By Troy Bailey, Catering Coordinator
Choosing the perfect venue for your social event can seem like a daunting task. While considering all the factors it takes to build an event from start to finish, it does not have to be as challenging as one might believe.
Here are a few key points to consider as a client before signing your name on the dotted line:
BUDGET – set a limit and stick with it! Did I take you by surprise? In all seriousness, money does not technically grow on a tree, so if you have a dollar amount in mind – choose it and be realistic. Regardless of the dollar amount allotted for the desired event, for your peace of mind and all the participating vendors, it’s best to know what you can and cannot do from the beginning. This awareness will help add order to your event planning. You will know and understand your limits from the start, ultimately guiding your vision. However, this does not have to limit it.
Once your price is set, starting with your guest count is one of the most critical factors in hosting an event. Starting out with a solid overall guest count can ensure that the selected venue is not either too large or too small. Too large of a venue space could result in an “empty and incomplete” feeling, while an event space that is too small or does not have much “growing room” could make a guest feel uneasy and crowded – especially in lieu of a global pandemic.
A close, second-first would have to be the event locations. Considering things such as traveling distance for attending guests, average weather conditions, hotel accommodations, and even the parking are points that could change your event from a grand success to an immediate headache for attendees. Guests should arrive happy and without much to figure out on their own. Attending an event and possibly partying could be enough for a person – coming to the event should not be a marathon. Also, booking in an area that offers a variety of group booking rates is vital – this is an immediate money saver!
Another important thing to consider when selecting your location is whether you want an indoor event or an outdoor event. There are benefits to either option. One of the biggest benefits to selecting an outdoor location is the photography. Beaches, rivers, mountains, or any other beautiful natural landscape make for stunning photos for your event.
The biggest benefit of an indoor location is that you do not have to worry quite as much about the weather. Typically these events are rain or shine and you do not have to consider a back-up rain plan.
At this point, I think it is safe to say that we should be able to pick and choose between a shorter list of meeting venues. Is the catering done – on-site or offsite? Can the venue adequately accommodate guests with special needs, as well as service animals too? How is parking – will it be a hassle? Valet or self-parking? Other points would be audio and technical outlets such as power sources for things like grand up lighting and disc jockeys sets. Numerous bathrooms are a plus in avoiding lines of “awkwardly dancing” attendees. Also, count the cost of fees, including instances of using your own vendors and added amenities.
You also want to consider the type of event you are planning and make sure your social event venue matches. Once location may be perfect as a family reunion venue, but not work very well as a wedding venue.
In closing, this list is going to be the basis of what might make or break your intended social event venue selection. Take time to write down or create collages of your vision – that is for you. Then take time to consider all of the beautiful family members, friends, associates and those alike you plan to celebrate with. Imagine your event from their eyes. Gatherings are about coming together for an intended purpose, celebrating that purpose, and leaving with an impression that should never be forgotten. This could be good or bad…now how will YOU handle your next event?
Much success to you!