If God is indeed in the details, Au Soleil must be nigh holy. The operation gets every last request right, and often adds a few flourishes of its own. That might mean having bartenders shake up pitch-perfect cocktails to order. Or creating entrées that play up your favorite ingredients, or that reflect the seasonal bounty at chef-owner Frank McClelland's Apple Street Farm. Whatever occasion you're having catered, you can count on the eats being divine. 148 Hampden St., Boston, MA 2119, ausoleilcatering.com.
This full-service company can handle everything from bar mitzvahs to barbecues to prepared dinners for families of four. And while the menus have plenty to swoon over—passed apps like mini latkes with smoked salmon and chive crema, or entrées like fig-glazed lamb sirloin—it's what goes on behind the scenes that captured our heart. Started by East Coast Grill and Evoo alum Robert Harris, Season to Taste is one of the greenest companies around, delivering drop-off meals by bike, sourcing primo ingredients from New England farms and stores, and composting to reduce waste. If anyone can make a feast for 100 feel virtuous, it's them. 2447 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 2140, seasontotastecatering.com.
We'll let Jasper White's former assistant chef make and deliver dinner to our house anytime. Can dining at home get any better than this? 256 Marginal St., East Boston, MA .
Caterer Dan Mathieu grazes the country seeking the newest food trends and launches the best from his fragrant kitchens in the South End. Who can forget his catering at the drag party at Roxy where "Dolly Parton" passed out cornpone and "Natalie Wood" served up fish sticks? 312 Shawmut Ave., Boston, MA .
This caterer has been a mainstay at Boston’s classiest affairs since 1989, for good reason: Its food is all over the map, in the best way. Proper salmon with dill? Taco buffet? Pork-belly sliders? There are no fixed menus or cookie-cutter ideas here; the only limit is your imagination. Best of all, the team behind East Meets West doesn’t stop with menu planning: With such deep industry ties, they’ll recommend just the right DJ, florist, and venue to suit your vision. eastmeetswestcatering.com.
Great food and extraordinary attention to creating a party's ambience (brightly colored linens, gorgeous flower arrangements) make Calla Lily a winner. Sample the food in advance at the Calla Lily Cafe. 92-94 Kirkland St., Cambridge, MA .
Too busy to whip up a dazzling meal for your next dinner party? Just call Kate’s Table. An alum of some of the city’s top restaurants, chef Kate Papaleoni and her team prep dishes in small batches before artfully displaying them in a curated collection of vessels and custom display pieces. And if you want to pretend you did it all yourself, they also offer a drop-off service. katestable.com.
Turning out memorable meals in private homes—which often means tight quarters and picky palates—is a task that could sap any chef's muse. No surprise the catering arm of the vaunted L'Espalier/Sel de la Terre group is more than up to the challenge. Planning a small fete, we laid out the hurdles: seafood allergies, vegan diets, decorating don'ts. Au Soleil fired back with scads of ideas, including using petits fours as favors and dressing the table with bouquets of our favorite blooms. From intimate dinners to 600-person galas, this event-maker handles every gathering with aplomb. 148 Hampden St., Boston, MA 2119, ausoleilcatering.com.
This charming shop offers a jaw-dropping array of card stocks and designs for every occasion, from receptions to rehearsal dinners. You'll also find photo albums, rubber stamps, and embossing tools for scrapbooking—all of which will preserve the memories of your big day beautifully. 105 Charles St., Boston, MA 2114, ruggroadpaper.com.
Most people don't give stationery a second thought. Then they get engaged and suddenly need an expert opinion on a forest's worth of papers—invitations, save-the-date cards, programs, thank-you notes. Dalton-based Crane, manufacturer of the most classic and elegant wedding stationery collections on the finest-quality paper, makes sense of it all. For tastes that veer toward the modern, there's a newer line of invites that don't follow the classic models. An experienced staff helps you find exactly the right paper and style to fit your budget, and even occasionally eschews tradition by letting you in on a little secret: You don't need that expensive second envelope nowadays. (Our saleswoman whispered that it was used to keep the invitation clean back when mail was carried on horseback.) Prudential Center, Boston, MA crane.com.
This little Charles Street stationer is a dream for do-it-yourselfers, packed as it is with almost 300 kinds of handmade papers (and a wall of grosgrain ribbon wheels for good measure). Forget-the-hassle types, on the other hand, can peruse the more than 30 card lines, from the august Crane's to quirky newcomer Blonde. For business cards or note cards, Bob Slate's would get the nod, but Rugg Road's intimate, cheerful vibe makes it our hands-down pick for anyone looking to celebrate life's announcement-worthy occasions. 105 Charles St., Boston, MA 2114, ruggroadpaper.com.
Some couples just aren't black-type-on-ecru people. Enter Rugg Road, a shop chock-full of carefully chosen papers and paper accessories far more unique than formal. Distinctive options abound, including hand-pressed floral papers, silvery-hued sheets, and gampi paper made from a plant found in the mountains of Japan. The process of custom-designing your own invitation can be daunting, so the staff will assist at every step of the way, from helping to select the perfect font to cutting your paper to just the right size for laser printing. 105 Charles St., Boston, MA ruggroadpaper.com/.
Turning out memorable meals in private homes—which often means tight quarters and picky palates—is a task that could sap any chef's muse. No surprise the catering arm of the vaunted L'Espalier/Sel de la Terre group is more than up to the challenge. Planning a small fete, we laid out the hurdles: seafood allergies, vegan diets, decorating don'ts. Au Soleil fired back with scads of ideas, including using petits fours as favors and dressing the table with bouquets of our favorite blooms. From intimate dinners to 600-person galas, this event-maker handles every gathering with aplomb. 148 Hampden St., Boston, MA 2119, ausoleilcatering.com/.
When the only thing the family can agree on is not to sweat over a hot stove, 10-time winner Bakers' Best has got something to satisfy every craving: Dieting Dad will love the grilled vegetable, hummus, and cucumber wrap. Mom will savor the crab cakes with spicy rémoulade on the side. And the kids will fight—good-naturedly, of cours—over who gets second helpings of the cream cheese brownies. 27 Lincoln St., Newton Highlands, MA 2461, bakersbestcatering.com.
Great service, flavorful food, beautiful presentation—and a willingness to take on any affair, no matter how small or bizarre—set this small company apart from its bigger sisters. From weddings and wakes to corporate conferences and informal dinner parties (sans staff), Bakers' specialties include grilled Norwegian salmon with citrus salsa, rack of lamb with a honey-peppercorn crust, grilled teriyaki chicken, and imaginative hors-d'oeuvres such as artichoke hearts with Parmesan triangles, pan-seared dumplings, grilled lime-marinated scallops, and Tandoori shrimp. Plus an attitude that makes you feel as special as your event. 27 Lincoln St., Newton Highlands, MA .