Does the idea of choosing the right venue for your event fill you with dread? The venue provides your guests with their first impression of your event so getting it right is paramount to say the least! Whether it’s a for a conference, party or even wedding use Grapevine Events’ top 10 list to help you make the choice easier.
1. Know your event requirements.
Be clear in your needs for the event; how much space you actually need, will you need break-out rooms, will you need outside space or a marquee etc. Also, knowing the type of event can steer you in the right direction when choosing a venue.
2. Type of venue
Are you looking for a purpose-built event space such as a convention centre or sports ground, or are you looking for a city centre hotel with meeting rooms or is it an unusual venue such as a castle, or warehouse that you are looking for. Don’t forget you can build your own venue if you have the money!
Have a budget in mind before you start looking, this will give you an idea of the type of venue you can afford. You should try and budget for the extras that are involved in running an event, from catering and decorations to car parking. Some venues will want a deposit upfront and some will send a final bill after the event so be sure you have budgeted for that.
How far will your guests travel for the event? If it is a wedding then distance isn’t usually an issue as long as there are enough hotels for guests to stay. If it is a conference then you might want an easily accessible location for guests to travel to and from. If most of our guests will be travelling by car make sure there is plenty of parking spaces.
5. Site visit
Always do a site visit if possible. This will help you get a feel for the venue and how your event will work within it. By doing this you get to meet some of the staff from the venue that might be looking after your guests on the day. Also, your venue might be perfect but you never know, the building next door might be having work done and be very noisy.
Does the venue have everything you need to run a successful event? Make sure you have the event format and requirements clearly written down so you can check them off against what the venue has to offer. In other words, make sure your delegates aren’t walking ½ mile to get to the nearest coffee point or toilet and that the dance floor doesn’t makes your guests feel like a can of sardines!
Some venues let you bring your own catering in some don’t so if you want a particular type of food being served at your event be sure that the venue can do it or that you can bring it in. Always remember people with allergies; vegetarian, gluten free, halal and allergies to bananas (yes it happens!) so make sure venue can cater for them!
8. Equipment, AV, lighting etc.
Some venues have preferred suppliers when it comes to AV and equipment so if you have special requirements make sure you can bring in what you want. When do you have access to the venue? The more equipment, the more time it will take to set-up. You will need to work with the venue when setting up as they won’t be able to set tables if you are hanging lights.
We cannot stress enough how important it is to ensure the venue is accessible to wheelchair users and other disabled guests. Ask the venue to supply you with a statement of their DDA compliancy and check it for yourself during the site visit if in doubt! Car parking, transport links, entrances and venue facilities should all checked thoroughly. Most venues should now be accessible or be making reasonable adjustments but it’s always best to check!
10. Health & Safety
Similarly, health and safety checks should be made to reduce accidents happening on the day! Request a show round with the venue’s health and safety representative and ask for a completed risk assessment. Always be clear on the fire evacuation procedure, locate the nearest fire exits, ask who the venue’s first aid rep is and inform your guests of what to do in case of an emergency.
Just as an extra tip, once you are happy with all of the above its time to sign the contract but BEWARE! Check the contract twice over with a fine-tooth comb to ensure it states everything you have agreed with the venue. Never sign the contract until you are 100% happy with it and don’t be afraid to make changes or ask questions.
Grapevine Events are experts at sourcing the right venue for your event and helping you make the right decision to enable your event to be a success. If you would like further advice please email us at email@example.com or call us on 02922 676706.