by: Better Business Bureau
Whether you are planning a wedding, corporate event or party, the venue you choose plays a major role in the success of your event. Event venues often compromise a large portion of your party budget; it is therefore important to choose a space wisely. To find a venue that will delight your guests, the Better Business Bureau recommends the following tips.
- Set your location first. The location of your event will affect all the other details of your party. Start by choosing a general location that is easy for your guests to access. If people are coming from out of town to attend your event, make sure there are suitable accommodation and transportation options nearby. If this aspect of your event is flexible, choosing a venue in a small town or rural setting may be more profitable than a place in a big city. Finally, if the event you are planning is a wedding, consider whether you want the ceremony and reception to take place in the same location. Otherwise, you will have to choose two separate locations.
- Being flexible on the date can save you money. If the schedule is flexible, you may be able to choose a low demand season or day to save money, especially if your event is a wedding. Keep in mind that summer is peak wedding season and weekends and evenings book up faster than weekdays, mornings and afternoons. Venues may have opening dates on their calendars that they want to fill, so if you can provide some date options, you may be able to get discounted prices when negotiating with the venue.
- Count the guests. Make a list early on and make a good estimate of how many people will attend your event. The National Press Club recommends choosing a location where your target attendance will be just below the capacity limit, but never higher. If the space is too small, customers will feel cramped and there could be capacity issues. If the space is too big, your event will seem uncrowded and empty. Additionally, knowing how many people will attend your event will help you budget for the event.
- Set your budget. Think about how much you can spend on event space, and keep in mind that services and amenities, like catering, are usually separate expenses. Determining your budget will help you narrow down your venue options.
- Think about the style of the event. If you’re aiming for an ultra-glamorous or highly professional event, a rustic country barn might not be your best bet. Think about the mood and aesthetic that best suits your event, as this will set the tone of the event for your guests.
- Start an online search. With many of the big decisions made, you can now start researching venues in your area that can host your event. as you do, make a short list places you want to know more about. Don’t forget to research places that have been recommended to you by friends or family members.
- Research the business reputation of the location. consumer reports recommends getting at least three references for any place you are interested in and researching them on org. Also, it’s always a good idea to do an internet search with the name of the place followed by “reviews” and “complaints”. Don’t just rely on the reviews you read on the venue’s website. Look for reviews on third-party websites instead.
- Visit potential sites. Nothing replaces visiting a place in person. See the place with your own eyes to make sure the photos you’ve seen on the internet aren’t exaggerated or misleading.
- Search for services and amenities. Some event locations are all inclusive with chair and table hire, catering and audio-video equipment, while others are more of a blank slate. Find out what is included in the rental price and what you will need to bring yourself. Also, make sure that basic amenities, such as bathrooms and parking, are available for your guests.
- Think about customer service. Pay attention to how customer service is handled. You’ll want to work with a venue where you’ll feel comfortable and cared for, especially if the venue staff will be handling catering or other services and interacting with your guests.
- Read contracts, including the fine print. Before signing the dotted line, read the contract carefully. Pay close attention to cancellation policies, deposit returns, dates and times, cleaning rules, and any other important details. Never do business with an event venue that doesn’t have a contract to sign.
- Make your deposit with a credit card. It is always best workout to make payments with your credit card. If you have any issues with the venue later, the charges will be easier to dispute.
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