Thanksgiving – how I plan an event part three

Yesterday was the day of my Thanksgiving lunch and today is the last day of my ‘how I plan an event’ blog series (for now).

Dessert table

The last two things I want to talk about are the day before and the day of the event. Because, while  I was admittedly super organised prior to the day, there were things like cooking the turkey and mixing the cocktails that couldn’t be done days in advance, but still had to be ready and timed correctly for when my guests arrived. I’ll start with my full menu:

Cocktail on arrival: Cranberry and ginger martini
Entree: Roasted Sweet Potato and carrot soup with honey
Main: Roast Turkey with cranberry and macadamia nut stuffing, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, mashed potato, steamed mixed vegies. Gravy and cranberry sauce on the side.
Dessert (most were on a dessert table for guests to choose from): Homemade pumpkin pie ice-cream, homemade vanilla bean gelato, pumpkin pie, turkey-shaped cookies, pumpkin pie snickerdoodles, pumpkin cheesecake brownies, vanilla cupcakes with pumpkin icing and a selection of lollies. (Whew, that’s a lot of pumpkin).

So, on Saturday I did the final grocery shop and bought, most importantly, my turkey. While he defrosted, I made the green bean casserole; boiled the sweet potatoes, mashed them and mixed with the spices and spread into a casserole dish; baked the cupcakes and the cheesecake brownies and set the table. While I was setting the table, I stuck post-it notes wherever something like the butter dish or the cranberry sauce was going to sit. I also set my dessert table with the containers of cookies on the plates I was going to serve them. For anything, like the pie, that had to stay in the fridge, I set the platter out with a post-it stuck on. I also took out serving spoons and labelled them as well to minimise what needed to be done in the kitchen other than cooking serving up the food.

Table setting 1

In the morning I got up early enough to allow for a leisurely walk to the shops where I picked up some fresh flowers, had a coffee and organised my to do list. When I got back home, I immediately lit a bunch of cinnamon/apple/spicey candles so the house had a Thanksgiving-like smell, arranged the flowers, got the soup I’d made earlier in the week out of the freezer and put it in a saucepan ready to be heated, peeled and boiled my potatoes and put the turkey in the oven. As the time got a bit closer, I set up all the non-refrigerated desserts on the dessert table and took a bajillion photos.

dessert table 2

The guests were due at 1230, so by 12 I had the turkey in the final stages of cooking, all the pre-prepared sides (casseroles and mashed potatoes) went into the oven, the soup was on to heat and, my very last job was mixing the syrup component of the arrival cocktail. I had this all ready to go so that by the time the doorbell went, all I had to do was add ice to the glasses and pour the soda in (I live on the fifth floor, so it took them long enough to get up in the elevator that the glasses were full, icey and bubbly when they walked in).

cocktails ready and waiting for their soda

Yes, I had gone to pretty extreme levels of organisation for this before, and yes, I spent a hell of a lot of time cooking and baking before (and yes, I definitely had too much food!), but I definitely recommend planning out every little job. Why? Because even as the host of this lunch, I got to sit and enjoy my food and enjoy the company of my family and friends without stressing. So, the short answer to this whole ‘how I organise an event’ is to plan, plan, and plan some more.

If you’d like to see some more pictures, I’ve posted them below, after the vendor credits.

Vendor credits:
Printables by The TomKat studio
All baking and cooking by me, Choc Mint Cupcake
Poms, baking cups and brown favour boxes (used as place card holders) from The Little Big Company
Cake stand, platters and white basics dinner set are Maxwell & Williams, purchased from Robins Kitchen
Brown & white blossom mugs by Three Hats, purchased from Robins Kitchen
Parlour Glasses by Davis & Waddell, purchased from Robins Kitchen
Blackboards from Typo
White cupcake boxes from Sweet Themes

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