Mike Dolpies and Melissa Christoforos are excited to bring quality event planning and specialty catering to central New Hampshire through their new business, Twelve 31 Events, located on Main Street in downtown Tilton. (Photo by Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
June 06, 2018TILTON Ė Brides, businesses and organizations planning events in the Lakes Region now have a new resource to assist in that often time-consuming process. At Twelve 31 Events, Melissa Christoforo will help make any and all arrangements for those gatherings, leaving the enjoyment up to her clients.
Christoforo, who is partnered with Mike Dolpies, has an extensive background in catering and event planning. She attended culinary school right after high school and before she even graduated she found herself employed in prestigious restaurants in downtown Boston. Eventually she moved on to the Hyatt Harborside Hotel where she found catering and event planning to be her true passion.
After several years of work in Boston, Christoforo met Dolpies and decided it was time to move to New Hampshire, where she could branch out on her own to do what she does best- cooking and event planning.
In 2013, a building at 261 Main St. in Tilton became available and Dolpies, a former resident of Northfield, realized it could be an ideal location for business ventures and purchased the building. This past winter a fitness facility that was renting the space vacated the site and the couple began working on transforming it into a catering and small event facility.
"This has been a long time in the making, but in January, we got our LLC and started construction in March," Christoforo said.
They installed a full service stainless steel kitchen and created a meeting area accented with rustic décor and furniture creates a comfortable space for their customers.
The name Twelve 31 has a bit of a story to it, too, signifying the end of the old and the start of the new, and since December 31st (12/31) is also a popular night for events, and the name sums up what they're all about.
Christoforo said her plan for the business was to be something unique to the area, not a "run-of-the-mill" catering company. While she certainly provides quality food services, she also strives to take those services above and beyond others through the attention to detail that she has built her reputation on in the industry.
"I can do everything from start to finish — invitations, tents, tablescapes, china, music- you name it," she said.
In fact, her wedding planning skills are so highly regarded that Christoforo is a featured vendor on the popular wedding site, TheKnot.com.
Among other things, her passion for detail provides nervous brides with practical but often overlooked tips. One tip she provides is not to wear heels for an outdoor wedding since they can sink into the ground, just one of many things some may not even consider as they plan their big day.
"Many times, people don't think about those little details until it's too late, and that's what I'm here for," Christoforo said. "I can be available right from the start or even at the last minute if people get overwhelmed and need some help."
Besides weddings, Twelve 31 Events can assist in the planning of other gatherings, whether it be a family reunion, holiday party or a business meeting. Christoforo will also simply cater an event, offering taste sessions and menu planning services in advance. Foods are then delivered within a 30-45 mile radius, fresh, hot and ready to serve.
"I believe in being customizable. We have menus (which change seasonably) but we can always go beyond that if a client is looking for something else," said Christoforo.
Among the selections is everything from fresh sandwiches, home cooked chicken potpie, and chowders to deliciously seasoned grilled shrimp, Italian dishes, tasty hors d'oeuvres, and salads, including a wonderful summer fruit salad.
"We've got lots of choices with more to be added," she added.
And if space is needed for a smaller gathering, their comfortable function room can accommodate up to 30 people for a stand-up reception or seat 20 people for a meeting with wall space available for video presentations.
The pair is also compiling a registry of quality bakeries, musicians, disc jockeys, florists and other locally based services that an event would require. Those are specialty fields, they said, for which they will gladly make recommendations and connections as needed.
"This is all the stuff I've done in Boston for years, and I'm excited to now bring it to the Lakes Region," Christoforo said.
The goals for their business aren't stopping there though. Both Christoforo and Dolpies are eager to be a part of the Main Street community in Tilton, making active plans to become engaged with the town. They look forward to being part of local events and organizations and soon hope to be offering a few community-oriented services, such as cooking classes for local youth groups, temporary kitchen rentals for cottage industries and more.
"We're very much into being part of downtown Tilton, and we're really looking forward to things like Halloween this year. I have some fun ideas," said Christoforo with a smile.
Their Web site, https://twelve31.events, has current menu items, taste-testing details, function planning and other information available, while Christoforo can also be reached at 818-0012 to answer any questions or arrange any event or private function.