There are plenty of sweet people living in the valley, and there are also loads of feriadas and reasons to celebrate, which means one thing: gatherings of friends are frequent. So, what if you want to entertain a big group of your nearest and dearest but don’t have room in your house? The solution is to hire an events catering company.
There are plenty of these, but the quality can vary wildly, from European-standard excellent to disastrous. Unfortunately, my first experience fell into the latter category. I ordered a tent, tables, linens and table settings from Frank’s Events, located on the bridge in Urubamba. They showed me plenty of pictures of seemingly lovely parties they had previously catered, and I was sold.
They promised to arrive a day in advance to set the whole thing up. We waited for hours, and finally, when it was dark, they arrived – and set up the scaffolding only. They promised to return in the morning to finish, and they did. But I was pretty horrified by what they brought.
The glasses, plates and cutlery were dusty. The linens were the cheapest imaginable polyester, and were stained. The chairs were dirty and the tables were semi-broken, just particleboard on rusty foundations. But that wasn’t the worst part: just a few hours after it was set up, a gust of wind blew the whole thing apart, sending the tent ‘walls’ skidding across the garden, table tops flying, and smashing tableware. We were lucky no one was hurt! But I learned some valuable lessons, which I’ll share with you below.
- Ask what material the linens are made of. If they don’t know, ask to see them in advance
- Ask to see the tables in advance. If they don’t have them on hand, ask to see photos of them before they’re covered with linens
- Ensure the team come early in the morning the day before the event to set up
- If you go to a gorgeous event, ask which company set it up and get their card for future use
- Enquire if there’s a guarantee of the tent’s solidity. For example, if it blows down, will you have to pay? (much to my chagrin, Frank’s not only made us pay for the destroyed tent, but for the dishes it broke, too)
- Note that these events companies often charge double for hired help than is the norm. Instead of hiring their staff to serve and/or clean, hire a local service person instead
Specialising in weddings, this company isn’t quite up to European standards (they don’t have any real linens, for example), but they do have a wide variety of clean, new furniture and decorations that will make your event stand out.
This company has catered events for big corporations and has a great work ethic – they’ll get the job done when they say they will, no exceptions.
Whether it’s a birthday, holiday or wedding, throwing a bash for friends and neighbours in your garden can be good fun, so long as you do a bit of planning in advance and know which companies are good – and bad.