Thursday, September 22, 2011
Something I Know, Something I Don't - Keeping Up with the Blogs
Help! How do you manage your reading list? Do you have any tools (I know Google+ seems like a good place to start) or tricks? Is there a way to prioritize your following list? Do you rotate them? Am I over thinking this? (duh)
In exchange for the answers to above I am offering something I know a lot about: Event Planning. Sure, you may not be throwing a bat mitzvah or baby shower anytime soon, but file this away for when you do.
Six tips for planning a party at a venue*:
Whether it's the local VFW or a swanky 4 star hotel, you need to:
1) Do a tasting. Even if you've been there before, even if everyone tells you the food is great. Taste it for yourself. Have them do a selection from your proposed menu. Ask about special meals: vegan, kosher, dairy-gluten-free.
2) Negotiate on the contract. There's never a need to be mean or bridezilla with a venue. Treat them with the respect they deserve. BUT. Know that there is always wiggle room. If you have a budget of $1000 for a small lunch, tell them it's $800 and see if they can work with you. One thing that venues can often waive if you spend enough on catering is room rental fees. See what they can do. There's no shame in asking (nicely).
3)Do you need a sound system? Music? Flashing lights? A dance floor? That all comes from A/V specialists and not from catering. It's an additional cost. Talk to A/V about what you need carefully.
4) Do I need to say this? Review the contracts carefully. There are things you will be responsible for when you sign on the dotted line. And if your expectations are not listed on the contract, the venue doesn't have to deliver. Make sure you have everything in writing. That's why email is so awesome.
5) Following up from the above, when you have a phone conversation, follow up with an email reiterating what was discussed.
6)What's a catering guarantee? Literally, it's the number of lunches/dinners/'covers' you agree to pay for in advance. That's why you never give a guarantee that's above the number you expect. You don't have to worry if one or five more people show up unexpectedly. A good venue can serve extra covers (within reason) when needed. What you don't want is to have paid for 50 covers and have 25 people show up. That's also why you don't give a guarantee until the last possible moment, when you are sure(ish) of your numbers. As a loose rule, assume 10% drop off and guarantee for that number (50 guests, 5 won't show up, guarantee for 45).
Hope that was helpful. If not, then tune in next time as I share with you my Salsa recipe.
*These are my opinions on how to plan an event.