Regardless of the occasion or the size of the guest list, planning and hosting an event can be a daunting task. A seemingly endless stream of ‘to do’ lists and last-minute jobs can seem overwhelming even for the most seasoned host.

Fortunately, a bit of insider’s knowledge is all that’s needed to create a memorable function which runs smoothly and allows everyone to enjoy themselves.

After catering for numerous highly successful events, the professionals at Wild Roquette Catering have compiled a list of their favourite hints and tips guaranteed to make every host’s job much easier.

:: download hints

Be Prepared!

• Look at your venue - do you have…?

• access for staff and equipment drop-off prior to guest arrival

• easy and clear access for guests (is it a security building, are there gates, dogs?)

• a shaded area and shelter for guests, if outside

• plenty of bench space and refrigerator shelf space in the kitchen

• bar/drink space with sink handy

• accessible parking

• electrical circuits that will handle cooking, music, lights, etc

• adequate outdoor lighting, if evening event

• designated places for cigarette butts – ashtrays or sand pails

• clear and obvious access to bathrooms

• a designated place for coats, bags

• appliances (oven, bbq, refrigerator) that are in working order

• tables for guests to set drinks and food down

• chairs for older guests, those with children or guests who would like to sit and chat

• special decorations, flowers, candles, lighting, music

• plenty of gas for the BBQ

• an alternative venue in case of wet weather, if outside venue

• a clean and well-stocked bathroom

• a designated present table, cake table, guest book table, etc as needed

• trash cans

• knowledge of any other local events that might effect your guests’ ability to get parking, navigate traffic, book accommodation, etc

• a noise curfew or restrictions on event timing

a clear understanding of the terms of your venue hire contract, if applicable

Get Good Help!

Talk to your equipment suppliers, venue managers, hired staff – have you…?

• been introduced to your hired staff and given a ‘point of contact’ person who will address any issues

• mentioned special event themes, fancy dress, if applicable

let them know if it’s a surprise party, keep them quiet and unseen!

• asked them if equipment and/or staff are available for longer if needed - What’s the rate

• clearly communicated what you expect from hired staff

• double-checked times, dates, locations, price and payment requirements with all suppliers

• asked for and received WRITTEN quotes, confirmations or statements

• compile a master list of contact names and numbers for all key suppliers

• advised hired staff of the timing of speeches, cake presentation, food service start/end, as needed

• been told of any ‘tricks’ to using the venue appliances, equipment, door locks, smoke alarms, etc

• pointed out the guest(s) of honour and asked hired staff to specially attend to them

• alerted staff to any special food or drink needs among guests (children, vegetarians, people with mobility impairments)

• shown staff the layout of the venue and the all areas where guests are likely to congregate

Everyone loves to eat – do you have…?

• Enough food for the event’s time of day and the length of the function - your caterer should give you help with this

• Food choices for any vegetarians, gluten free dieters, kosher observers, etc

• A cake, if needed

• Tablecloths, cocktail napkins, cutlery, crockery if not supplied by caterer

• Kids food at adult parties and adult food at kids parties – you never know who will turn up!

• A good mix of food types – seafood, vegetables, meat, sweets

• Party-friendly food that’s easy to eat while mingling

• An idea of the order in which food will be presented - will you have food set out when guests arrive?

• Considered the photographer, the band, the dj and/or the marriage celebrant in your guest count for food

Partying can be thirsty business – have you…?

• Considered non-alcohol drinkers - plenty of water, soft drink and juice on hand

• Purchased a range of alcoholic beverages – white wine, red wine, low alcohol beer, regular beer, champagne, liquor

• Made sure you have enough glasses for all beverages – budget for about 25% more glasses than number of guests

• Asked your catering staff to clear empty glasses often – they can wash glasses if you run low.

• Dedicated a good amount of space to a bar set-up, if needed

• Decided where you will store drinks so that they will be cold but accessible - Do you need bins with ice?

• Bought plenty of ice for chilling beverages and for making mixed drinks

• Decided where BYO coolers and eskies will be left by guests

• Provided BYO cooler tags and wine charms to make it easy for guests to keep track of their drinks

• Asked your caterer if cocktail napkins will be supplied or if you need to purchase them

• Considered placing an antipasto or cheese platter near the drinks to encourage drinking guests to eat

• Designated a spot for recycling bottles and cans

• Got extra bottle openers and bar accessories handy

• Planned for spills and accidents, made your furniture and carpet stain resistant, cleaning supplies handy

• Let your bartender know of any special guest drink preferences and have supplies on hand

• Watched your guests to make sure they don’t drive if they shouldn’t be on the road

• Got on hand the number of a taxi company if needed

• Thought of drink accessories and garnishes – cocktail umbrellas, drinking straws, limes, olives, etc

• Purchased mosquito repellent

• Told your neighbours to expect a bit of noise and traffic (or invited them along!)

• Created a safe play area for kids and an open, cushioned space for toddlers and babies

• Designated a comfortable and quiet room for sleeping children¨

• Stocked up on Tupperware to store leftovers (and labelled them with your name if sending food home with guests)

• Got cash on hand in case you need to make a quick dash to the corner store•

Purchased birthday candles, if needed