What's Next: Steps Leading Up to Your Event

Now that you’ve made the fantastic decision to host your event at The Cookery, what’s next?  The following information will take you through the next steps leading up to your event day.  If there is anything we have not covered in this guide, please do not hesitate to contact us!  

Our Guest Portal is also a great resource for your planning needs - it includes our Preferred Caterer list, Inventory list, sample layouts and linen dimensions, a page that explains your Event Proposal and amenity details, and more!

You said, “Yes!  The Cookery is the perfect venue for my event!” 

The final Event Proposal was sent to you to confirm, and the Rental Agreement and Rules and Regulations sheet was signed.  The Date-Hold Deposit was paid.  Your event day and time is now booked!

While your payments for catering and rentals will streamline through The Cookery, we do not handle the coordination and planning of vendors. As many events have occurred here, we would be happy to mention a few layout tips on, what works well and what does not.

Choosing a Day of Coordinator

We require every wedding client (even if only your reception is on-site) to hire a minimum of a Professional Wedding Day-Of Coordinator. This person will often execute your vendor communication, rentals, rehearsal, set-up, AV needs, ceremony, reception and load DIY/personal items into a vehicle. They will deliver a detailed timeline and finalize the floorplan. Please note, some coordinators only book 6 months out from your event. If you are over 6 months out, simply continue on to the next step!

Choosing a Caterer

It’s now time to focus on FOOD!  Please refer to our list of Preferred Caterers on the Guest Portal to select your caterer.  Contact any of them to receive menu and pricing options.

You will be working directly with your caterer on the meal planning for your event.  All of our Preferred Caterers are familiar with The Cookery, and are a great resource for layout ideas, which will be determined by the style of service you choose (seated meal, buffet, passed or plattered hors d'oeuvres), and the flow and feel you want for your event!  All of the caterers on our list are also happy to discuss any dietary restrictions that you may have.

Once you have decided on a caterer and have chosen your menu, the caterer will send us an invoice for the initial deposit.  We will place the deposit with them on your behalf.  If your actual budget for the meal exceeds the catering budget that is listed on your Event Proposal, you will need to increase the amount you have on deposit with us in order to keep your total deposit with us at 50% of the total budget for the event.

Quarterly Open Houses

Open Houses are held quarterly on the first Wednesday of the following months: January, April, July & October. Please join us from 6:00pm to 7:30pm!

8 Weeks Before Your Event
8 weeks before your event, we will send you an email that will assist you in creating your detailed timeline and vendor contact guide. This information will be requested at your final walk-through.

Constructing Your Timeline:

  • Guest arrival time

  • Event rental time at The Cookery

    • Please note: that this is always 30 minutes prior to the start time of your ceremony

  • Ceremony time

  • What time does bar open/service begin?

  • Do you have an A/V presentation in the Front Room? If so, at what time?

  • What time does your bar/service end?

  • What time will your last song be played?

  • Formal exit for the bride & groom

  • Event end time

    • Please note: you have 1 hour of clean-up/breakdown after your event ends

Constructing Your Vendor Contact Guide:

  • Event Planner (if you have one): Name | Business Name | Phone Number | Email

  • Main Contact for the Event: Full Name | Phone Number | Email

  • Secondary Contact: Full Name | Phone Number | Email

  • If this is a wedding, what are the full names of the happy couple?

  • Dessert Specialists: Name | Business Name | Phone Number | Email

  • Photographer: Name | Business Name | Phone Number | Email

  • Officiant: Name | Phone Number | Email

  • DJ/Band: Name | Business Name | Phone Number | Email

  • Any additional performers or musicians?

  • Videographer: Name | Business Name | Phone Number | Email

  • Florist: Name | Business Name | Phone Number | Email

  • Linen Company: Business Name | Phone Number | Email

  • Event Rentals: Business Name | Phone Number | Email

6 Weeks Before Your Event
6 weeks before your event, we will send you a questionnaire that will be due 5 weeks before your event.

The questionnaire will ask for details pertaining to:

  • Your bar package selections

  • Your wedding planner selection (if your event is a wedding)

  • Any additional rental hours

  • Confirmation of security and valet needs

  • If you are planning to have a slideshow on the big screen during your cocktail hour, please schedule an A/V test with us.

We will also ask to schedule your final walk-through. Which leads us to step #5!

Final walk-through

We typically schedule a final walk-through about three to four weeks before your event. This is an opportunity for you to discuss any questions or concerns with your vendors as you walk through The Cookery! Please bring your final timeline and vendor sheet (information from the 8 week email) to this walk-through. Results from your final walk-through will guide you in adjusting your rental orders. 

2 Weeks Before Your Event
2 weeks before your event, we will send you a questionnaire and a final payment invoice that will be due 1 week before your event.

Our questionnaire will ask you a myriad of details about your event to help us to know the scope of your event.

Your security deposit of $1500 and your final payment is due to The Cookery 7 days prior to your event.  Checks should be made payable to The Cookery, and mailed to 1101 W. Chapel Hill St., Durham, NC 27701. This deposit is refundable as long as there is no damage to The Cookery's property. Please review our Rules and Regulations for details about damages and your Security Deposit.

For your final payment, we adjust your invoice according to the final guest count covered in your questionnaire, and either deduct any overage from your security deposit or send any overpayment back with your security deposit. You should receive your deposit back by mail within 1-2 weeks after your event.

Most items on the invoice that are due on the date of your event are able to be determined beforehand. However, the labor included on both the caterer's contract and The Cookery's contract are estimates, so if the party runs late, or if the staff is out a little earlier than they thought, the actual labor may be slightly different.  


One hour of access for your wedding rehearsal is included in the price of renting The Cookery! 

FRIDAY WEDDINGS: If you have a Friday wedding, you may have access to The Cookery for rehearsal on Thursday afternoon at 4pm. Please contact us to schedule your time.

SATURDAY & SUNDAY WEDDINGS: If you have a Saturday or Sunday wedding, you may have access to The Cookery for rehearsal on Friday morning at 10am or 11am. Your time slot is appointed on a first come first serve basis.  Please contact us to schedule your time.

This window of time is perfect for you and your bridal party to practice your processional and recessional. Your fantastic day of coordinator/planner will lead this entire rehearsal for you! Please note that the rehearsal time will be determined based on our current event bookings for that day. 

The Event Day

You've made it - woo hoo!  All details are set, and now the big day is here! Your job is to enjoy your event! We will do everything in our power to make sure your event runs without a hitch. Our staff and catering staff will attend to your needs and ensure that you have a wonderful event.  

What to expect

You and your caterer have access to the facility 4 hours before the event.  Therefore, if your event begins at 6:30pm, our staff and the catering staff will arrive at The Cookery at 3pm to begin set-up.  If you have friends or family that are arriving before the event to set up table decor, please note that the catering staff will not have the tables, chairs, and linens out until about an hour after the start of set up.

**Please see the Additional Access & Policies section of this portal for further information about vendor drop off and pick up times.**

Banner Photo: Katherine Miles Jones