{lifestyle} Planning for Your Event

Planning a gathering in your home can seem like a daunting task. Having to clean the house, straighten up backyard, and especially preparing all the food, can almost make you feel like backing out of your special event.

However, having your best friends and family around to enjoy each others company is the best part of throwing a party. Making those memories with your loved ones is the reason why we open up our homes.

Just last Saturday, I catered an annual backyard barbecue in a beautiful neighborhood in Naperville, Illinois. It was complete with 50+ neighbors and their kids, movies in the yard, silly string, and even fireworks! My job was to make ALL THE FOOD and make sure that area of the event was a complete success. This client has very descerning taste, so I had my work cut out for me.

Single handedly preparing food from scratch for 60 people is not an easy task and may not be realistic for someone to have at it alone. But with these tips, you too can make a great spread for you and your guests at your next event.

  1. CHOOSE YOUR THEME – Is your event a kid’s birthday party, an intimate dinner with a couple friends, or a wine party with your colleagues? The theme of your gathering will most likely determine your menu style.
  2. PLAN YOUR MENU – Once your theme is chosen, plan a menu that fits your theme. Grilling burgers and steaks may be perfect for a July 4th barbecue, but not for your daughter’s tea party. Also, it is important to think about not only what you’ll be serving, but also how much. According to, many factors go into this calculation. However, the rule of thumb is about 6 bites of hoers devours, and 6 ounces of protein per adult.
  3. START FOOD PREPARATION 1-2 DAYS BEFORE THE EVENT – Some think the day of the event is when all the food gets prepared. But a wise and savvy host knows that getting some work done a day or two before the party will help to make the day of run more smoothly, as well as have time to deal with unexpected issues that may happen to arise on the day of your shindig. If your marinating meats, doing this the night before will yield an amazing end result the next day. Set up your beverage area, plateware and decorations the night before the event to help you have a less stressful day on the day of your party.
  4. KNOW YOUR LIMITS – If you enjoy cooking and entertaining, doing many things on your own may be a cinch. But knowing (and admitting) what you can and cannot handle will save you a lot of headaches. The event I catered was for a woman who has a great reputation for throwing lavish get-togethers. However, she was dealing with a sick parent and had to fly out the next day. Knowing this, she hired me to take care of the food preparations so that she didn’t have to bare the burden of all the food details. In doing so, she was able to enjoy her guests and attend to other details besides the food. In the end, her party was hugely successful and added another star to her already fabulous reputation as a wonderful host.


Photography by: Kate Dwyer Photography