CHOOSING AN EVENT LOCATION
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!
You know the saying. Choosing the right one is important to the success of any event. Whether it’s a wedding, a birthday party, or any other special occasion you’ll want to take the time to pick the best location possible. There are several steps to take when planning your activity. Read on to find out the questions to ask and get a few great ideas for selecting a stunning location.
What Type of Event are You Having?
This will help determine if you’ll want a formal setting or something more casual. Of course, a wedding could be either. It could be formal and held in a lavish reception hall or it could be in a more leisurely setting such as a beautiful backyard with a garden. These are the things you need to think about before choosing a place. Whether your celebration is an anniversary, wedding, birthday, or corporate activity, there are some general questions you’ll want to answer before deciding on the perfect place.
- How Many People are You Having? – Some people have only 20 or 30 guests, while others invite hundreds. This will have a major impact on the venue you choose and how entertainment and any activities will be set up. How many guests are invited will impact the seating and parking available. It will also affect how entertainment will be set up and the best food to serve.
- What is Your Catering Plan? – You’ll need to have some idea of what kind of food and beverages you want to have. Some food will need to stay heated while others will have to be refrigerated. Does the location you’re choosing have a kitchen? If food will be delivered, is there easy access?
- What is Your Budget? – It’s imperative to create a budget before even looking at different venues. Besides food and beverages, this is normally one of the biggest costs associated with any type of celebration. It’s important to balance the cost of the venue with decorating expenses. A more expensive venue that needs little decorating may actually be a better choice. Balloons, flowers, and other accessories can quickly add up in costs.
- Are There Extra Requirements or Needs? – Do you need audio or visual equipment? Is there going to be a convenient source of power if you choose a place that is outdoors? A child’s birthday celebration will likely have fewer special requirements than a large corporate gathering.
- Do You Need Insurance? Are There Other Legal Considerations? While this isn’t a fun aspect of choosing a venue, it is necessary. Are there any licenses or permits that are needed for any of the activities you have planned? For example, you’ll likely need a permit to have a wedding in a national park. Permits may also be required for certain types of equipment that may be needed. Finally, it’s sometimes recommended to have insurance. Some venues may require you to have a certain amount of liability insurance to use their facility.
Can the Location Provide What We Need?
Now that you have considered the specific needs as related to the type of event you are having, you’ll want to ask some detailed questions about the location options.
- How Experienced is the Staff? – The quality of the staff at any venue is extremely important. You’ll need to ask how much experience the staff has handling the type of activities you’re interested in hosting. How many people will be on hand to help during the gathering? Will it cost extra to provide additional help if you believe this will be necessary?
- What Amenities are Provided? – Are tables and chairs provided? Are linens provided? Can you bring in your own if you so desire? It’s also important to ask about set-up and clean up.
- What Types of Food is Offered? – The quality of food is always something people will remember. It’s imperative to check reviews regarding the type and quality of food you plan to serve. Some venues will require you to use their own food service. Other places may allow you a choice. And still others may not provide any food at all. They may require you to have everything brought in. How food will be fixed, brought in, and then served are some of the most important questions regarding the venue you choose.
- How Far Will Guests Have to Drive? – Location is important when choosing a venue. Is this a place that will be difficult to find? Will the time of year or weather conditions make a difference in how easy it is to arrive safely? If there are two locations, such as one for the ceremony and another for a reception, is the distance between both a reasonable amount for guests to drive?
- Is There Wi-Fi and Internet Access? – Some outdoor areas and places that are remote may not have adequate Wi-Fi or Internet access. Even if this isn’t actually necessary for all the activities and entertainment to run smoothly, will lack of access negatively impact any of the guests?
- What Are the Parking Options? – It’s important that there is adequate parking for the number of guests invited. Is the parking area well lit? Will guest have very far to walk after parking? This is an aspect that is too often overlooked during the planning phase.
- What is the Accessibility? – Will those with special needs easily be able to access the building or area? Does the building or area provide easy access restrooms?
What Are Some Unique Ideas?
While reception halls and restaurants can provide great venues, it’s sometimes more fun to think outside the box. Part of the fun in planning will be to personally visit the location before making a commitment. And be sure to ask to see pictures or videos of other similar festivities that were held there.
- Museums – Imagine a child’s birthday celebration being held at a natural history museum with a dinosaur exhibit in the background. Art, history, and children’s museums often rent spaces after hours for all types of gatherings and may even have a designated space that can be used during business hours.
- Parks – City parks provide gorgeous locations either outside or in pavilions. Even bigger national parks may provide special areas for weddings or parties.
- Botanical Gardens – Gorgeous gardens are great places for weddings or anniversaries. The best thing about these types of places is that decorating is usually minimal.
- Boats – Getting married or celebrating your next birthday on the water is a great option.
- Libraries – Most libraries have rooms and areas that can be rented and used for various types of occasions and will have equipment to show films or present a slideshow about the guest of honor.
- Stores – Antique stores and designer boutiques are elegant and unusual places to have celebrations.
- Nature – Getting married outside or on a beach isn’t a new idea, but people are increasingly becoming creative with their choice of outdoor locations. Whether it’s a wedding or any other type of celebration you could hold your activity on a bridge, in a cave, or even in an elaborate tree house.
- Zoo – Zoos make fun and unique locations for a variety of activities and gatherings.
There are many things that need to be considered when picking a great place for your festivities. However, by using these tips to get organized and start planning early, your event can be an amazing success!