In reply to this post by Kelly@ViewAlongTheWayHOST
We have hosted the last few for our family and friends--and I learn something new every year. I am not naturally organized or intuitive, the choreography does not go smoothly without a lot of help. I start a file right about now, and keep copies of every single recipe I will make, copies of rental receipts (linens, tables), seating charts, contact phone numbers, etc.
The one thing that helps me the most is my chart -- all the dishes, and some of the tasks (set the table, set up the bloody mary bar, etc.) are listed in a column on the left side, and all the time slots are listed across the top -- starting about two weeks before, and ending with projected sit down time. I send the chart file to my local Postnet, and they print it out in large format;when I get the chart back, I fill in any details and refer to it constantly, checking off all of the boxes as I complete them. This way, I don't forget anything (well, not too many things), and although we never are actually seated by the projected time, we are close enough.
After the big event, I go back over all the recipes and make notes ("double this for next year," "never, ever make this again," "leave out the sausage"). The next year, I have a great starting point for planning.
The file and the chart allow me to hit the ground running in November -- and I don't have to reinvent the wheel every year!