October 7, 2010

Tip of the day—Planning an event, have a timeline

Over the course of my adulthood, I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in the planning and execution of many fundraisers and large events.  One of the tools that I find helpful is to create a timeline.  Start with the time that your guests are scheduled to arrive and plan backwards what steps you need to take each hour up until that point.  For the hour or two before the event, you might want to break it down into 15 minute increments.  Also add in prep work for the days leading up to the event if applicable.  A quick example below:

12n—start time, guests arrive, parking, have food ready to eat, begin lunch rush, greet guests

11:45am—any early arrivers or workers eating, warming station in use

11:30am—BBQ hot and ready to eat

11:15am—be prepared to start selling desserts and drinks, start hot dogs on rollers, tamale water at full boil, chili hot and ready to eat

I’ll make one of these for any entertaining that we do at our home—from Thanksgiving dinner to a dinner party with a few friends.  If I do a little prep work in the days leading up to the event, I’m better able to relax and really be present when my guests arrive.  If you’re running around like a chicken with your head cut off when your guests get there, you aren’t enjoying the party and your guests will be less likely to as well.  Another example below:

Month before—Set menu, begin shopping for discounts and deals on ingredients, prep and freeze herbs

Week before—complete any shopping still needed

Day 1—Chop and prep vegetables, make cornbread for turkey dressing, defrost turkey, chop pecans for sweet potato casserole, set out casserole dishes and cans so that they are ready, pull chicken stock from freezer and put in refrigerator to defrost, clean house as needed, roast pumpkin and reserve in fridge until ready for use

Day 2—Prep casseroles and put in fridge, make relish tray and cover in fridge, set table, tidy house to keep neat as needed, make pumpkin pie, make flower arrangements for table and around house

Day 3/Thanksgiving

Morning--Turkey in oven early, use windex to make surfaces shine, fluff pillows, put on mulled cider for guests, make tea

Mid Morning--casseroles in oven, gravy going, whip cream and put in fridge for pumpkin pie, guests start arriving

12:15—turkey out of oven and resting, cold foods (relish tray, cranberry sauce) on table

12:30—rolls browning in oven, casseroles finishing up, have Hubby carve turkey

12:45pm—plating food, food on table, ice glasses and pour drinks, begin gathering guests to table, make plates for the kids

1pm—blessing, start eating

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