A lot of decision-making goes into event planning, and the choice of venue for an event is probably the biggest decision of all. There are a lot of factors to take into consideration when choosing a venue, so save yourself the stress of poorly chosen location and ask yourself the following questions before you seal the deal:
1. Cost: Will I get my value for money if I book this place? Make a budget beforehand and do your best to stick to it. Do a lot of research and canvas for different venues. Don’t choose the cheapest one to be done with it; take the time to evaluate different venues against one another and choose the one that maximizes your budget. Don’t just go for the mainstream or obvious choice right away, either. Patience pays off because you might be able to find good deals with some locations that are lesser-known but just as lovely.
2. Date: When am I going to hold my event? Check the rates of your venues on specific dates. You’ll find that some days of the week might cheaper than others. Events held during peak seasons are definitely going to be more expensive, so being flexible about dates will help you find a better deal. Watch out for special, one-time events that might conflict with your event; you wouldn’t want your meticulously planned party to coincide with something like the APEC or a papal visit! Don’t have your heart too set on one particular date; rather, have different options at the ready so you can time your event well.
3. Location: Will my guests be able to reach the venue easily? Consider where your guests are coming from and what mode of transportation they’ll be utilizing to get there. A conveniently located venue will definitely less stressful on your guests, since they won’t have a hard time finding it, and you, since you won’t have to field several ‘I’m lost! How do I get there?” messages. Be prepared to provide a map or a sketch with your event’s invitation. If your chosen venue does not have any known landmarks near it, add directional signs on telephone posts leading to your venue. Ask your venue for assistance in this matter.
4. Ambiance: Does the venue contribute to my event’s theme or mood? Pay attention to the venue’s architecture and interior design. What kind of ambiance does it convey? Different events require different moods, so one venue might do nicely for a wedding but not so much for a trade fair. Try to find a venue that matches the desired look and feel you want for your event; otherwise, you’ll end up splurging more on decorations.
5. Capacity: How many people am I going to invite? How many people are you inviting? Keep this in mind while looking at different venues. You’ll need everyone on that list to fit comfortably in the venue you choose. If the venue you want is too small, you’ll either need to trim your guest list or find a larger location.
6. Weather: Will it be hot or rainy during my event? Take the weather into consideration when planning your event and choose your venue accordingly. There are many different websites and online resources that can provide you with reliable forecasts so you can plan ahead. Why risk an outdoor event if you want to hold it in September, right smack dab in the middle of our country’s rainy season? Either transfer your event to an indoor location or reschedule it for a better chance of clear night skies.
7. Services and Amenities: What features does this venue have and how can I make use of which for my event? Does the venue have tables, chairs, and linens that you can use? Do they have an audio-visual system available? Do they have a kitchen that can provide you with catering? Ask what you can avail on-site. Assuming that whatever they have fits your event’s theme, availing of services within the venue saves a lot of time, effort, and money.
8. Tie-Up Suppliers: Does the venue have any preferred event suppliers or will I be able to use my own? Some venues have existing partnerships and tie-ups with event suppliers that call for their exclusive use for any events held in the venue. See if you like any of their event suppliers; if you don’t, you may have to pay additional fees in order to circumvent the exclusivity.
9. Parking: Does the venue have its own parking facilities? Ask if your venue has its own parking lot or a valet parking service. If the venue does not have its own parking, see if there are any accessible parking lots or buildings nearby and reserve slots for your guests in advance. You can also ask your venue for assistance in the parking lot booking process.
10. House Rules: Will I be able to get a refund if I have to cancel my event? Things happen and they’re not always good. In the event that you have to cancel your event, will the venue be able to refund your payment? Check your venue’s cancellation policies. Some venues will grant you a full refund if you cancel early enough, since they’ll still be able to rent out the space; the closer to your reservation you cancel, the harder it will be to get your money back in full.
Don’t forget to get all arrangements made with the venue in writing. Make sure that you have a contract with your venue and that this contract includes a comprehensive list of everything that you’ve discussed. Read the fine print and don’t hesitate to ask additional questions. Good luck and happy venue hunting!
Written by: Trisha D.