You can rent Cambros, theyre for transport mainly, but you can use them before the event starts if you need them.
They hold heat pretty well, but they're basically li'l sauna boxes, so no pastries breads etc in those, unless soggy
is being featured. Since you have on-site kitchen access I prefer other heating/holding methods, timed with holding in chaffers.
You can start all this setup hours ahead of the scheduled event time.
There are plenty of things you can prep day before, but of course you need to plan your menu
around what you have the time/manpower/equipment to do. You said you might have to use a
kitchen the day before. You mean one elsewhere? If it involves transporting ready-foods on
event day, it might get tricky in terms of legality as a personal chef. Something to keep in
mind, I dont know your situation, your location, or even the time of your event.
1600 isnt a huge budget for 100 (which you must assume will show) if it includes paying you for all
your work, expertise, and maybe a helper....especially if you want to dazzle. What you can serve to impress
for the holidays is a rather endless list, something your client needs to think about more WITH you. But I will say,
it's certainly not set in stone that ham for instance has to be on a carving station. Carving stations are impressive,
but it takes someone to man it. And a little know-how, and knife-skill too. Again, if you have semi-skilled volunteers at
your disposal, who can safely carve without mutilating, fine. Otherwise youre cutting into that budget again.
But you can slice up a gorgeous ham and present it nicely in a chaffer buffet, or any other main.
Hope that helped a little, and as said above, the more details you can give is the better we can help you.