You have an event to plan as well as the venue directory that will help you choose the perfect venue with EventUp by Tripleseat, but when should you start researching and securing a venue?
If you start too soon, venues and vendors will assist in your event planning, but your event will not take priority over the events that are taking place at an earlier date than yours. On the other hand, if you start too late, you will run into availability issues with both the venues as well as the vendors. Simply put, it will be hard to find a venue with the exact date you want, especially if you prefer a Friday or Saturday night, as those are the most sought-after nights of the week, and they typically fill up first. Depending on the event type that you are hosting, the turnaround time for food, beverages, flowers, equipment, etc., can vary anywhere from a few days to several months or more.
Finding the right balance between not reaching out too far in advance and too late can be tricky to navigate. We have broken down the timing of when you should start our research, narrowing it down to your favorites, scheduling walkthroughs, and, ideally, when invitations should be sent.
A wedding typically has many moving parts to it. A high guest count, bridal parties with set attire and wedding day duties, several food courses, multiple vendors such as floral, photography, hair & makeup, and what feels like about a million little details to be decided on that make up your perfect day. Some brides or grooms know exactly where they want to get married and simply select one of the dates the venue has available. The majority of folks getting married will need time to research different types of venues before settling on a select few to schedule walkthroughs with all to select THE venue that best suits your wedding needs with the available date. We recommend starting your search 18 months before your ideal wedding date. That gives you about six months to research venues, schedule the walkthroughs, make a decision, and sign contracts. Then you have 12 months to focus on the rest of your wedding needs. Once you have your date and venue, you will want to send out your Save the Date to all guests 3 to 4 months before the big day, allowing guests to figure out their accommodations, travel, and any pet or child care that may be needed. Invitations requiring both attendance and food selections are best sent 6 to 8 weeks before the wedding.
Hosting a launch party for a new business or product has a tight turnaround. Your new business or product is almost near completion, and you want to announce to the world that you are open and ready for customers. If you wait till the day you are officially open for business to start the planning process of the party, you are sitting around with inventory to sell and no customers since you have not officially publicly opened. Plan too far in advance, and the business or product may not truly be ready for the public the night of the party. 6-8 weeks before the ideal launch date give you enough time
For more popular restaurants that fill their reservations rather quickly, you may have to call and schedule up to three weeks in advance, even for a party of two. For parties of 6 or more, it is proper etiquette to call and schedule a week in advance specifically for the busier Friday and Saturday night dinner time slots. At the very minimum, you should always call and reserve a table a few days before any planned private dining needs, regardless of the day of the week, for both lunch and dinner. This allows the restaurant management time to manage their reservations and walk-in counts for the day, as well as time to plan and order any necessary special food and drink orders that will be needed for the week ahead. It also provides a guaranteed table, so you are not rushing to find an opening last minute.
Photo or Video Shoot:
A professional photo or video shoot will typically fall within one of two categories, a small-scale shoot or a large-scale. A large-scale session can be associated with a household name brand or product, models that are scouted for, lighting, camera, and prop equipment that is rented, a detailed and clear outline of the shots that are required from the shoot, all with a team that manages each function of the day. A small-scale photoshoot could range from one model and one photographer or videographer to a multitude of combinations of the above. Either type of filming shoot category requires a venue with enough blank space to turn it into the ideal set and an abundance of natural light. Start your venue search eight weeks before the shoot day. Allow yourself 2 to 4 weeks to schedule and perform walkthroughs of your favorite venues to select the perfect spot. This gives you 4 to 6 weeks to finalize and schedule all of the other components needed for a successful photo or film shoot.
Birthday or Other Social Party:
If you are going to host a social party, such as a surprise birthday party or a bridal or baby shower, beyond a simple sit-down dinner, it requires a bit more planning for you and the venue. Around 3 to 4 months before the desired date of your event is when you would want to start looking for a restaurant or venue that can accommodate your party size and desired date. For these types of events, you can typically secure a venue without scheduling any walkthroughs since the venues will send plenty of pictures and floorplans and may even have virtual walkthrough videos. Once you select your venue and date, send out your invitations so they arrive at attendees in boxes 6 to 8 weeks before the event – to get a proper headcount for the day of the party.
Being in charge of planning a conference can be overwhelming – there are a lot of moving parts and details to secure. Sourcing and contracting your venue is the first step. We recommend giving yourself 12-18 months to start searching for your space. With conferences, a lot of items come into play when finding a venue, such as expected attendance, location, and time of year. Keep all of these details in mind as you begin your search – you’d be surprised how quickly suitable event space becomes unavailable. Once you have contracted your venue, you’ll have a major checklist item off your to-do list, and you can begin sourcing other vendors and promoting your event to attendees.
If you’re in charge of planning your company’s off-site meetings, finding a venue might take a bit less time. Generally, these meetings are very low maintenance and require just some meeting space and light refreshments. In a case like that, you can source a venue with just a couple of weeks’ notice. We recommend looking for space 2 -3 weeks prior and finalizing all of the details a week before.
When it comes to planning a social or corporate event, oftentimes, there can be hundreds of decisions to be made to run a successful event. But knowing when to start your venue search shouldn’t be one of those decisions that slow you down or cause confusion. By following these breakdowns of several different event types, you can feel confident and organized in your planning timelines.
Finding the right balance between not reaching out too far in advance and too late can be tricky to navigate.
We have broken down the timing of when you should start your research, narrowing it down to your favorites,
scheduling walkthroughs, and, ideally, when invitations should be sent. Access the chart here!