Communion PartiesWe’re celebrating our twins’ First Communion with an Italian family banquet!

Second grade has been a big year for our boy-girl twins.  They’re excellent readers now, and both of them love their teachers and are making good grades.  Ron’s playing T-ball, Jessica’s practicing a little solo for her ballet recital … and now we’re preparing for their First Holy Communion.

With all the preparations the kids have made, the least I can do is a little event planning!

After a ton of catechism classes and coasting bravely through First Reconciliation, my children are truly ready, and I’m ridiculously proud of them. So I’ve looked around for party ideas and found the best one yet:  Take them and some friends to Buca di Beppo!

I know what you’re thinking:  “This is one theme party she could have at home.”

But I don’t want to miss a thing!  I want to spend time with them before the First Communion mass, doing my daughter’s hair, helping my son tie his tie, and taking lots of pictures.  I don’t want to be in the kitchen preparing dinner for a crowd.

I know, I know.  Some mothers even prepare all the party food for their child’s WEDDING RECEPTION, much less their First Communion banquet party, but I’ll NEVER be one of them. I don’t want to, and frankly I’m not that good at making meals for a group.

Besides, Buca’s the perfect party place!

It’s casual enough for children, but special enough for them to consider it a celebration restaurant. The food is kid and adult friendly, and the atmosphere is just plain fun!  Italians celebrate every special event, including First Communion, with family dinners, so the festive tradition is there. The photos at Buca are adorable, and there are even some of vintage First Communion parties.

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Conference Venue in VegasCan’t wait! I get to visit a world-class conference venue in Vegas!

I get to go to the HIMSS health systems show this year – WOO-HOO!  My employer is putting me and a fellow programmer/analyst up in “royal” accommodations at theExcalibur, so we’ll have convenient access to nearby exhibits and meeting spaces, can take our pick of corporate parties and teambuilding activities, plus enjoy all kinds of entertainment during down time.

Excalibur is great for a corporate conference – or a girls’ night out!

Of course all the conference venues in Vegas are fantastic and meeting spaces at Excalibur are top notch, so I can set up information gathering sessions in conference meeting rooms at my hotel, at The Sands Expo Center, or any of the other meeting locations nearby. Excalibur is a great place for corporate events and presentations; they make the work part of my stay easy.  Everything is right there.  They’ve even provided restaurants with over-the-top food for conference goers on site.

We’ll discuss data center hosting at Buca di Beppo with some vendors.

They know we’ve been researching their security software and said they want to take us out to dinner, so I’ll choose Buca, which is actually IN the Excalibur – can’t get more convenient than that!  Buca’s well known as one of the absolute best restaurants with private rooms, and this location is brand new.
A fun, casual atmosphere like Buca’s offers a break from formal business meetings and presentations, and their food is fantastic.

If I get enough colleagues together, we might need dinner for a large group …

something Buca does extremely well.  Their family style menu is perfect for getting people at a group dinner talking as they figure out whether to order a small (serves 2 or 3) or a large (serves 4 or more). It’s really easy and fun to sort out, and all that discussion may instigate security software negotiations! For groups of 20 or more, they even offermenus for large groups.

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Venue for Book ClubsBring your book club to Buca!

Tired of meeting in boring, business meeting rooms to discuss your favorite reads with book-loving co-workers? A change of scenery can give your club’s energy level a boost. Consider having lunch or dinner at a good group restaurant, where the service is friendly, the food delish and the atmosphere just plain fun.

The first time we went, the book was The Godfather, so family style Italian was a perfect match.

Buca di Beppo is such a blast!  There are actually mafia-style vintage photos in some of the meeting spaces — as well as mafia-spoofing pics. The pasta we ordered was so good — so NOT like most bland food for large groups — it could have been prepared by a native Sicilian. But then we realized that the real theme behind Buca is sharing great food and conversation. That’s why we don’t limit our visits to times when we read an Italian author.

We book it to Buca for the easy-going ambience and delicious group meals.

There are only a dozen of us, so we ask for one of the smaller private or semi-private dining rooms. We get plenty of table space to spread out, a little privacy so we can talk, and fantastic food for a party. And a party is what any group dinner or lunch at Buca feels like — the very air is festive!

Serving group meals well has been refined to an art at Buca.

Members of the staff are personable and know their jobs inside out, making everything they do seem effortless. They’re able to offer menu suggestions that complement each other and make perfect combo ideas for a dinner party. Since Buca is a family style restaurant, we like to choose three or four “larges” (which contain four or more servings), then share and sample to our hearts’ content. We ask that our group dinner be evenly split between separate checks — something large party restaurants like Buca never whimper over. When dinner for a crowd is that easy, it’s a beautiful thing! The lunch or evening goes smoothly, and we have all the time we want to dissect and discuss our book.

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Alumni Parties at BucaThrow a “company party” for alums!

Since employers have trimmed their workforces down to the bare bones in recent years, most workplaces have lost at least a few members of their office families. At Buca di Beppo, where group dining (and partying) is a daily occurrence, we’re taking reservations for more and more former -members-of-the-office parties. They’re a great way to reconnect with old chums, network and enjoy a totally unofficial company dinner or lunch.

Whether you’re an alum or one of the lucky ones, you can still enjoy a non-traditional office party.

Most of us tend to form strong bonds with co-workers.  Besides the fact that we spend more waking moments with them than anyone, we’re in the same business, have a lot in common and work hard together for years — sometimes decades — to reach the same goals. All those team building exercises you’ve participated in do work!   You’ve forged some strong relationships. That’s why getting together for an informal “company outing” can be fun. (Just make arrangements for those still working to pick up the tabs for those who aren’t.)

Bosses usually approve and frequently even contribute some not-so- office party ideas!

Provided former employees have left on good terms, there’s nothing wrong with getting together for a company outing. Just make sure you hold this entirely social soiree at a great group restaurant like Buca. Whatever the size of your party, Buca helps make your group dinner ideas a reality with friendly service, fun surroundings and sensational food.

Here are some corporate party ideas for your not-so-corporate meeting agenda.

Ask your guests to meet and greet in Buca’s lounge for half an hour before your un- company dinner or luncheon. Those who have never been to Buca can receive a “tour,” including a stroll through the kitchen and the opportunity to see all of Buca’s “sights.” And with over 2,500 vintage photos plus lots of creative décor, there are many!

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Office Birthday PartiesYour boss’s birthday should be better than a business meeting.

The big guy (or gal) is another year older, giving you the perfect excuse to plan an office party. And because everybody’s likely to show — maybe even the boss’s boss — you’ll want to make it as fun and festive as possible (without being unprofessional, of course).

Best party planning tip:  Make a reservation at a great group restaurant.

Noshing with the boss outside the office feels a lot more like true socializing than having a company party in one of the conference rooms at work. Especially when you celebrate at a place that doesn’t seem officey. My favorite venue for a birthday office party is Buca di Beppo. Not only is the vintage Italian-American décor witty and irreverent, the food’s great, and the service is fantastic.

That’s because the pros at Buca handle group dining on a daily basis.

Impress your boss with good judgement by choosing Buca. The staff there is easygoing and friendly, but incredibly efficient. With its series of private and semi-private dining rooms for parties of every size, Buca is designed as a restaurant for groups.  The party planners, chefs and wait staff are used to handling a lot of celebrations of every kind, including office parties. With all that practice, they’re able to whip up delicious food for a group, serve it fuss-free and provide separate checks without even breaking a sweat.

Decide what you want to do, then turn your event planning over to Buca!

The great thing about group restaurants like Buca is that you can quickly do all birthday party planning on your computer. Select a date, fire off some e-invites, get a rough head count and make a reservation online. That’s it!  If you want to arrange for birthday balloons, party favors and centerpieces, having Buca’s help gives you more time, and their party planners can give you even more work event ideas. But don’t knock yourself out — you don’t want to give the impression you’re trying too hard or — worse! — wasting time.

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Training Meeting LunchesDon’t make attendees brown bag it for their next training event.  Instead, take them to a hospitable group restaurant where they can place their orders, relax and absorb information. Novel meeting locations away from the office (ever-ringing office phones, interruptive co-workers and demanding supervisors) can be much more conducive to learning than onsite meeting spaces. Just make sure participants truly get away by turning off their cellphones.

A unique conference venue also livens up team building exercises.

Not only do attendees find new surroundings stimulating, a less business-like atmosphere helps them relax and be more receptive to the facilitator and to each other. Team building activities are just more fun in an informal, conference restaurant.

Buca di Beppo makes a great corporate venue for training.

Buca is one of the best restaurants with private dining rooms I’ve found, where the ambience is relaxed, the food delicious and the service impeccably professional.  Each location offers a selection of comfortable dining areas that double as conference meeting rooms.  The staff provides the kind of efficient service you find only at restaurants with group-friendly designs ― and that have experience because they’re frequently used as business meeting places.  Call your local Buca and ask to speak to their corporate party planner to tap into all kinds of great corporate activity ideas.

At Buca, professional is playful!

Don’t let the lighthearted décor and friendly hospitality fool you:  Buca is all business when it comes to seating your guests, getting orders right and keeping the food for conference attendees on schedule.  All those vintage photos of Italian Americans may provoke comments and laughs at first, but that only means your facilitator can skip the icebreakers and jump directly into the presentation. The staff is welcoming and quick with a smile but ― chefs to wait staff, corporate event planners to bus boys ― the goal is to make your company outing a tremendous success.

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Going Away PartiesCo-worker promoted?  Someone moving on? Take them to the best party place ever!

One thing that doesn’t change in the working world is that things change. New colleagues come aboard; others leave. Some get married; others have babies. Promotions happen.  Sometimes promotions don’t happen, so someone leaves!

Whatever the new direction, employees — those doing the changing and those watching it happen — like to mark the occasion with an office party.  A get-together where everyone acknowledges what’s going on makes things seem more official than a memo or e-mail.

Why are office parties a good thing?

As a team building exercise, you can’t beat a simple company party. It builds camaraderie by getting co-workers together, away from the mundane details of day-to-day office life. A company dinner or lunch lets everyone see each other in a different, more casual light. And group dining is way more intimate than calling everyone to one of the usual meeting spaces at the office for donuts, coffee and a boring announcement.

What’s the best conference venue for your office party?

It’s probably a great group restaurant.  You don’t want to take the gang to that romantic little place that’s your favorite for dates — the staff won’t be able to handle dinner for a crowd efficiently enough. You’re looking for a restaurant for groups whose kitchen can prepare multiple meals for large groups, and whose staff doesn’t flinch at the prospect of 20 or 30 separate checks.  You want to enjoy delicious food in a fun, festive atmosphere.

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Office Birthday PartiesOne of your co-workers has a birthday coming up, and you’d like to do something different.  Maybe it’s a VIP who’s celebrating; it could be a milestone year for someone; or maybe you’re an inspired party planner who needs no excuse! With a little forethought, you can make this the birthday office party to which all future celebrations are compared.  It’s easy, and can make you famous for putting together special events that actually work as team bonding activities!

Simple party ideas make for great office parties.

Does your staff have all the birthdays each month on one day? Do you generally throw a pot-luck in the conference room? Is the guest of honor usually so busy he or she can barely choke down a piece of cake?  A little party planning can make things a lot more interesting. If you do something new, more co-workers are apt to show – and they’re a lot more likely to have a good time.

You needn’t add to your work load by coming up with fancy party theme ideas, birthday games or party favors – that’s crazy talk!   All you need for a good-time office birthday is a relaxing hour away from work, great, easy food for a party and a delicious birthday cake.

Key party planning tip:  Notify the boss!

Unless you’re the manager with the mostest, that rare leader who enjoys rewarding hard-working “resources” with great company outings, it’s a good idea to talk to the guy or gal in charge.  Here’s why:  You want the work load to let up for at least one hour that one day.  It also ensures you get credit for event planning expertise, office etiquette and all-round good vibes. Plus, it’s nice when the boss joins the party. He or she may be looking to mingle with the minions and will thank you for making that happen.

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Office Baby ShowersPlan a Perfect Baby Shower

When one of your work buddies is expecting – whether the parent-to-be is a woman or a man – you may be called upon to throw a baby shower. It’s not rocket science, but a few baby shower tips can make hosting easier.

When to have a baby shower.

It’s traditional to host a baby shower about a month before the baby is due. You don’t want to have your company gathering too early, but you also don’t want Mom going into labor before (and especially not during!) your office party. Talk to the expectant parent about dates.  He or she may have inside information on whether the baby is likely to come early or late. (Of course, Baby may have other ideas, but there’s nothing you can do about that.)

After setting the date, choose a baby shower venue.

You can always throw a baby shower in the conference room at the office, but this can be kind of a drag. To make it a real celebration for your favorite working stiffs, a restaurant makes one of the best places for a baby shower. It gets everybody away from their desks and eliminates the dreaded pot-luck baby shower menu.

At our office, we always have baby shower parties at Buca di Beppo.  (In fact, it’s perfect for ALL our office parties.) Buca has a fun, festive atmosphere that’s the perfect antidote for work-stressed associates. The food is incredible, and the staff is used to big parties, never freaking out when we ask for individual checks. Those who want to share can order family style. And when our whole department shows up (more than 20 people), we can specify a group menu, which saves $$$.

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Sports Game PartyTakeout Touchdown!

Score big with your team by putting together a super party for this year’s deciding game. With just a minimal amount of planning and the judicious use of a great online menu, you can spend the penultimate football evening watching end-of-season action with your guests instead of stressed and sidelined in the kitchen. All you have to do is choose the right takeaway delivery, and everybody’s sure to enjoy delicious, ready-to-serve dishes from a great to go menu. And Takeout not only tastes good, it allows you to concentrate on the game instead of your cooking strategy.

Ordering food makes throwing a sports party a snap.

Let’s face it, cooking party food for a big crowd is time consuming and nerve wracking, and you lead a busy life as it is.  Find the right catering restaurant – one like Buca di Beppo, that serves wonderful takeout food  – and your job gets a heck of a lot easier. There’s no need to schedule an extra trip to the grocery, find time and space for food storage and preparation, and no pressure to come up with a kitchen game plan to get the right foods cooked and served hot (or cold) before halftime.

Use these easy party tips for painless party planning and maximum fun.

  • Figure out how many guests you’ll have.
  • Check out Buca di Beppo’s extensive online takeout menu and choose the perfect party food for your team. Order ahead, either online or by phone.
  • Purchase beverages for the fans attending. Make arrangements  for coolers if you don’t have enough room in the fridge.
  • Arrange comfortable seating for maximum television(s) visibility.

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