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Auction Timeline: 1 month out

July 14, 2010

See auction timeline: 2 months out

  • Procurement deadline
  • Assign silent auction items to section based upon quantity and value of items.
  • Place live auction items in order they will be sold
  • Finalize catalog
  • Designate volunteers for auction night: spotters, runners, clerks, registration, check out, etc…
  • Package items together and assemble them into “baskets”

Auction Timeline: 1 week out


Event Tip Sheet: Food

July 12, 2010

Here’s the second in a series of four quick tip sheets for meeting and event professionals from Jeff Hurt regarding food and beverage, and meeting room setups.  Here’s the first tip sheet: Meeting Planners Cheat Sheet: Beverages.

Breakfast Breads

Amount to serve:

  • 1 item (bagel, muffin or pastry) per person for 75% to 90% of attendees
    Example: For 100 people, order 75 to 90 items (most groups experience at least a 10% no-show factor for breakfast)


  • Bagels and muffins are usually the most popular. Minimize pastries, unless they look very appealing (i.e. prepared from scratch in-house).
  • Order breakfast breads conservatively as it is usually simple to add more cold food if needed.
  • If you’re doing a multiple day event, be sure to change things up a little each day.
  • Consider putting the buffet table outside the meeting room to limit attendees from returning to the buffet once the meeting begins. If you do this, you may need signage stating who the buffet is for to discourage those outside of your meeting from consuming.
  • If you have left over pastries, ask to put out for the AM break or have them delivered to your office or committee meeting.

Lunch/Dinner Buffet

Amount to serve:

  • 0.8-1.5 entrees per person
  • 1 beverage station per 75-100 guests
  • 1 double-sided food station per 75-100 guests


  • Estimate 50% beef, 40-45% chicken or fish and 5-10% vegetarian
  • One server for every 30-40 people for buffet style
  • Too get an accurate count of the number of attendees served, count empty place settings with folded napkins and subtract from total seats. Alternatively, you can count the number of main plates and subtract the number remaining after the function.

Passed Hors d’oeuvres

Amount to serve:

  • Before dinner – 4-6 per person or one of each kind per person
  • Reception only – 8-12 per person (passed and buffet combo)


  • To conserve on food, use butler passed hors d’oeuvres instead of buffet style
  • If you are serving hord d’oeuvres on a buffet, use small plates to help stretch consumption



  • If the hotel’s menu prices don’t meet your budget, work with your catering manager or chef to design a meal within your budget.
  • Ask if another group is having a lunch or dinner near your scheduled time. You may be able to choose the same menu and save the hotel time and money in preparing a different meal. If this is an option, schedule your meal just before the other in-house group’s time so that you don’t have to worry about the kitchen running out of food.

Auction Timeline: 2 months out

July 7, 2010

See auction timeline: 3 months out

  • Mail invitations
  • Develop registration and checkout procedures
  • Begin designation of items to live or silent auction
  • Enter RSVP data into auction software program
  • Perform a site walk-through with your venue’s catering manager. 
  • Determine room layout, food timing, flow, and identify special needs.

Auction Timeline: 1 month out

Avoid a DIY Disaster

July 5, 2010

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to admit defeat.

OK maybe defeat is to strong a word.  Maybe the statement would not cut quite so deep if we said..Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to admit our weaknesses or sometimes the hardest thing to do is to ask for help.

Sometimes we just need a flowchart (I LOVE FLOWCHARTS) to help us reliaze when we are in over our heads.  Now this flowchart from 100layercake via Rachel of Heart of Light is not just funny & cute, the message is absolutely right on the money.  Click here to download the full version.  

When event planning, getting over your head in DIY projects is easy to do. Instead of planning DIY for everything, pick and choose a few elements you want to do yourself and purchase the others ready-made, call a vendor who can do it for you or maybe event consider bringing in a professional event planner to take the big things off your plate.

Your sanity will thank you.

Auction Timeline: 3 months out

June 30, 2010

See auction timeline: 6 months out

  • Finalize guest list
  • Procurement push
  • Check on proper sound equipment

Auction Timeline: 2 months out

Event Tip Sheet: Beverages

June 29, 2010

Here is a great quick tips sheet from Jeff Hurt’s Midcourse Corrections blog for those appointed to handle meeting logistics for their company’s meetings and need some insight.  Very useful information.  Thanks Jeff!

Morning Beverages

Amount to serve:

  • 1 gallon regular coffee per 30 attendees
  • 1 gallon decaf coffee per 75 attendees
  • 1 gallon hot water (for tea) per 100 attendees
  • Provide soft drinks and bottled water for 25% of the group


  • 1 gallon fills 21 6-oz cups
  • 1 gallon fills 16 8-oz cups
  • 1 gallon fills 10 12-oz cups
  • Some hotels will let you order half-gallons
  • Order bottled water and soft drinks on consumption instead. If you do, be sure to conduct an opening and closing inventory.

Beverages For Breaks

Amount to serve:

  • 1 gallon regular coffee per 50 attendees
  • 1 gallon decaf coffee per 50 attendees
  • 1 gallon hot water (for tea) per 100 attendees
  • Provide soft drinks and bottled water for 70% of the group


  • Order bottled water and soft drinks by consumption

Evening Banquet Beverages

Amount to serve:

  • 1 gallon regular coffee per 30 attendees
  • 1 gallon decaf coffee per 30 attendees
  • 1-2.5 alcoholic drinks per person, per hour at an open bar


  • 25 1-oz drinks in a 750 mL bottle
  • 33 1-oz drinks in a 1 L bottle
  • 4-5 glasses of wine per 750 mL bottle
  • Size of drinks can vary greatly among bartenders
  • Ask bartenders to use a pouring-control system to contain costs
  • Conduct an opening and closing inventory to confirm proper amount charged.


Service ratios:

  • 1 bartender per 75-100 attendees
  • 1 cocktail server per 50 attendees

Your mileage for beverages may vary based on length of breaks, outside temperature and male-female mix.

Auction Timeline: 6 months out

June 23, 2010

See auction timeline: 10 months out

  • Send procurement reminder letters/emails
  • Design invitations, catalog and bid cards
  • Select a master of ceremonies and/or announcer
  • Select Fund-A-Need cause, designate auction night speaker and lead donor for this item and advertise the beneficiary.

Auction Timeline: 3 months out