How to organise a successful barbecue or event after lockdown

Lifestyle How to organise a successful barbecue or event after lockdown

In the second workshop (first workshop here) that Hortensia Orsini delivered for La Reserva viewers, she turned her focus to the topic of organising a wonderful barbecue. As an events organiser, as well as a protocol expert she is well placed to guide us through the process of organising an event. She spoke of the three fundamental stages to work through for your barbecue, from the initial idea, to the briefing/pre-event, the preparation stage and then the execution of the event itself and welcomed questions during the session.

She discussed why you may have the idea of organising a barbecue, such as the start of the summer, or perhaps to celebrate the end of lockdown. During this initial phase, you need to think where you want to hold this event, for example on your terrace, garden, or at a great venue such as The Beach.

Now that we have the idea of holding the barbecue, we can move to Phase 1 – the Briefing. This is the stage where we gather all the information we need to be able to organise this event. We also ask ourselves questions and write them down clearly. These questions include such as why we want to do this, when we’re going to do it, where it will take place, how many people will we invite and how many will be adults and how many will be children. You also need to think what is the budget for the event, which will of course influence how many people will come and what we will offer them. At this stage we will also consider who will organise it – the family, household staff, a caterer or organiser for example. This is also the time when we consider how the jobs will be delegated in terms of the invitations, the catering etc, as you can’t do it all yourself.

Once you have considered all these issues and answered all these questions, you will have a clear idea of your event and a very good base for starting the organisation. She concluded the initial part by stressing that your event will be a success as long as you give yourself enough time to arrange it and you spend the time to plan it properly.

She answered questions from viewers before moving through to Phase 2 – Preparation or Pre-Production. This is where you give form to the event and specify the elements you need to make the event a success. She showed us her checklist, which she says is fundamental to make sure that you are on top of all the details and can log everything and nothing is missed. She suggested putting a name to your event so that you could work the theme around this concept and include the dress code in keeping with the theme.

One important point that she made, is that if you are organising an event at home, you should inform your neighbours to avoid problems with noise. She recommended that you also ensure that you organise elements such as the decoration, drinks and food in advance so that you can order everything and ensure it is delivered in plenty of time – so you can chill drinks for example. Think about the things that your guests may need, such as fans and hats to protect from the sun and things to reduce the number mosquitos for example. Details such as these are very important to make your event a success.

This is also the time to think about the catering, whether you will have stations for the different foods and drinks, who will be responsible for this. Also don’t forget about activities for the children and someone to supervise them. You also need to think about whether you want live music, a DJ or background music for example. You will need at this phase to get quotes and timelines on each aspect to ensure that you have all the elements on your checklist in place, utilising quality suppliers that won’t let you down. This is the stage to ensure everything is properly planned.

It will be important in the post COVID-19 phase to ensure all the cutlery and glassware is properly sterilised, the area is kept clean and that you try to maintain social distancing of at least a meter, as she thinks these requirements will be in place for some time.

She then moved onto Phase 3 – the event itself, or as she refers to it Day 0. This will be the main day to set up everything and will start early! This is the time to set up and decorate your space, perform sound checks, clean the glassware and cutlery, and that you have things such as a secure place to leave bags for example. Two hours before you need to have a briefing with all your team to ensure that everything is prepared and set up as you want and to identify any last-minute issues which need to be corrected. One hour before the start of the event; light the barbecue, get dressed into your outfit and prepare yourself to start to welcome the guests and perform any final touches. She recommended being ready to greet people at least 15 minutes before the official event in case people arrive early.

When guests start to arrive, you need to be ready to greet them with beverages such as mineral water, champagne, beer, soft drinks etc. Then you will need to host, circulating around the area to ensure that all of your guests are looked after, make introductions and be available to help with small issues that might occur such as a dropped glass and generally ensure the event goes without a hitch.

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