Step by Step Guide to Hiring a Venue for Your Event or Party

By: Rubel Zaman

Using a venue to host your celebration party or corporate gathering can make the event even more memorable. But choosing a location can be a lot of work if you don't know how to go about the process. Here's a step-by-step guide to make things easier and help ensure you choose the right setting.

Find someone to help. Depending on the situation, this can be a colleague, friend or family member. This will give you someone to bounce ideas off of and help you evaluate options.

Develop a list of requirements. Get a pad or notebook and start jotting down ideas. At this point get down any and all ideas or special requirements. This will become your guide as you move through the process and ensure you don't forget any important details.

Prioritize your list. Review your ideas and prioritize. While finding the absoluteperfect venue is possible, you'll likely have to make some compromises. Prioritizing things ensures you don't lose sight of anything of critical importance.

Develop a short list of venue options. Most venues and party locations can be found online or through the phone directory. Online has the advantage of being able to see if the site matches your requirements before having to contact the locale. In either case, keep your requirement list handy as you evaluate options.

Schedule an in-person visit. From your short list, determine which sites you'd like to visit. This is where your helpmate is invaluable as an extra set of eyes. Schedule your visit when you can also speak with a representative. From the moment you start your journey to the venue, keep notes on location, ease of access, area safety and overall look and feel of the location. These are important details to review before making the final choice.

Get a written estimate. After your visits, you may find one or more suitable locales. In either case, be sure to get a full written estimate. This should be complete with all options and services. If something is missing or unclear be sure to follow-up. If something isn't in the estimate (or contract) don't assume it will be included. Don't be afraid to negotiate if the cost is beyond your budget. Most venues do have some leeway in pricing. Also inquire about deposit and cancellation costs.

Book the venue and confirm. Once you've decided, don't wait to book a date. Be sure to get a written confirmation, and even then, it is worth a follow-up call or email to double check. Also, make a note to re-confirm about a week out from the date just to check that things are all okay. Unfortunately things can happen (going out of business, fire or flood, double booked) that could lead to a last minute change. Better to know this earlier rather than the day of the event.

Review the rest of your list. Start working on finalizing any other items like coordinating entertainment or outside equipment that needs to be brought in. If you add something significant, be sure to check back with the venue to make sure they can accommodate. Again, you don't want any surprises the day of the party or event.

The rest is easy. Enjoy the event.

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