- Planning - sit down and discuss with the decision maker exactly what they want from the event. From this, work out a time plan, to-do list and relevant contacts.

- Budget - ensure you are aware of the budget before you start contacting people.

- Organising - once the date and budget are set, organise the caterers. They may be able to help you organise other requirements, such as florists or venues, too. Discuss any special dietary requirements.

- Invitations - make sure they go out on time.

- Confirmation - ensure you get confirmation from all suppliers regarding exactly what they are providing you with and when. Date all correspondence, and make sure you stay in constant contact.

- On the day - make sure you know your point of contact with the caterers or any other service providers.

Advice from Cooks & Partners, contract caterers

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