How to choose the best location for your special event
Looking for a venue to host your wedding reception or rehearsal dinner? We have a few pieces of advice to help you choose the best location for your special event.
It’s important to have an idea of your wedding style: romantic, urban, elegant, rustic…? Do you want a traditional wedding? Will your wedding be held at night or during the day, inside or outside? Once you decide on your wedding style, start doing a basic venue search and look for venues that meet your style needs. You can also enlist the help of your vendors. As a reputable caterer, we work with a number of venues and are featured as a preferred vendor and caterer on venue lists. We can help guide you towards a venue you that meets your style aesthetic and requirements.
In order to narrow down your venue search, you will want to always know the cost for the rental fee and any additional fees that may be included. It would be disappointing to fall in love with a place you can’t afford; however keep in mind that some venues offer tiered packages. Also, make sure you find if any equipment is available (i.e. tables, chairs, glassware, flatware, china) and if the price is included in the rental or additional to the rental. Most weddings are based on the average 8 hour block; typically 2 hours for setup, four to five hours for the event, and one hour for breakdown. Venues typically have options to add additional hours at an additional expense.
Guest list estimation
For your first venue walkthrough, make sure that the room or event space is large enough to accommodate your guest count. It can appear very spacious when it is empty, but tables, chairs, bars, DJ/band, and dancefloor take a lot of room. It is important to have an estimation of how many guests you will invite to your reception: a 50 guest wedding is drastically different than a 300 guest wedding and your space should always accommodate your guest count.
Visit your venue in wedding conditions
If you celebrate all your wedding in one venue (ceremony, cocktails, reception), try to imagine where these activities would be set up in your venue to be sure there is enough space and that it accommodates your event flow. You should visit the venue while another wedding is in preparation to visualize where the bar and DJ could be, and what the room looks like with all the tables set up. This is also a chance to check the lighting. You may want to stop by during the day and also during the evening as a typical event from start to finish will have peaks of both daylight and evening light. Finally, if your wedding ceremony and/or reception is scheduled to take place outside, always make sure that you have a rain backup. Generally venues have options for tenting or tenting rentals and it is also common for venues to offer an indoor space as an alternative in case of bad weather.
Parking and accommodations
Although it is ideal for venues to have a parking lot to accommodate event parking; unfortunately this isn’t always the case. If a venue doesn’t offer parking brainstorm with your event planner or venue manager other options for guests to arrive to and from your event. Shuttles, Trolley’s, and Buses are popular to transport guests to and from the event and other options include Valet Parking Services. For events taking place downtown, parking garages can often be reserved at a reduced rate depending on volume of guests.