Contrary to reality shows and movies that reveal event planners as tyrannical, bossy managers, event planners are supposed to be helpful and provide a positive experience for crafting your event. A good event planner will listen to you, understand you, and make you feel less stressed. At your first meeting he or she should be asking you questions about your ideas and vision, and giving suggestions about what will be best for your event, not forcing their plan or vendors on you. With this in mind, we have come up with a list of hints and tips of things you can do to prepare yourself when trying to find the best caterer or event planning company for you.
Know the budget you are working within before calling an event planning company. That way the event planners will be able to provide you with the best information to fit within your budget. Note: We HIGHLY recommend doing budget research BEFORE you set in stone the guest count, location or time of year, as all of these things affect the cost.
Once you have set your budget and looked into how much you are willing to spend, then you can figure out the details. Having a date or date range, ideal venues, and an estimated guest count are key for the event coordinator to start when putting together a proposal for you.
It is helpful to have basic outline of how you want the day of your event to go before calling a caterer, i.e. event start and end times, type of food service you are looking for, a theme or style you have in mind, and if you are planning on having a bar. Even if you don’t have a location yet, these details will help your event coordinator come up with suggestions for venues and be able to provide you with more accurate pricing.
Read all information you are given thoroughly. Often the questions you have will be answered in the information provided to you by the company. They are the experts and know the questions you’re going to have!
Be honest with your event coordinator about what you are willing to spend and how you want your event to look. It is your event after all, so speak up if you are unsatisfied with what the coordinator is proposing. Don’t worry about hurting their feelings, it is their job to create your perfect event, and both of you will be happier if you say something early on rather than later.
When comparing different caterers and event planners, be sure you are comparing apples to apples in terms of what is included in the total event cost. Every caterer works differently and often times what looks like a lower overall meal cost is later combined with other charges that can sometimes exceed another caterer’s per person cost.
Remember, the more detail you can provide the event coordinator, the better! The process of planning an event can be stressful, but should also be fun and creative; especially if it is your wedding day you are planning! By using these tips and being honest with your event coordinator, hopefully you can enjoy the planning process as much as the event itself!