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How to choose the perfect venue for your next party + free printable checklist

Photo by Olive Photography

Picking the perfect venue for your special occasion can definitely be a challenge. There are so many possibilities from blank spaces to spaces with elaborate decor and details. Choosing a venue where the event will flow well, work with your theme and appeal to your guests is such an important start to producing a successful event. In today’s post we look at the key questions to ask when on venue site visits and have included a free printable checklist that you can download below and take with you to ensure you ask all the right questions.

First things first – make sure you know some key details about your event before you start researching the perfect venue. These details include how many people will be invited, your preferred date and what theme or vibe you would like for the event. You want the venue to work in your favour and add to your event’s ambiance. For example, you wouldn’t choose to have your event in a barn if you were planning a Great Gatsby themed event. Once you have a list of possible venues, make appointments to visit them. Don’t forget to bring your checklist and a camera with you to every appointment.

1. Pay attention to how the staff treats you. Did you check in with someone at reception? How friendly were they before finding out you were a potential customer? Did they show you the venue in a rush you or take the time to answer all your questions? The way the staff treats you at the site visit can provide insight into how easy it will be to work with them on the event.

2. What’s included – Make sure to find out exactly what is included with the rental cost. Is staffing included such as servers, bartenders, security and cleaning staff? How about all the furniture you need? Cutlery and plates? Do they have glassware for the different types of drinks you would like to offer? If the rental includes linens, make sure to ask what colour and how large they are.

3. Lighting & Sound – Site visits are usually done in the day so asking about the lighting is often forgotten. Do the lights dim to create different types of ambiance? Is lighting and sound included in the venue rental cost and is an AV technician provided or does this need to be outsourced?

4. Timing – What time would you have access to the venue? Some venues do not give you access to the space until it has closed for the day to the public which could be too late for your event start time. If you will be loading in a lot of event decor and equipment, check if there are elevators or a designated loading zone. What time do you have the venue until? Does all event decor and equipment have to be removed that night or can some items/rentals be picked up in the morning?

5. Alcohol – Does the venue supply the alcohol and bartenders or do you need to get a permit and purchase your own alcohol? If it is supplied by the venue do you have options for open bar packages or is all alcohol charged based on consumption? Some venues do not allow certain types of alcohol to be served so be sure to ask if there are any restrictions.

6. Catering – If the venue does not have an in house caterer, ask if there are any restrictions on what caterer you choose. Some venues have an exclusive list of caterers you can book, or will tack on additional fees if you don’t choose one from their preferred list. Ask where the caterer will set up and if there is a full kitchen. Sometimes caterers will need to rent kitchen equipment when working in older venues that are not equipped with one. Also find out if any external food is allowed to be brought in such as a cake, popcorn machine or homemade desserts.

Photo by Olive Photography

7. Additional fees – Be sure to ask about hidden costs. Sometimes venues charge you for having to move large furniture items or for having less guests in attendance than you originally estimated. Make sure you receive a quote with a breakdown of all these fees.

8. Entertainment – Are there any restrictions to the type of entertainment you can bring in? DJ, live band, comedian, dance troupe, photo booths? Is there a green room or area where the entertainers can get ready, change and leave their personal belongings? Make note of the outlets so you can take this into consideration when designing your floor plan. Ask if there are any noise restrictions or noise time limits associated with the event rental (particularly if there is outdoor space).

9. Bathrooms – Find out where the bathrooms are and check them out. You can often tell how well kept a venue is by looking at how clean the bathrooms are. Also see if they are accessible without taking the stairs and are close to where your event will be taking place.

10. Decor – Are there specific decor elements that are not allowed in the venue? Some venues do not allow latex balloons, confetti, taping items to their walls or hanging items from the ceiling. Be sure to ask these questions before designing an elaborate decor piece.

11. PICTURES – Make sure you take pictures of each venue you visit. You may think that you will remember what each venue looks like but once you have visited a few, many of the details will get mixed around in your head.

Receive your free venue site visit checklist to your email by signing up to our monthly newsletter below. It will make you remember everything you need to ask and help you choose the perfect venue for your next event. When you hire All Wrapped Up Events to plan your corporate function or celebration, we take care of these venue site visits and help you choose the venue that will work best for your event.

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