The secret to a successful event program is the work you do before the event even starts, with the prep list being the backbone. Here is some advice and insider tips from seasoned professionals to help with your event planning.

1

Let Go of the Ego

"Don't be embarrassed to admit that you don't know what you don't know; prepping for an event is not the time to let your ego get in the way. Ask plenty of questions and take copious notes on everything you do, see, and hear. Then, review your notes and convert them into an actionable list."
 
Fattar A Thomas, General Manager of Delaware North at Progressive Field in Cleveland, OH
 
Pro-Tip: Constantly follow up to ensure the message was received as intended and nothing was lost in translation.
2

Get Down to the Details

"Write your prep list as if you won't show up to work the day of the event to answer any questions. Explain everything that will happen during the event in detail. If a recipe is required, it should be attached to the prep list."
 
Ian Rynecki, Executive Chef of Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyard in North Garden, VA
 
Pro-Tip: Bring extra oil and salt.
3

Document the Flow

"Organization and having a process and routine is vital. Take yourself through the event. How do your guests arrive? Will they be wearing jackets? Start from the beginning and go through the event one step at a time. Don't rush over any aspects of the evening."

Heather Brown Kennedy, Events Director of JK Food Group in Boston, MA

Pro-Tip: Pay attention to even the smallest details in your client's requests. These items will ensure you surpass expectations and are carrying it out as your client envisioned.
4

Inventory Your Supplies & Your People

"Your prep list needs to identify all outside vendors, photographers, musicians, staff, equipment, china, stemware, flatware, linens, and even coat check tickets, so that the day of the event you're not scrambling last minute.  Before the event reconfirm all supporting vendors and hold an event meeting with managers a few days before the event to assure a complete understanding of all the details."
 
Barry Alan Weisberg, Catering/Event Manager of NUHMA New York in New York, NY
 
Pro-Tip: Use your prep list when loading and unloading the truck to be sure nothing is left behind.
5

Build In Extra Time

"Allow yourself a lot of time to prepare for the event before the event. Write a detailed list of what you will need and follow that list. On the day of the event, show up early and walk through the space. Review your prep sheets, and check off the list; then review and check off the list again."

Neal Fraser, Chef/Owner of Redbird and Vibiana in Los Angeles, CA
 
Pro-Tip: Keep each dish in a separate cooler, so all of your recipes are very organized.