normal,” where does that leave you when you have a wedding reception, fundraiser, party, or corporate event to schedule?
One of the safer places to have any kind of event this summer and fall is outside. Social distancing is easier, the air is fresh and clean, and the outdoors provides some of Mother Nature’s freshest, greenest and glorious backdrops.
Finley Creek Vineyards in Zionsville is an idyllic place for weddings and all kinds of special occasions. Besides the rustic Wedding Barn, Finley Creek Vineyards has five expansive acres of tranquil gardens, majestic trees, flowering shrubs, wildflowers, and of course, a vineyard.
It also offers all the luxurious and modern features and style you’d expect from a first class venue. Inside, there is a huge fireplace, chandeliers, reclaimed wood tables, and large windows to let in as much natural light as possible.
Outside, you can go casual or upscale with a wedding arbor, gazebo, stone fireplace, and plenty of room for outdoor seating for ceremonies, receptions and events of all kinds.
And, because Finley Creek Vineyards is owned by Jacquie’s Gourmet Catering, you are going to please every guest with plentiful offerings of delicious, sustainably grown/humanely raised, Indiana farm-fresh foods -- from your first appetizer to your last bite of luscious dessert.
There’s a lot to like about Finley Creek Vineyards – especially as we plan ahead for healthy, socially conscientious events. Let’s talk about your next event and make it a delicious, safe and memorable time!
Finley Creek Vineyards celebrates its first year
Lots of fun summer festivities are happening at Finley Creek Vineyards, now celebrating our first year!
Fans of Jacquie’s Gourmet Catering are happy to host their wedding receptions, family reunions, corporate retreats, and holiday parties in a lovely, rustic setting just 20 minutes from Indy’s Northwest side in Zionsville.
As the private special event venue for Jacquie’s Gourmet Catering, the Finley Creek grounds are just as well appointed and lovely as you would expect for a facility we own.
The main interior Party Barn is definitely a ‘wow!’ The space is plenty large enough for up to 300, but with the lovely flower and vegetable gardens and large oak trees along the rolling countryside just outside the barn, groups are just as happy to enjoy the outside as they do our inside – especially this time of year.
The barn walls are covered with reclaimed rustic barn wood. Tall windows let in lots of natural light. And large wrought iron and crystal chandeliers hang from the rafters. The result is as the retro chic and first-class – oozing with warmth and charm.
Owner Jacquie Bols wants every meal cooked and prepared to perfection – right on site. The staff of Jacquie’s Gourmet Catering takes care to prepare sustainable and organic foods, some grown in our gardens, and all prepared in our state-of-the-art kitchen on premises.
Just outside the Finley Creek Barn are hand-hewn cedar and pine porch tables for casual dining outside. A little farther away is a much-used fire pit, plus pergola and patio surrounded by flowers, perfect for weddings.
And yes, as our name suggests, there is a working vineyard in progress. We planted last past year and hope to harvest our first grapes in a few more seasons. Stay tuned!
Outside or inside – or both –Finley Creek Vineyards is a stunning place for your next event. It’s not too soon to book fall and holiday events!
10 tips on what to know before you set your spring/summer event
It’s tempting to consider choosing an event location you love and then, wrap the menu around all your favorite foods. But – party planning experts say when you truly consider your guests’ preferences over your own, your event will be more successful.
At Finley Creek Vineyards, we have a list of questions we ask event planners, family planners and brides as we begin to plan each event.
Here’s what to consider from the event experts at Jacquie’s Gourmet Catering, the owner/managers of Finley Creek:
- Is your group more casual or more formal? Family or corporate?
- How far would attendees be comfortable traveling from home or office?
- Is your event going to be outside or inside – or both?
- What is your budget?
- How important is the vibe (upscale, folksy, urban contemporary, trendy, barn chic, etc.)?
- What type of food would appeal to most you are inviting? Consider vegetarian and child-friendly options.
- Is this going to be a seated formal meal, or serve-yourself with lots of options?
- Do you want an open bar, beer and/or wine, or “special occasion” drinks?
Some of these are more obvious, but others are questions you may not have considered yet. It’s important to gain some perspective on your guests so they will feel comfortable at your event. Once you have established the main-frame objectives, you can begin to move on to the fun – impressing your guests.
The most memorable events at Finley Creek all did the following:
- The event location was right for the crowd. Venue size is key – not too big or too crowded.
- Had a contingency plan in case it rains.
- Set up bar and food table traffic flow in advance. Nobody wants to stand waiting for a drink for 15 minutes.
- Arranged for convenient and adequate parking.
- Set a theme – from color to food choices to décor.
- Added a few unexpected touches to delight guests get talked about.
- Never run out of food. This is a cardinal rule at Jacquie’s Gourmet Catering.
- Made sure food was delicious, looked fantastic, and was served at the ideal temperature.
At Finley Creek, Jacquie's Gourmet Catering strives to iron out as many details as possible ahead of time. It’s never too early to start planning your next event! Let's talk.