Choosing the perfect venue for your event can be intimidating – it’s the detail that everyone remembers and the place where your event begins and ends. So much hinges on selecting the ideal location for your event from the date, to the décor, to the logistics and more.
JJPR has had the opportunity to plan a variety of events in fabulous locations – from a James Beard dinner in historic Fort Gaines, to a movie premier where, with the help of our wonderful vendors, we transformed the Mobile Civic Center Theater to a magical world taken from a page in a fairy tale. Even down to press conferences and economic development announcements, one of the first decisions made is the venue.
Sometimes making a location choice can be daunting, and before you begin your search, a little preliminary work will help you choose a place that fits your budget, as well as your overall needs for the event. Choosing the venue will also help solidify the event date, and from there you can begin working on your event timeline leading up to the event.
Below is a list of five things to consider when choosing your event venue:
What is the price? This should always be the number one question when making any decision about your event and whether or not it fits your event budget. As event planners, sticking to a budget is a must, so you want to keep the venue cost in mind to allow budget for food, beverage, decor and entertainment. Some venues offer competitive rental rates that include room setups, linens and other basics. Be sure to ask what is included.
2. Location, Location, Location
A venue in a convenient location can be the difference between a successful event and an event that flops. The venue should be easy to access for your guests. Make sure there are plenty of parking options nearby, and be clear in explaining those options to guests. If the location is not convenient, figure out an appropriate way to get guests to and from the event and make sure you consider whether your budget can support transportation logistics.
Some venues require little to no work to create the atmosphere you are looking for. Some require a lot of vision, creativity and time to achieve the look and feel and set the mood for your event. The budget plays a role in this as well – the more work you have to do, the more money you will have to spend. You can certainly cut costs by thinking of creative ways to accomplish the end result.
What does the venue offer? If you are looking for a venue that provides food and beverage, you must know that going in. Do you know that you want to have the event catered by someone specific? Make sure that outside food vendors are allowed – in some cases, they are not. This has been the deciding factor for many events we have planned. In some cases, our clients wanted a one-stop shop. In others, they wanted the autonomy to use an outside caterer. Knowing the experience you are trying to create is key.
The venue size and layout must be just right for the number of people you expect. If the space is too big, it will seem empty and not well attended. If it is too small, it will seem crowded and uncomfortable. Also consider the floor plan and how people will fit once the venue has been decorated.
While finding the right venue at the right price on the right date can be challenging, finding the right location formula is key for your event’s success. For more event planning tips and checklists, check out our Event Planning Workbook.