Ten Tips on Choosing a Venue - From Eaton Event Hire
Choosing a venue is one of the most important aspects of organising an event. The venue influences people's opinions of an event. If it is a brilliant event and everything is perfect but the venue just isn't right, they will remember that. Whether that be because it is outdoors and it's raining, it's a hot day and has no AC or the style of the building doesn't suit the rest of the event. On the other hand, an event that isn't fully going to plan or things aren't exactly what the client wanted but the venue is perfect can still seem great and perfectly put together.
Here are ten tips to get the perfect venue;
You need to make sure that the venue you choose can hold all your guests. There are fire and safety codes that the venue has to abide by so it is better to overestimate than underestimate the number of guests coming. Guests want to feel comfortable and can move freely. a venue says they have a capacity of 300 people (you are likely to be paying per person, after all), you have to evaluate if that is 300 squished people not moving or if that gives room for people dancing around and rushing about. You also have to account for staff working the event, are they included in the venue's capacity?
The location of the venue can affect how many guests can attend. If the venue is too far away from most of the attendees or not easily accessible by public transport then fewer people are likely to come. On the other hand, an easily accessible venue or one that is in the centre of town will be expensive. Finding a trade-off that is both accessible and within budget can be hard, but it is possible with plenty of research. You might also want to consider is if guests will be consuming alcohol, as you might then not want the only access to be by car.
3. Service & Facilities
The venue needs services and facilities to accommodate your event. Ask yourself before looking at venues what will you need from the venue. Will you need access to a kitchen, do you want/need outdoor space and seating, do you want security, do you need alcohol or a wedding license and do they have any restrictions? Such as noise and photography. There are a few things that every venue should include so make sure to ask if their bathrooms that are accessible and easy to find if they have adequate tables, chairs, silverware etc, or whether you need to provide that.
Stick to your budget! A venue will be most of your budget so you have to make sure that you still have enough left for everything else. You also need to consider how much you are getting for the cost, if two venues are the same price but one provides staff, decorations and outdoor space then you are getting a lot more for the price. The cost of a venue can change depending on the date and time of the event. So if you are flexible with the dates you may be able to get a better deal on your venue. You will have to consider the likely weather and how well the venue would adapt to it.
5. Style & Ambiance
Even if the venue doesn't provide decorations, you still have to consider the ambience of the venue. For a small intimate wedding then you don't want a huge ballroom with high ceilings, if it's a child's birthday party then you may not want a bar. Choosing a venue that already has a similar style to what you want to create will save time and money on decorations.
The venue must abide by The Equality Act 2010. You want your venue to be accessible and welcoming for all guests. If a venue is not accessible when you view it, make sure to ask what they can provide to make it accessible for all guests. When viewing the venue make sure to think of all the possible requirements that your guests might need, For example; if there will be children/babies then check that there are changing tables in the bathrooms; if there will be elderly guests try to book a venue with minimal steps, etc. When making a seating plan, if one is needed, take into account people's special needs, such as if certain people need direct access to the bathrooms or need to have extra room for a wheelchair. If you don't know whether guests have specific requirements then it is always better to be safe than sorry and make the venue as accessible as possible.
If the venue offers catering and you choose to use it, make sure to read reviews and if possible taste some of the food yourself. Make sure that the food matches the style of your event- avoid a 3-course meal for an event where most people aren't staying the whole time or hot dogs/burgers for a black-tie event. It can make the event seem unprepared or leave guests hungry and dissatisfied. You also need to make sure that they can accommodate any specific dietary requirements, such as; vegan, vegetarian, halal, kosher, gluten-free etc.
However, if you are choosing to hire someone else to do catering, you need to ask the venue what you are allowed to bring to the premises. Are you allowed to bring alcohol, do you need to provide silverware and glasses, are you allowed to use the kitchen? Some venues that don't provide catering may already have an external company that they work with often and that know the rules of the venue. If you choose to use them then the same applies as using in house catering, make sure the food matches the event. This is always worth looking into before hiring your own company.
Different events need different layouts. Do you want mostly seating, mostly standing, space for walking or dining space? These all require different spaces in your venue. Some venues may be able to change their layout whereas others you won't be able to change. When searching for a venue it is important to ask if the layout is changeable, and if it is not then will the layout work with your event?
Some venues may have staff that can help on the day but others don't. Ask your venue if they provide staff and if so what will the staff do? Will they be waiters, security, or just someone to help the guests find their way around? If the venue provides staff, look at reviews and make sure that they are friendly and helpful, because no one wants to be looking for the bathroom and have a grumpy staff member just shrug and point in a random direction.
10. Wifi & Tech
Most people will want access to wifi at their event. Depending on the event, you may also need a projector or lighting. It is important to know what you may need and then ask the venue if they can provide or accommodate them.