Finding the Perfect Event Venue
A lot goes into planning a successful event – timing, catering, entertainment, guest list, budgeting, and so forth. But, it’s the venue that’s often the most pivotal facet of the event.
By pivotal, we mean that a venue is most often the center piece of the event on multiple fronts. All the other facets have to fit into, often literally, your venue, making it one of the most time consuming and important elements of an event to get right.
That’s not to say that it has to be this daunting, dreaded task. Make it fun. Make it a challenge.
Most importantly be organized and keep all your goals in mind as you sift through your public or private venues to ensure you find the perfect space to fit all the details of your event.
Here are six must-know tips in finding the perfect venue for your event:
1. Know The Purpose Of Your Event.
Regardless of capacity and aesthetics, not all venues work for all types of events. Keep the theme, function, and and overall purpose of the event in mind as you narrow down your venue options.
For example, if your event honors U.S. Veterans, the venue should be handicapped accessible and not have limited seating, far parking, or long walking distances.
2. Know Your Potential Guest List.
Granted, it’s difficult to ask for an RSVP before you have the event venue. Still, your expected guest list number will in large part dictate the size, or capacity, of the venue you need. Knowing what size venue you must at least have will greatly narrow your field.
You can always go bigger, but having a venue that will not hold all your guests means turning away invited guests at the door.
Also keep in mind the types of guests you’ll be inviting – professional peers, personal and family, targeted groups, or potential business associates/investors/clients.
This info will help you further narrow down the style, atmosphere, technology capabilities, and overall setting of your potential venues to those best suited to accommodate your audience.
3. Know Your Event Dates
First, you need to pick an ideal date for the event so that you can determine if your ideal venues are open during that time.
Second, you need to know if that date is flexible should your chosen venue already be taken for that date.
If flexible, it’s best to have several ideal dates in mind as you initially contact venues to increase your chances of an opening.
If not flexible, then move on to other venues when one is booked. It’s fine to put your name down for a cancellation, but don’t hang all your hopes on it.
4. Know Your Budget.
If you’re like most people, you don’t have an open-ended budget for your event, meaning you’ll have to first crunch some numbers before setting out on a venue quest.
Usually being one of the first selections for an event, a lot of people mistakenly overspend on their venue and are left little to account for the remaining obligations. Avoid this by making an overall budget beforehand, including a dedicated amount to each facet of the event.
Knowing a precise top-end figure, or even just a range, will help you greatly narrow down your venue choices.
5. Know How The Venue Translates From Bullet Points and Pictures To Real Life.
Plain and simple – scope out the venues in person. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but actually looking at something can save you thousands of dollars in selecting a venue where the picture perfect doesn’t translate into real life perfect for your event.
Do some online research, too. Look at customer reviews. Check out what local party planners have to say about the venue. Social media is a great resource; type in the venue’s name to get Instagram and Facebook pictures from other real life wedding, corporate, and fundraiser events; guest comments; and so forth.
Never sign a contract until you’ve scheduled a visit, inspected, and checked off each must-have from your own list.
6. Know What The Venue Offers.
You’ll need to consider the various restrictions and service offerings a venue has in relation to your event. Do you need an open alcohol policy or in-house wait staff? Does the venue have a dress code not congruent with your event? Does the venue have a stipulation that you must use one of their preferred vendors? Parking?
You don’t want to sign a contract only to discover such restrictions and limitations on the back-end, leaving you to either lose your investment or replan your event.