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Choosing the Right Venue

choosing the right event venue

You don’t need Sherlock to tell you that the choice of venue can make or break an event. So often, we tend to get caught up in the magic and appeal of the venue instead of focussing on the practical and technical pros and cons, which then have a way of presenting themselves at the event itself. So, to help you avoid these potential venue potholes, have a read through these basic hints and tips for choosing the perfect venue:

  • Ensure that there’s ample parking and that it’s clearly marked and easy to find.
  • Choose a venue that’s situated within travelling distance for the bulk of your attendees.
  • If the event is scheduled to run late into the night, make sure that there’s enough accommodation in the vicinity – close enough so that even your intoxicated guests can get to bed in one piece.
  • Check that the venue format or layout matches the nature of your event – for instance if there’s going to be dancing, there needs to be space for a dance floor and if you’re hosting an art exhibition you need good lighting.
  • You want a venue that is just big enough – too small and it could get cramped, too big and you lose that sense of cosiness.
  • Ask about the availability of staff – how many waitrons you’ll have at your beck and call and whether there’s an additional charge for enlisting their services. Also inquire about their experience, reliability and general attire.
  • Check whether the venue has tables, chairs, cutlery, crockery, tablecloths and so forth, and whether these are included in the venue price.
  • The venue you choose will reflect the calibre of your event, so be sure to check the reputation and public image of the venue – client feedback, past experience, star rating, etc.
  • Inquire whether similar events have been hosted at the venue and if so, whether you can see pictures and floor plans of said events. This will give you an idea of how the space can be utilised to the max.
  • Price! There will come a time when you find the perfect venue that’s somewhat out of your price range. Don’t be tempted to book it! There’s always another suitable venue out there, so keep looking for one the suits your taste and pocket.
  • Think carefully about the level of technology you require – from dimming lights and sound to Wi-Fi and a video screen – and make sure the venue offers it so you don’t have to spend extra.
  • Make sure that the venue adheres to all safety and building regulations.
  • Ask about bar services and corkage (should you want to bring your own).
  • Find out whether there will be an on-site event planner or venue manager on duty during the event, should you need assistance.
  • Inquire about catering. Even if you’re bringing your own chef, it’s worth asking as the venue might charge a “fine”.
  • Find out whether the venue has a generator in case of power failure.
  • There’s nothing worse than an over-crowded venue so don’t forget to check how many events the venue generally hosts on the same night.
  • Check the amenities. While most venues have the required facilities like bathrooms, kitchen and bar area, they might not be well maintained.
  • If you’re expecting older or handicapped guests, make sure the venue is wheelchair accessible with wide enough doorways.
  • Make sure there’s a ventilated indoor smoking section so that smokers don’t have to stand outside in the cold.
  • To ensure the comfort of your guests, your venue needs to have air conditioning as well as heating.
  • Be sure to inquire about overtime fees, cancellation fees and any additional tax or breakages that might be added on at the end.
  • Lastly, always visit the venue before you book it. Even if the website is stunning and the pictures simply breath-taking, there might be certain cons that will only reveal themselves to you in person.
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This article was posted by - South Africa Event Planning Guide.

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