As caterers, we work with a lot of professionals who work entirely in the events industry. Other times, we serve clients who are planning a special, once-in-a-lifetime event. This portion of our guide is meant to help those who aren't so familiar with the event planning process so no one misses out on an opportunity to have the perfect day.
BOOK YOUR VENUE
If you've been dreaming of saying your i-do's somewhere special to you, book it asap! You would possibly be amazed at the number of events that happen every year (just think - weddings, birthdays, corporate events, fundraisers, public events and beyond). So if there is anything that is limited to one per day or weekend, book it fast before it's not available. It helps to be flexible with your date, too.
BOOK YOUR COORDINATOR
There's more than just the "availability" reason to book your coordinator well in advance. Booking them early also means that you'll have their help early in your planning. Coordinators should be organized, creative, and connected to a network of other event professionals that they can recommend to help you realize your vision.
BOOK YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER
Finding the right photographer is usually just a matter of budget and preference. Unless you've already been following your favorite event photographers on Instagram, you'll probably look to the web to find some candidates. Pick photographers whose photos you simply like. Check out their pricing and structure - most photographers charge a single fee for a specific amount of hours and/or images and then give you digital copies to order prints and products from wherever you'd. And, of course, event professionals book up quickly - usually 9 months to a year in advance. Availability will be a factor - so, get right on finding the right person to archive your memory.
BOOK YOUR CATERER
We book weddings and annual events up to a year in advance, and we know other amazing caterers whose calendars fill up quickly also. The caterers that reserve the entire date to focus solely on your event are the ones that you want to have serving your event - the downside being that they won't be able to serve you if the date is already reserved. Catering an event can be complex, so comparing proposals can also be a bit complicated. The way information is presented from caterer to caterer, including the cost of individual items and services included can vary widely.
BOOK YOUR FLORIST
Hoping for a florist that uses fresh, local flowers - or maybe one that specializes in decorating gorgeous arbors? Like photographers, the style of the florist matters, and you'll want to reserve the one that's the right fit for you before its too late.
We work with a local bakery that puts together amazing dessert displays and gorgeous wedding cakes that actually also taste amazing. They're already booking for a year away. While there are a lot of different dessert options (don't feel stuck with a traditional cake!) and also a lot of talented pâtisseries, you'll want to get on the books with someone great.
SEND SAVE THE DATES
Give your guests plenty of time to request vacation and make travel arrangements.
ORDER RENTAL ITEMS
Reserve your rentals! There is a limited existence of table linens, place settings, and even more so - specialty rentals. There are some awesome rentals companies in our area that carry unique items for table settings, decor, furniture, lighting, and more. Check our Something Borrowed and Vintage Meets Modern.
BOOK ANY REMAINING VENDORS
Have a rule that all of your vendors are booked 6 months before your event. This could include event transportation, music, an officiant, photobooth, etc.
GET YOUR DIY ON
If you have any final projects, its time to start completing projects and finalizing arrangements. Since you can accomplish these projects without th exclusive availability of another, they're the perfect to-do to save for the months leading up to your event.
SEND YOUR INVITES
You don't want to send your invites out too far in advance. A lot can change for a person in 3 months. So, send your invited out 8 weeks before your event date - and ask for a response by 4 weeks out. You'll want a couple weeks to finalize your plans, report numbers to vendors, and put your seating charts together.
With all of that said, an event planner is also a valuable asset to have both before and during an event - and even after! We can happily recommend some seriously talented coordinators who can help with logistics as well as brainstorm and execute some beautiful ideas for styling your special event.