The first thing I do when I am getting ready for any occasion is start “The List”. This includes the guest list of course, theme and or color scheme of the party and then we move on…
For parties in a restaurant or catering hall –once you decide where you want the event to take place, call and set a date and time, meet with the catering manager and take it from there. Don’t be afraid to discuss what you would like as far as a menu and if they can accommodate your theme or color scheme.
For parties at home-
Once the theme or color scheme have been decided, I write the menu.
When I have some idea of my menu, I gather all my recipes that I will need and write one shopping list for my groceries separated between perishable and non-perishable. ( I don’t usually make this the time to try out any new recipes- keep it simple and stay with the recipes you are familiar and comfortable with.) The non-perishable items you can start buying immediately to take some of the pressure off grocery shopping closer to your event. Decide if there will be any store bought items or anything catered as well and add that to the list with the store, restaurant or deli’s name and phone number.
After the grocery list and menu are complete, I put printed copies of all the recipes I will be using in a folder (either recipe cards or if a recipe is online, a printed copy). You don’t want to go from one place to another to gather the recipe directions that you need the day you start cooking. Make your life as easy, streamlined and stress free as possible. In the folder I also include a printed timeline for getting everything done, so there is no last minute panic…we’ll discuss that later.
Next, decide on the tablescape – dishes, linens, serving pieces and centerpieces. Which brings us to my next step “preparation”.