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253 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, CA


Solutions for private events of under 40 people: a downtown San Francisco venue, event services, and a sharp collection of rentals.


Stay updated on Cookhouse with our tips, news, and inspiration.

Timeline: Planning for Small Events

Jen Wu

Chefs invited to cook at Cookhouse via Visit Denmark plated a beautiful grilled peach and arugula salad on our custom-made natural ash wood serving boards. We provided the plates, silverware, and glassware, and rented the linens from La Tavola. The rest of tableware were provided by Visit Denmark.

We often want to simplify complex things, and we often accidentally complicate simple things.

Cookhouse specializes in smaller-size events - usually around 10-30 people. That’s ground that not a lot of experienced companies cover. There’s having some friends over for dinner, and then there’s your company holiday gala or a big wedding. So, we listen to many clients that start our phone conversation with “I’ve never put together something like this before…”

When starting to plan an event like this, an antidote to this is a little bit of focus and a bit of guidance. Find out what deserves your attention.

Here’s a tip to start. Do you need help knowing how soon you should plan for an event? Follow this general timeline:

  1. Once you know the guests you’ll invite and a general idea of what you’ll want to eat, you’ll be able to figure out what kind of place you’ll want to book. Inquire at least 60 days in advance. If your date is flexible, you can afford to wait a bit longer. Need a specific date? Many event venues or party spaces will allow you to put a hold down, so ask if you can hold your date ASAP.

  2. Make major event decisions - food, larger decor orders, etc. - around 30 days in advance. That way, if you need to hear back about dietary restrictions from guests, you can find out what they’ll be able to accommodate and the date when the chef or caterer will need to know. Also, this gives you better chef availability!

  3. Have the minor details set - RSVPs, beverages, smaller decor items you’ll bring - around 14 days in advance. And check in with any hired vendors/staff around this time!

If you need some more simple, easy-to-remember tips and guides for birthdays, corporate dinners, sign up for our newsletter! We won’t overwhelm your inbox.

Or book a business or personal event with us. We have enough experience to customize what should be customized, and keep the obsessing about the rest of the details to ourselves. And, if you want us to, we’ll help you along the way - whether you’re new at this, or you’re a full-time event planner.