SafeHire Certified

EHA Members

Event Equipment Hire Company of the year 2021

Award Winning

Established 1999

Catering equipment hire throughout: Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Birmingham and the West Midlands.

Back to Blog

Event Planning Checklist

Event Planning Checklist

There’s a lot that goes into arranging an event. Whether it’s a simple gathering, a party, a corporate function or a wedding, there are many different elements that need careful consideration. Whether you’ve been planning events for years or you’re just starting out, we can all benefit from a little reminder about best practice. Here’s our event planning checklist to help you out.


Sign contracts

Catering contracts are legal agreements entered into between the client and caterer to supply food and refreshments for a specified period. Naturally, there are several types of catering contracts, each with its pros and cons. Clients select the contract style that suits them based on their requirements, style of food, employee expectations, working environment, location, and catering policy.                                                                                        

Contracts should be fair to both parties and be able to give accountability and value to the client as well as a realistic reward and/or incentive to the caterer.


Establish budgets

Before you can begin planning your menu and other elements of event organisation, you must establish the client’s budget for the event. Having a figure in mind is imperative because your budget determines the type of food and drink that you're able to serve, the equipment you’ll be able to offer, and the services you’ll be expected to provide. If you have packages with staggered pricing, make sure the client knows what’s included in the package they’ve selected. Next, create a breakdown and decide how you plan to allocate your available funds across the catering plans.


Target audience and theme

You need to identify a target audience for the event. Who are you aiming it at, and what are you trying to achieve with it? All events are held for defined reasons whether it’s a small party, corporate event, hosting VIP guests, or to gain contracts. Decide on your ‘target audience’ and let that drive your activity when you’re planning. It’ll also help to decide a theme for the event as it’ll allow you to send emails, notes, and have calls about the “X ball” or the “X awards dinner” and it helps to make it all feel real! The theme can also influence the location and the meal choices available.


Confirms guests and location

Once the guests have been selected, the guest number is likely to dictate the location. For example, if you're catering for a small dinner, the event may be held in a conference room or someone's home. If it’s a larger corporate event, then a larger conference or banquet room at a hotel might be more suitable. Once the location is decided, it’s important you know the logistics to know how you’ll bring in your equipment and food. The bigger the event, the more equipment you’ll need, so make sure it’s viable!


Decide the menu style

Based on the budget for food, brainstorm possible menu ideas for the event for the client to sign off on, if not already preset. Don’t forget to suggest a food-tasting session if it’s something you offer. Depending on whether the client wants a buffet-style or sit-down event, the food options will vary. The location of the event may provide waitstaff but not equipment, in this case, you’ll need to hire your equipment from a trusted provider. Check what your menu is going to need, for example, make sure there is enough fridge space for your food and drink because, if there isn’t, you can hire commercial fridges to keep your meals and ingredients fresh without hassle.


Questions you need to ask

  • What are the guests’ dietary restrictions?
  • Are there any VIPs?
  • Will you need to provide linens, cutlery, and utensils?
  • Will there be a podium and additional speakers/guests?
  • Discuss service expectations - how many servers will there be per table, when do they expect tables to be cleared, etc.
  • Are there time restrictions or is it more flexible?
  • If the event is outdoors, where will the power come from?


Electrical know-how

The thing about catering events is that they can often be in awkward places – such as outdoors in a marquee or in an old building. Your electricity might be supplied by a generator brought in for the occasion – or it might be coming via long reels of the extension cable. Plugging things into an extension cable reduces the power so prepare in advance. We want to share a tip that we learnt from a groundsman at an event a few years ago. Also, a power cut is one of those nightmare scenarios so make sure you turn everything on at the same time (in advance).


Event furniture hire

One area that you really must get right (as it’s a much harder workaround on the day), is the event furniture. Hiring event furniture will bring up all sorts of questions for you and a few common challenges too, so we thought we’d quash as many of those for you as we can.

Have a read through our helpful pointers to help you decide what furniture you need to hire for your event and get your event planning thinking focused on the right areas

Consider the following:

  • A wedding has a reception, dinner, and evening furniture needs.
  • A stand-up buffet needs no tables for seating, but you still need chairs and buffet tables. Plus, some people may prefer to have the option to sit down.
  • A networking event may need very few tables, but an awards dinner will need tables, chairs, pedestal tables, bar stools and more.

Think about your event, consider your guests’ requirements, look at the plan for the entire occasion and then map out each stage and consider what furniture you’ll need for each.

You’ll need to hire some of the following for your event:

  • Crockery Hire – plates, bowls, and more.
  • Glass Hire – from champagne flutes to whiskey tumblers.
  • Cutlery Hire – spoons, knives, forks, and even cake knives.
  • Linen Hire – chair covers, napkins, and coloured chair sashes
  • Furniture Hire – tables, chairs, bar stools, and cake tables!
  • Kitchen Hire – full kitchen hire including hot cupboard, ovens, freezers, and urns.


Crockery hire

Most events will centre around a meal, so you’ll need to consider something for the guests to dine from! There are a lot of options when it comes to crockery hire and we’ve covered them in detail in our crockery checklist blog here.

Consider the following:

  • Are you having two or three courses? – you’ll need starter, main, and dessert crockery - or just the two settings, depending on your answer.
  • What are you having as starters? – Do you need soup bowls? Or something for pâté?
  • What are you having for main course? Roast dinner on large dinner plates? Pasta in bowls? Will you serve the vegetables at the table? Or will it be plated up?
  • What are you having for dessert? Cake, or something that requires a dessert bowl? Maybe you’re going for a cheese board instead?
  • Will you be serving teas and coffee? And will you be serving them before and after the meal or just at the end? You may need to double up on your order.
  • Is there an evening buffet? (This is important for weddings.) If so, you’ll need to cater with plates, cups, saucers, and more. Carefully go through your menu and consider all your options.

If you're planning wedding food or planning catering for your wedding venue and struggling for space at your event, we have the tips! Don’t believe us? Read our full crockery hire checklist here.


Cutlery hire

You’ve decided on food, now you’ll need to consider something to eat with! Your cutlery hire needs will be driven by the choice of food.

Consider the following:

  • Starter orders – soup spoons or fish knives?
  • Main course – steak knife needed? Or straight forward knife and fork?
  • Dessert – cheese and biscuits requirements are different from a wedding cake!
  • Cake? Don’t forget the cake stand, cake knife and forks to serve!
  • Evening buffet? Unless you’re going for the bacon sandwich route, you’ll need to order cutlery here, too.


Glass hire

Glass hire is another important factor that should be on your event planning checklist. The drinks at your event might not be simply tea and coffee and you could well be offering something a little more exciting. So, what are you offering?

List out your drinks and then work out which glasses you will need. You can find a full glass hire checklist here, but here are a few ideas to help you:

  • Reception drinks – Champagne or cocktails? Pimms or mulled wine? These all require very different vessels.
  • Table wine – Are you serving red and white? Or maybe some rose as well? Consider catering with different glasses at each setting.
  • Water glasses – Don’t forget the essentials. You’ll need water glasses for the thirst-quenching and you may need some water jugs, too.
  • A toast? – Are you raising a toast with new glasses? Don’t forget to hire them!
  • Bar drinks? – Evening party? Well, you’ll need cocktail glasses, pint glasses, more wine glasses, and some soft drink tumblers, too.
  • Cocktails? – if you’re making a big thing of your cocktails then you might need some martini glasses or maybe some large primeur wine glasses for an Aperol spritz.

Wondering how many drinking glasses do I need for my event? Check out our champagne toast calculator and event drinks guide.


Kitchen hire

If you don’t have a fully functioning kitchen at your venue or if you need a little extra cooking equipment then it’s time to consider your kitchen hire in your event planning checklist.

If you're wondering should you buy or hire your catering equipment? Often, you’re better off hiring in a proper ring burner than hoping that the on-site oven is up to the job. Catering for a few people from a domestic oven is fine, but it will reach its limitations at a larger event.

Consider the following:

  • Production – ovens, hobs, urns, gas cylinders, pots, pans and plate stack! Full range here.
  • Refrigeration – A well-equipped kitchen will need to keep raw food and cold items at the right temperature. A decent fridge is a Godsend.  Full range here.
  • Preparation – most event food is prepared to a point on-site so getting tables, plate stands, and even a kitchen sink may well be on the cards for you. Full range here.
  • Holding – keeping things warm in the kitchen and on the tables could be needed. Check with your menu/caterer/client to determine what you need.  Full range here.
  • Food Serving – chaffing dishes for the buffet or a hot cupboard for the kitchen. Pay attention to how the food will be served here and consider all the options. Full range here.
  • Beverage Equipment – Hot water is often needed so get a good urn or two hired and don’t forget the drinks trays and water jugs. Full range here.


Furniture hire

Aside from the food and drinks, you’ll need a full array of furniture for them to sit at and wine and dine. The number of guests and then what they’re going to be doing at your event will be your guiding light to the furniture hire you require.

  • Tables – The size of your tables matters as this will depend on how many people you can get around them. You can find a full guide here on our tablecloth size guide and you can also download a tablecloth size guide PDF here.
    As you’ll see, you can fit 12 people around a 7 ft round table, but a 7ft round table is larger than a 5ft round. Got a long and narrow space? You might need to opt for more 5ft rounds than the larger 7ft rounds, and merely use more of the room. If this sounds too complicated we can help you work it out. We’ve been doing this for years! Find our full range of tables here.
  • Chairs – a simple headcount will give you your number here and then it’s just a decision on the types of chairs and whether or not you need to hire some chair sashes to go with them to match the theme or make the room more to your taste. Don’t forget the bar and the outside seating, too! Here's our full event furniture hire checklist, we even have the tables, chairs, bar stools, and cake tables!


Linen hire

And then you’ll need to dress those tables, place settings, buffet tables and more with linen hire. Ask yourself, what linen do I need to hire for my event?


  • Table Linen.
  • Chairs.
  • Chair Covers.
  • Sashes.
  • Disposable Linen.
  • Kitchen Serving Linen.


When hiring equipment from Plato, you can be safe in the knowledge that any electrical equipment is PAT tested before it’s hired out. Plato is also a member of the SafeHire Certification Scheme, which means we have proven excellence in safety, health, environment, and quality. This ensures you’ll receive the highest possible quality of service and catering equipment hire.


What are the must-haves on your checklist? Anything you need help with? Contact us today.


Quote Submission

We deliver throughout Birmingham, Coventry, Leamington Spa, Redditch, Solihull, Stratford upon Avon, Warwick, Worcester.

if your event is in any of the following counties we would absolutely love to quote:-
West Midlands
North Oxfordshire