How do you choose the right venue for your event?
February 14, 2018
A venue can make or break an event – fact.
How many times have you been to a wedding when and realised lots of people are missing; half the guests at the bar in one room whilst the other half are busting their moves on the dance floor in the other room? Have you ever tried to find the toilets in a venue and they are either hard to find or about a miles walk away so you have to plan your trips strategically as not to miss anything?
We’ve all been there…so here are my top check list items to ensure that you choose a venue that is suitable for your event and guests.
Before you start looking at venues, work out your maximum budget. It’s easy to get swept away by the wow factor of a venue so set a limit before you start spending money you don’t have. Knowing your budget will enable you to rule out venues that are too pricey. No one wants to fall in love with somewhere and then be disappointed when the purse strings can’t stretch that far.
Whether you are looking for somewhere that is weather dependent or easy access for your guests, location is something you must take into consideration. Think about where your guests are coming from, are there multiple transport options for them or can you put on a travel service for them from a central meeting point? If you are looking for a weather dependent venue, always ensure there is a wet-weather or hot-weather solution just in case (marquees, fans, air con etc).
LOOK AND FEEL
What ‘vibe’ do you want to create at your event? Your venue is critical with aiding this. If you’re looking for elegant ballroom style venue for a black tie event, then I wouldn’t recommend booking a barn conversion venue for example. Yes, dressing a room and furniture can completely change a room but think about the entrance, the external façade – is it giving your guests the first impression you want them to have?
GUEST EXPERIENCE & VENUE LAYOUT
What rooms do you require for your event? Reception drinks area, gardens, ballroom, dining room, bar, conference suite etc. Think of the flow of the event, when guests first arrive right through to when they leave – what is their journey? Going through this process will allow to see if a venue has the right amount of rooms, enough capacity for the number of guests and the flow from moment to moment in your event. You will also gain knowledge of whether rooms need to change functions at all during your event (e.g. reception room to become a dance floor with a bar).
Big question – is your venue a dry hire? Dry hire means your venue hire is the space only, you will need to dress the room and bring in suppliers for everything including furniture, AV and often catering too. Therefore, make sure you check with a venue what is the basis of their hire cost. If the venue offers additional services such as staff, furniture hire, catering etc always check whether they organise this for you or do they just provide you with a preferred supplier list and you have to organise it yourself. The last thing to always check is additional charges such as corkage – these can often push budgets past your max limit.
SUPPLIER FACILITIES & ACCESS
If you’re bringing suppliers into the venue you will need to ensure they are able to easily access the venue – are there loading bays for vehicles, size of door frames for larger items, does the supplier require anything specific for their delivery and pick up, are there specific access times? These are just things you will need to consider. In addition, you’ll need to check the venue has the right facilities for your suppliers, this may cover power supply, kitchen access, trolleys and ramps. Ensuring both the venue and suppliers are clear on the set up and pack down will make your life a lot easier.
As mentioned earlier, simple things like having toilets close to the main room, signage to direct guests or having a bar in the same room as your main activity can really take your event from good to great. Do you need a registration area, a cloakroom, a crèche – try to think of being a guest at your own event, what would you need or want?
HEALTH AND SAFETY / LICENSING
The venue will be able to guide you on this but it’s important to check any health and safety measurements that need to be in place for your event and also if there are any licensing issues e.g. alcohol or amplified music.
If you take these top check list points into consideration when searching for your venue, I can guarantee you’ll choose the right one!
If you need assistance with your venue search, get in touch today...
Let’s create wonderful