The Everyday Occasions Store:
tour of our home
browse my SUMMER recipes
Shop the store
the everyday occasions store
ribbon Pink Bakery boxes
kitchen brush set
summer sugar cookies
IMG5 IMG8365
linens kitchen
summer collection enamelware
hydrangea cupcakes linens
IMG3135 IMG9178
linens blue & white containers
summer essentials
clean bottles collection
baking sheets & parchment
herb pots
platter collection
kitchen essentials
baking supplies
m78 m79
baking supplies bread board collection
linen storage ideas
m88 IMG8861
Baking pantry house & home details
IMG6260 IMG0728
summer packaging favorites Summer Recipes

Monday, November 7, 2011

Plan your Thanksgiving like a Caterer | Thanksgiving Planning Check List

As newly weds, last year's Thanksgiving dinner was the first holiday that our two families shared together.  Though I had single-handedly catered other families' large holiday dinners with success, I found that hosting it in our own home, for our own family was completely different.  Not only did I have my own family's traditions to try to replicate, I had an entirely new family's traditions to consider.  Mike's sister always makes her amazing "butterhorns" for Thanksgiving, while my Mom is famous for her soft angel rolls... what to do!? 

In addition to everyone else's expectations, as an event designer and caterer, I also had my own specific visions for everything from how to time and serve the meal, to how the tables should be set.  I learned that I needed to pick and choose what traditions, requests and (let's face it!) demands would work best for our Thanksgiving, and what new traditions we could start as a new family.

What traditions will you keep this year, and what "new" traditions will you try?

As I did for all of my events, I came up with the "Day Of" Cooking Timeline below.  It allows the day (and oven) to run on auto pilot while I'm busy 'entertaining.'  It is important to make an oven schedule for Thanksgiving - especially if you are like me and have a single oven.

Download this form, here.

When I was catering, I offered full service event planning to my Clients.  Meaning, not only was I responsible for the food looking and tasting great, but that the tables, table settings and all of the other aspects of the party were fabulous, as well.  Keeping up with all of these details, in addition to all of the food can be overwhelming.  I created check lists like the one below to help me stay on top of all of the essentials and it freed me up to concentrate on the special details that can make events fun (and fun to plan). 

All of the worksheets are available to download, here!  I hope the help you have an easy and stress-free Thanksgiving!


  1. Anonymous10:22 PM

    I just recently discovered your blog, and I'm so glad I did! I think your ideas are awesome and so useful! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Fabulous worksheets, will definitely use this for the next event. Thank you

  3. kelly in georgia7:08 AM

    Jenny, I LOVE this! And it actually makes it look a little less overwhelming than all my handwritten notes in my notebook tellimg me to do these things - probably because it is sooooo organized. Thank you for sharing your ideas and plans!

  4. I have always used similar lists for parties and big dinners but I love the way yours are laid out. Thank you so much for sharing, I really enjoy your blog.

  5. Kelly in Georgia5:28 PM

    My single oven has died, and the repairman said there is no reviving I am going to have to buy a new one...this weekend. Does your single oven have convection in it too? This old one did not. If yours does, do you use it in that mode a lot?

  6. I can't seem to download your worksheets. Are the links missing?

  7. Anonymous5:02 PM

    I cannot download the worksheets. Have the links been removed?

  8. Jenny1:30 PM

    Hi All - I'm not sure why the links for downloading aren't working... I'll try to get it fixed asap!


  9. Anonymous6:35 PM

    I cannot download the worksheets. Can you post links? Thanks


home entertaining and ifestyle expert
join the
The Everyday Occasions Store: IMG1667 ribbon m12 Pink Bakery boxes IMG9415 linens IMG0864 kitchen IMG0153 summer collection IMG3148 enamelware IMG0170 platter collection pastry bag roll of 100 IMG8499 m85 bread board collection LogoBlack2 m31 IMG9619 home m6 IMG8992 recipe m66 SummerIndex1