While it might seem a bit extreme to begin booking venues and caterers for your event a year before it occurs, booking so far ahead is something that will actually work to your benefit, as it can significantly alleviate stress. Besides being good for your own stress alleviation, here are some other reasons why you should book venues and caterers 9–18 months in advance!
It’s Time Consuming
Finding the right venue and caterer takes a lot longer than many people realize. Both the space and the food are integral parts of your event and it will take considerable time to find a venue and a caterer you feel you can trust to do a good job.
Event planners suggest that you interview at least two to three venues and caterers before making a final choice. These interviews take place after you’ve done your research into the best options in your area and budget, as well as research into whether or not certain caterers have specialties. The interviews consist of sitting down with the venue coordinator and the caterer and discussing your ideas for the space and for the food and budget, and then seeing if they are able to accommodate those ideas and work with you to bring them to fruition.
With caterers, a tasting usually follows the interview, which may take place at a different time, typically four to six months ahead of your event. Caterers offer tastings so that you can sample some of their work, and it’s invaluable in the search for quality. All of this takes time, which is why it’s important to book venues and caterers far in advance.
There’s Limited Availability
Booking 9–18 months in advance has become common practice among event planners and party services alike, meaning that many venues and caterers are booked up for months and months, especially in high demand times, like summer and holiday seasons.If you’re trying to book a venue or a caterer at the last minute, the process can be agonizing. Unless an event is unexpectedly cancelled, the likelihood of booking your first choice, or even your second and third choice, is pretty slim. Because of the competitive booking schedules at play, and because of how essential venues and caterers are to your event, it’s important to prioritize them so that they are one of the very first decisions you make when planning your event.
If you’ve established a specific feel or an aesthetic that you’d like to establish, being unable to book venues and caterers that will contribute to the atmosphere you want can derail your plans. Booking in advance allows you to incorporate both the venue and the caterer more fully in the planning stage.
It’s a Lengthy Process
While choosing a venue and a caterer takes significant time, the big decisions don’t end once you’ve booked your space and catering company. In fact, it’s just the beginning of another lengthy process, which involves working closely with both services to ensure that everything goes off without a hitch at the event.
Once you’ve chosen your venue, you’ll need to make decisions in terms of lighting, A/V requirements, and decorations in relation to the space. Fluctuations in guest numbers and in accessibility requirements are all things that will need to be considered as you move forward.
Once you’ve decided on your caterer, you’ll need to work out a menu with the chef and attend tastings to make sure the food is what you’re looking for on event day. Additionally, guests will send in their confirmations later, along with requests for dietary restrictions, and those all need to be forwarded to the caterer with enough time for the staff to make the necessary adjustments. Booking in advance isn’t just for your sake, it’s also courteous to both the venue and the caterer, and giving them the time they need to give you the best experience possible.