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Are you as tired as we are of hearing the words “the new normal”? We completely understand feelings of frustration surrounding pretty much everything — but, as a caterer and event planning company, we 100-percent understand conflicting feelings around your special event. Do you postpone? Do something smaller now and bigger later

We’re here to tell you that you can do either of those, but you can also scale down your event to make it more intimate (read: follow the current CDC, state and local COVID-19 guidelines) and still mount an incredible wedding or party.

We asked KT Mallory, event manager at Robert Ryan Catering & Design, to give us the inside skinny on reworking events. It made us feel better — we trust it will help you take a breath and consider how your event might work on a smaller scale.

Right now it seems people are turning to catering instead of using an event venue because of changing restrictions — or an abundance of caution. What are you seeing trend-wise?

Right now, we’re seeing smaller, more intimate events. We’re also seeing clients who want to have the event entirely outside or even at their ownhomes to have more control over the safety of their guests. 

Photo by Lauren Fair Photography

Why use an event planner instead of a DIY event?

There’s never been a better time to work with a professional event planner because there have never been more details to manage. An event planner will be there throughout the entire process; then day-of coordinators will make sure the event goes smoothly.Event planners are also keeping an eye on CDC, state and local requirements. No one is more up-to-date and this means clients don’t have to stay on top of it. Instead, event planners keep clients aware and in the loop. Our top priority? The safety of all guests and staff as we nail the details on what will make the event special to you. On-site handling has also been reduxed from setup to cleanup. You’ll see signs, frequent disinfecting, different layouts and guests per table to conform with current size and physical distancing recommendations, required use of masks and gloves, and more. The logistics have been turned upside down, but that’s why you use an event planner. Two big changes: We now have staff assigned to clean and disinfect through out the event and you’ll find hand sanitizer available throughout the venue. We keep using the words “requirements” and “restrictions” yet we are melding those things with clients’ dreams, hopes and plans. There’s still plenty of great food and good fun at smaller events.

Photo by Max Grudzinski Photography

How about the good stuff: food and beverage service?

Clients should still expect to find next-level menus but delivered in a different way. We’ve changed the service style to make everything even safer. For example, we’re serving hors d’oeuvres, buffets and food stations from behind plexiglass to ensure the guest still get the most delicious food — but safely. We’re currently getting more requests for seated meals because that cuts back on guests walking around so there’s less contact. I know “less contact” sounds sad, but we work with the client to implement ways to safely socialize.

Photo by Sweetwater Portraits

What types of events are still happening?

All of them, just on a smaller scale! Holidays, religious ceremonies, showers, work retreats, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings — you name it. We’re able to help clients scale back and create an amazing event.

Photo by Savannah Smith Photography

Why should people cater over trying to do it themselves?

Right now, people are worried or not permitted to gather in large groups and attend events. More are open to smaller, safer events, though. By using a caterer that is familiar with the restrictions and requirements in place to safely executive events it allows your guests to feel more comfortable and gives you peace of mind knowing that everything was done to keep you and your guests safe. Not to mention you don’t have to spend one minute cooking, serving or cleaning! Tents are the current event rock stars as their myriad of configurations and amenities (heat, air conditioning) make outdoor events almost a four-season affair. Last, but certainly not least, in addition to safety, a caterer with an event planning team will also keep the focus on food and fun, too. It’s called a special event for a reason, and we make sure that it’s just that.

Photo by Annie Hosfeld Photography

We’re here for you to put your plans in motion. We’re in this together! Schedule a consultation with any of our event managers when you’re ready.


Robert Ryan Catering & Design plans and executes over 400 events each year, boasts a five-star rating on WeddingWire and has received WeddingWire’s Couples’ Choice/Bride’s Choice Award seven years in a row. Learn more about Robert Ryan Catering & Design and tour our venues. Subscribe to our e-newsletterfor exclusive offers, up-to-date news, and recipes from our executive chef.Nina MaloneFeatured photo by Martin Reardon Photography