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Where the Party At?: Choosing Your Event Venue (Show Notes: Season 2, Episode 2)

This week, we’re delving into everything you need to know in your venue selection process. Your venue is the location your event is held and there are a number of aspects for you to take into consideration.

Location, Budget, Capacity and Layout, Services & Amenities, and Ambiance are all factors that may have a play in your decision-making process. But first, you’ll need to narrow things down in the first step by identifying the type of venue you might want to book. The type of venue you target is extremely important. The most common categories include:

  • A free-standing, indoor venue (which comes in all shapes, sizes, and styles) - this could be anything from a convention center to a restaurant, a catering hall to a hotel ballroom.

  • An open-air, outdoor venue (perhaps with the option for tenting) - this might be a park, lawn, beach, or a location with beautiful grounds that are offered up for events.

  • A private venue like your home or backyard

From those three categories, there are a couple of subcategories.

  • All-inclusive venues; this means that the venue may have its own kitchen, catering, staff, furniture, recommended or preferred vendors, and other resources that it includes in the cost of renting the venue.

  • Space-only venues; this means that when you rent the location - all you are getting is the space or area outlined in your contract. It is then up to you to source and coordinate everything from kitchen equipment to catering, setup/cleanup crews to furniture.

The next steps to selecting a venue that is a good fit for your event, are as follows:

  • Brainstorm the type of venue that may be the best fit for your event, consider all possible event needs and make a list of your must-haves.

  • Don’t forget to research styles of venues as well and target locations that help convey the overall vibe of your event such as rustic, modern, or industrial, etc.

  • After determining the type and style of venue that you are looking for, identify a general location and start your research. Pick your desired target area and include that in your search.

  • Create a list of questions to ask when you interview your potential venues. Some questions you may wish to ask about might be:

  • Do you have a Food & Beverage Minimum or Minimum Required Guest Count?

  • What is included with the rental of the venue (i.e. furniture? Staff? cleanup?)

  • Does the rental apply for a prescribed amount of time? Are there curfews or other restrictions regarding timing?

  • Does the venue have a preferred vendor list and is it just recommended or required that those vendors are utilized?

  • If it is an outdoor venue - what is the inclement weather contingency plan?

  • Narrow your list down to your top 3 venues and schedule site visits at each of them.

After visiting each of your top 3 venues identified during your research phase, take a high-level look at the information you’ve gathered and determine which is the best fit for your event. As I’ve said many times, budget is extremely important - so ensure that whatever you have allotted for your venue budget matches up with the costs associated with the location you settle upon. A part of venue selection can definitely be left up to feeling. What feels right when you are in the space and thinking about your event? Sometimes, you walk into a venue and you just know by some 6th sense that it is the right place for you. When this happens, trust it!! But do make sure that it hits the marks of your event needs list (at least a little bit).

Continue the conversation and ask your questions by joining the How To Event Facebook Group.

Or you can keep up with us on Instagram by following @HowToEvent.

Season 2, Episode 3 will debut on August 6th, 2020! This season we are focusing on Event Basics and each week I will review a new foundational event topic to help you get started with your planning process.

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