There are many things to keep in mind when you are selecting a venue for your event. Here are a few of the most important features to focus on.
When choosing the perfect venue for your next event, the first thing you must do is decide on the size of the room or venue that you will need for your event. Don’t forget to consider such things as guest tables (round tables take up more room but are really much nicer), food stations (buffets, bars, coffee, desserts), activities (casino gambling stations, carnival games, inflatables, video games), entertainment (live band, dance floor, roving magician, actors). Don’t forget about site lines. There is nothing worse than setting up your floor plan only to realize that 1/3 of the guests cannot see the stage because of large pillars in the room.
The second decision you must make is location ~ where should you hold the event? I always suggest you take a poll of the guests and decide from which area of the city your guests are coming from. If you office is downtown, but most of the guests live in the valley, it would make sense to host the event in the valley. Hosting the event close to where the guests live usually means that more people will attend.
Find out if the venue has free parking for your guests or at least a reduced rate. We have found that hosting the event close to public transportation is a good idea if possible, especially for those indulging just a bit too much!
If a venue is part of or near to a hotel, it is a good idea to ask for corporate rate and block off some rooms. With the drinking and driving rules tougher than ever now, it’s advisable to pay for a room and not have to worry about drinking and driving.
The date depends on the nature of the event. If you are hosting a business event, it should be held on an afternoon on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday with Thursday being the most popular day to attend business functions. If the event is purely of a social nature, the most popular time is evening on a Saturday, with Friday a close second.
Okay, so now you’ve determined the size of venue you require, where you would like to hold it and on what date, but what do you do next? Plan a rough budget. So many times the venue seems PERFECT but you soon realize you can’t afford the room rental, food and beverage charges, furniture rentals or all of the extra fees such as audio visual, linen rentals, etc. Prepare your budget before you fall in love with a venue, not after. Stretching your budget to fit the venue is not a good idea.
We’ve come up with some amazing themes, but realize that they can’t be pulled off in the venue we have booked. It’s always important to make sure that the venue you select supports your theme. Once we planned an elaborate circus theme for a client, only to find out that the venue wouldn’t allow wild animals on its premises. Therefore we couldn’t bring our lions and eagles as part of the evening highlights. Ask the venue about any restrictions – such as ample set up time, hanging things from the walls and ceilings, open flame policy, fire ban (what!? No fire spinners or indoor fireworks allowed!). Most venues nowadays have a “package” that they will give you which outlines most of their restrictions. To see some of our award winning themes, visit our portfolio.
Once you have found the perfect venue, make sure you put down a deposit and sign a contract. I have heard horror stories from others who have waited while they tried to decide between a few venues, only to discover that the venue they really wanted has already been rented.
Find out up front from the venue just exactly what your costs will be. Several times I have received an invoice from a venue after the event only to discover that I had to pay extra for coat check attendants, venue cleaning after the event, additional security that I didn’t know I needed, etc.
And lastly, find out just what is included in your room rental. Oh yes the venue has tables and chairs in the room, but there is a cost to use them. Maybe the venue has more colored linen in the back or even chair covers you could borrow or rent cheaply. Some venues have really nice centerpieces or vases that you can use if you rent their room. Remember, the venue is there to work with you because they too want the event to be successful, so that you will return next year when it’s time to plan your event.
Ask An Event Expert!
How long in advance of my event date should I book my venue?
It really depends on the type of event. Christmas events and annual summer events can usually be booked 11 months in advance. The ideal time to book your venue is 6 months before your event so that you have ample planning time.
How do I estimate the size of venue needed for my event?
The first place to start is with the venue. They host hundreds of parties and have a pretty good idea of what size of room is needed for your guests. If you are bringing in entertainment or activities, it is best to draw a rough floor plan placing all of the items you are including. Show your floor plan to your venue and see if they think all of the components will be accommodated with the room size.
What is the biggest mistake when choosing a venue?
Underestimating how much space everything will take up. There is nothing worse then an overcrowded room once you place all of the activities and entertainment.
For best results, call Bright Ideas Events at 604.303.7707 or contact us here. We are aware of some hidden gems around the city and will be happy to share them with you.
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