Need to plan a big event but want to get rid of the planning stress? There are ways to stay organized whilst planning the perfect party. Specifically, using a catering planner will help you organize your tasks and set deadlines. In our guide below, we will specify how to use a planner and which elements to prioritize. Event Format Before jumping into the planning process, establish the event format. Whether you are a catering company or a couple planning your wedding reception, have an idea in mind. For example, if you are hosting a more formal event, you’ll need a sophisticated, multi-course dinner and potentially more space. If your event is going to be casual, skip seating arrangements in general and opt for buffet-style catering. Before we walk you through key decisions involved in catering planning, set up meetings/calls with your client(s) or decide on your own what the end goal is. Space You don’t simply need any space for your guests; there must be room for kitchen equipment, work surfaces, oven space, and more. When researching venues, note down several important questions worth asking. First of all, is there a fridge within the venue or do you’ll need extra equipment arrangements? With a guest list of 100+ people, limited space in the refrigerator is simply nerve wracking. Secondly, are there enough work surfaces? If not, set up temporary tables for extra work room; this is especially important for dough-based dishes like canapes. Ensure that work spaces are not too close together to avoid accidents amongst staff members in the kitchen. Plan Your Time With the stress of catering events, time is of essence. Use your planner to stay on top of important deadlines. Write long lists of arrangements that need to be made and delegate appropriately amongst staff members. Some of these may include: Responsibilities separated by staff member; Flower arrangements with florists; Decoration costs, setup schedule, and more. You may want specific people in charge of tasks - from flowers to drinks, decorations, and so on. Moreover, even when working with people outside of your team, having set deadlines and arrangements made far in advance will keep you organized. Food-wise, talk with your clients about dietary restrictions. Building the menu before clarifying food preferences can be problematic since you might have to omit certain ingredients later on in the process. Whether you are a caterer or are planning an event for yourself, ask your guests to RSVP so that you can do a final headcount. This might take time, so request answers long before the event. Payments Unless all arrangements were made with one person, following up on payments is a hassle. Make a list of billing deadlines in your planner. It will allow you to go back and check whether all bills have been settled and payments have been made. You will also be able to check whether you are within budget at any point of the planning process. That makes the task of prioritizing easier; adjust tasks and goals accordingly. As a caterer, demonstrate high quality service by making sure payments go through on time, whether it’s to your staff or to third parties (such as florists). Good customer service is extremely important, and paying partner companies on time will make them want to work with you again. Summary: Before starting the planning, decide on the event style. Pick the right space for your event whether you’re a host or caterer. Give yourself plenty of time for arrangements. Use a catering planner to stay on top of deadlines and payments.