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10 Important Things When Choosing Your Event Venue

May 17th, 2016

10 Important Things When Choosing Your Event Venue

When planning an event, you are faced with many decisions. However, choosing a venue is the one decision that will have one of the largest impacts on your event. Important planning information, such as the date for the event, is dependent on the venue you select. Understandably, making this decision can be a bit of a daunting task as it can be hard to know what to look for when selecting a venue.

Before you begin your search, there are a few things you’ll want to have a strong understanding of:

  • Budget
  • Number of guests
  • Type of event (wedding, special event, formal, casual, etc.)

Once you have an idea of these three things, you can begin your search for the perfect venue. Having the venue booked at least six months in advance will ensure that you have the date of your event set in stone. Having your date and venue confirmed will allow you to plan your event accordingly.

Finding the right venue for your event can take up quite a bit of your time. Thankfully The B-Side Entertainment Group is here to help you save time and money as well.

When you’re ready to search for the perfect venue, we consider the following 10 important factors:

1. Cost

As a cost-conscious planning team, we want to help you keep the venue cost down to allow more room in your budget for food, beverages and entertainment. Being flexible on the date can be a great negotiating tool, as certain days of the week tend to cost less.

2. Ambiance

We pay special attention to the existing decor inside any venue. What style is the architecture and what does the building’s interior convey? If you’re holding a gala, you’ll likely need different venue accommodations than you would for corporate seminar. The less the ambiance matches the desired feeling of your event (upscale, modern, etc.) the more decorating we’ll need to do to make up for it.

3. Services and Amenities

In addition to the appearance of the site, it is also important to take into consideration the services and amenities that the venue offers. We consider the following:

Does the venue have a kitchen and can it provide catering to your event? If so, often a venue will waive the facility fee and only charge a down payment along with the cost of food for each attendee. Many venues have an exclusive relationship with certain vendors, typically food vendors. This can be great if the venue has partnered with a fantastic vendor. If not, it can create a huge headache, and negatively impact the experience of your guests. If you can’t book a venue that serves food your guests will enjoy, it would be better to select a venue that allows you to bring in outside food vendors.

Does it have tables, chairs and linens you can use? If a venue has these items, you can save a great deal of money and effort by using what they have, assuming it matches your theme and ambiance.

Does it have a setup/clean up crew? If you’ve found a venue which provides a setup and clean up crew, rejoice! This isn’t always the case. If these services aren’t available we will build a special event team.

Does it have AV capabilities? Some venues have a built in audio-visual equipment for you to use, and others will require you to bring that in yourself. Thankfully, we have in our audio professionals that can manage any audio/visual for any type of event.

4. Location

A convenient location means different things for different events. For an event with guests within a limited geographic range, a venue within a reasonable distance from most guests' homes or places of work may make sense. However, if many guests will be traveling from out of town, hosting the event at a venue near the airport or their hotels will be beneficial. Better still, if guests are being housed at a single location, hosting the event at that hotel mitigates the need for valet parking and the chance that guests will be late due to getting lost.

5. Capacity and Minimums

What’s the capacity? If you’ve followed our advice, you already know how many guests to expect. You’ll need to know the room capacity of the venues for a few reasons. First, for general and practical reasons, 500 people can’t comfortably fit into a room with a 250-person capacity. And second, there are fire and safety codes that each venue has to abide by.

What are the F&B Minimums? If your venue offers food and/or beverages, find out what the food and beverage minimums, also known as F&B minimums, are and get this information in writing. We always want to make sure that your bases are covered in case attendance expectations are not met.

6. Parking

Does the venue have a parking lot or valet parking? A venue with a parking lot is what dreams are made of. If that’s not the case, are there parking lots nearby which guests can access and use?

7. Layout

Even though you’ll be finding your venue early in the event planning process, you’ll still want to have a rough idea of what types of activities you’ll be including, the amenities you’ll require, and the needs of your guests.

While narrowing down your selection, get an illustrated floor plan of each venue, and walk through your favorites at least once, making note of important things such as where the outlets are and where AV equipment is or can be located.

The layout and floor plan will greatly affect a few different aspects of your event:

Flow of traffic. Think about the flow of traffic through your event. The kind of flow you’ll want will be different for each event. What areas will be high traffic at the event? Near a cake display? Close to the sweetheart table? This is something that we keep in mind when choosing your venue, realizing that how you setup the tables and decor will greatly affect this as well.

Event activities. If you want to have live entertainment or guest speakers at your event, you’ll either need a stage, or a spot to place a rented stage. Will there be a bar?

8. Accessibility

Accessibility refers to the possibility that everyone, especially those with special needs, can access the building and its amenities. Before you can answer this question, you’ll need to understand who your guests are and what their needs are.

Often when our event planning team is touring a venue we always consider guests of all ages. Meaning – if your event is going to have a lot of children or babies, we check the restrooms for diaper changing stations. If you will have elderly guests in attendance, we consider finding venue options that is ADA compliant or has minimal stairs. We are also considerate of guests special needs as we help you create a seating chart.

You’ll probably know whether there will be children at your venue, but you may not know if there will be individuals with other special needs so that's something we will always consider.

9. Insurance

According to BizBash, some venues won’t even do business with vendors if they don’t have insurance. Typically you won't have this issue when booking with The B-Side Entertainment Group because our event professionals are all insured.

10. Acoustics

Have you ever attended an event at a venue that was so loud, it was hard to hear others, causing you to strain your hearing and lose your voice, all in one night? That’s caused by poor acoustics. Acoustics is just a fancy word for how sound travels through the venue. A low ceiling will make the venue seem cozy, but it will make it louder if it’s packed. Alternatively, a large warehouse-style venue will result in echoes, or what architects refer to as “reverberation”.

Although, acoustics aren’t the be-all and end-all of your event, there are things we can do to improve them such as making good use of patios outside the venue, which can be considered acoustical clouds or canopies.

As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when choosing your event’s venue. However, if you take the above into consideration when doing your research, you’ll find the perfect venue for your event or better yet...just call The B-Side Entertainment Group and we'll take care of it all for you.