Jan 30, 2020

How to Choose the Perfect Event Venue

By Joyce Venezia Suss

Even if you love hosting guests at your home, at some point you may need to plan a larger event that requires a banquet hall, conference room or a special ambiance. Perhaps you are celebrating your child’s Sweet 16 or wedding, organizing a large family reunion, or arranging a large corporate meeting for your employer.

Start by selecting possible dates and times, and then consider the following:


Plan Your Budget

Money is typically the deciding factor on the type of venue you select, but you don’t have to break the bank to have a wonderful event. If you can afford the five-star mansion, go for it. But if you can’t, think outside the box and search for a unique venue that will leave guests with fond memories. Rent an entire summer camp at the end of the season for a fun, casual, all-weekend wedding. Hold your company’s annual holiday party at a local brewery where guests can dress casually.


Location, Location, Location

Selecting a location closest to the majority of your guests makes the most sense, not only for convenience but also cost. Destination events such as weddings, bachelor parties or company meetings will most likely result in smaller attendance, especially if it requires an overnight stay.

Also, take a close look at the neighborhood where the venue is located. The facility may be beautiful on the outside, but is it located in an industrial park or a blighted neighborhood?


Check the Space Details

Even if a venue looks amazing on its website, be sure it can comfortably accommodate all your guests and your needs. Will your event take place in one room or multiple adjoining rooms? Are there enough restrooms? If it’s a family event, is there a changing table for babies and a safe area for children to play? Does the venue offer audio/visual technology and assistance if needed for special presentations? Is there a designated area for smokers? Is the venue insured, and is security available if necessary?

Parking and transportation is one of the most important details. Can the parking lot or valet service accommodate all guests’ vehicles? For those who don’t drive, is there easy access to public transportation?


Number of Events

Many catering venues have multiple banquet rooms and can host several events at one time. If you are arranging a corporate meeting, be aware that a live band may be rocking in the room next door.


Ensure Adequate Staff

Check with the venue manager to find out the ratio of servers to guests. Formal sit-down affairs require more wait staff, but even a casual buffet needs staff to refill serving dishes and clear away dirty dishes.

If a venue does not have specialists who can handle certain details like alcoholic beverages, musical entertainment, photographers, decorations or a special cake, are you permitted to hire outside vendors? Some venues require you to use their exclusive vendors for these services.


Wish for Sun, Plan for Rain

Even if you hope for a gorgeous warm day to host an outdoor occasion, make sure there is a backup plan in case of inclement weather. That includes rain, snow and extreme heat. Most banquet halls with outdoor patios will typically save an indoor space that can be quickly converted into your “Plan B” venue. Also ask the venue manager how they handle unexpected weather emergencies such as blizzards or severe storms that may force a cancellation.


Accommodate All Guests

Does the venue have handicapped access, including ramps and elevators? Even if none of your guests are in a wheelchair, some elderly guests may struggle with stairs or hills leading to the venue. If you want to rent a campsite or private beach for a family reunion, will all guests be able to safely maneuver around tree roots, sandy soil and/or rocky ground?


Prioritize Your Wants

Consider what’s most important to you and your guests. Is high-quality cuisine or top-shelf liquor a priority? Are you looking for memorable décor and ambiance?


Check for Customer Satisfaction

Does the event venue have a good reputation? Ask friends, check online reviews, and try to visit during an actual event to see the management in action. Ask if you can sample the cuisine.