Learn From the Pros: Choosing a Venue for Your Event

By: Rubel Zaman


Finding a space to hire for your party or corporate event can bring on some anxious moments. Event planners do this for a living, so to make things easier, here are the steps the ones who do this for a living use. Follow this path and the process will be stress-free and actually enjoyable.

Step One: Requirements List
Get a notebook and start writing down any and all things you think you'll need or want for your party or gathering. From number of guests, to space requirements, to food ideas, to entertainment, write it down. Once complete, prioritize the list. Any approach will do add stars or underline key requirements but make sure you know what items you consider absolutely necessary. This list is key when evaluating location options.

Step Two: Evaluate Venue Options
Whether online or looking in the phone directory, start scouting locations. Make a list of potential venues and either email or call, being sure to layout your requirements. Some spaces, like conference centers and hotels can accommodate just about every logistical need, but may not fit with the tone or mood you're trying to set. This is where your priorities list is important. From the information you receive, draw up a short list of potential sites.

Step Three: Onsite Visit
It is imperative you visit the site personally. It is also a good idea to bring along a friend, relative or colleague (as appropriate) to act as another set of eyes and ears. Be sure to visit when you can meet with the personnel responsible for the space. You should be in evaluation mode from the moment you make your way to the venue. Is it easy to find? How is parking or access to public transportation? Is the area safe? How does the actual venue look?

During your tour and discussion, be sure to have your notebook with you to make sure the space can accommodate your needs. Inquire if the venue has hosted similar events in the past and ask for a description of how things were laid out.

Step Four: Estimate and Budget
Depending on the type of venue, discuss what capabilities the site has. Some unique sites like museums or lofts have great space, but sometimes all amenities and supplies need to be coordinated and brought in. Others do it all which can make things much easier and can result in better package deal pricing. Ask for the estimate in writing and be sure it includes specific services. And don't be coy about letting them know your budget. While most venues do have set pricing, there is often leeway available.

Step Five: Book and Confirm
Once you've decided on the location, book the date and get a written confirmation. At this point it is better to over communicate a bit, so even after you receive something in writing, call or email to double check it is in the calendar. Also set a reminder to call the venue a week or so before your event to confirm that things are on track.

Step Six: Final Touches
At this point you can move on to any other items on the list. If you decide to add an activity or change the layout, be sure to fully communicate this with the venue to be sure they can accommodate things. This will avoid any last minute surprises the week before or day of the event.

Of course the final step is to enjoy the event and the results of your hard work and effort.

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Life's Kitchen is specialist caterers who also exclusively offer Livery Hall hire as some of London's finest venues.

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