Finding the Right Event Venue
What you need to know
The number one job any event planner must accomplish is selecting the venue of the event – it’s the single aspect that determines almost everything else that follows.
Choosing a venue is not a simple task because a poorly chosen venue creates problems that will be very difficult to fix once the venue has been chosen. Each event hosts a unique group of people who have different needs in terms of space, atmosphere and equipment and many other factors, all of which play a vital role in the events’ success.
Here are some of the essential aspects you need to take into account before making a decision about the venues you should pursue.
Size matters when choosing a venue, but bigger is not always better. Obviously, you have to make sure that the venue comfortably fits all the guests, but at the same time it’s important to make sure the venue isn’t too enormous – it can make the event seem empty and cause problems with the spacing.
Ideally, look for a venue that has some room in case of additional guests, but not so much that it would seem out of proportion with the number of people attending. Bigger venues usually cost more and when they are too big, can actually do harm to the décor and atmosphere of the event.
Style and Atmosphere
Another crucial factor to an events’ success is the mood that the venue sets – different events require different settings, so take into account the type of event you are planning.
For instance, if you are organizing a wedding, a more traditional venue such as a hotel, a garden or a ballroom are probably more suited, unless an unusual venue is requested by the client. Alternatively, for a big party, a special venue like a warehouse with a unique atmosphere might be just what’s needed.
Of course, in the end it all comes down to individual preferences.
Additionally, don’t forget the importance of décor and the seating/table arrangements which can make or break any venue. The right composition can really open up the space and serve to keep the event flowing more naturally.
Whatever the event you’re organizing may be, make a list of everything you will need for it – any audio or visual equipment, other tools, or even common things like chairs, tables, tablecloths and dishes.
Then compare your list to the venues and see what each venue can provide for you. This can help you take into account what it would cost for you to rent or buy additional equipment versus finding a venue that provides what you need.
Some venues can offer everything — the equipment, silverware, dishes and even a local kitchen where they can make the courses on the spot. This might turn out to be a better option financially than getting everything separately and might ultimately be the deciding factor in your choice of venue.
An often overlooked factor in choosing a venue is its location – the city or town might seem like a great place for an event, but it will not matter how great the venue is if most people are not able to easily reach it.
You should usually aim to pick a spot that is easily accessible to most, if not all, the planned attendees. This holds true for nationwide events as well – it might be wise to choose a venue in a city that is more or less the middle for most people coming, unless the event itself would dictate its location for other reasons.
Also, consider the part of the city the venue is located in – not all people will come with a car, so take into account accessibility with public transportation and distance from the nearest airport, bus or train station.
- Acoustics of the venue are very important, especially if there will be speeches given – some venue locations are simply not suited for speaking to an audience.
- Make sure that parking is available for all guests, because finding a place to leave your car can be a real hassle and cause many disruptions to the whole event.
- Get references before choosing any venue – it may seem perfect, but you never know if the service of the venue operators is good and if they follow through on the agreed terms.
Jeremy Fenwick is a content strategist at A List Guide, a part of Intermedia Group, one of the most comprehensive and targeted B2B publishing networks in Australia. A List Guide is a stylish and comprehensive online and print directory listing the best venues, event suppliers and team-building activities in each state and territory of Australia.