Venue “shopping” can be fun, interesting and challenging. So, as you look at venues for your event, here are seven questions we suggest you ask or confirm BEFORE deciding if this is the event space that fits your vision and need.
How many guests do you anticipate will be attending? If the venue you are considering is not close to major hotels, etc. you may seem some of your guests carpooling (you can even encourage this when the invitation is sent out). It is usually estimated 3 guests per vehicle. So, in doing the math, if you have 100 guests, you should have a minimum of 40 parking spaces.
This one can be tricky – especially if you are looking at a venue that holds multiple events on the same day at the same time. In other words, your guests are sharing with other attendees. The standard here is usually one stall per 25-30 guests. So, ask the venue if the date you are looking at also has other bookings. Inspect the restrooms and see what they look like. There is nothing more frustrating then a long line for the restrooms and the line goes right through the bar area or between guest tables! We have seen this time and again and it needs to be addressed.
Does your venue work from a “preferred list” or can you select your own vendors? If they use only their preferred vendors, ask to see menus and package options. Most venues give you at least 3 options per vendor with pricing from low to high. This can make a huge impact on your budget.
If you are considering an outdoor event and the venue has this option, find out how they handle inclement weather policies. How much notice do you have to work with their staff to change the planning if storms are in the forecast? Are there additional costs that you must consider in making changes?
With the recent pandemic affecting so many contracts, find out what the cancellation guidelines are for this venue. Many venues had simple policies but with the pandemic, they are re-writing them to include such occurrences.
Contract Signing Deadline
If you have made the decision that this is “the” venue, find out how the contract is to be presented to you. Do you sign in person, through their electronic system, etc. And then make sure once you have signed, that you have a copy. And with that goes – always review the contract carefully and make sure you have all your answers satisfied BEFORE you sign.
The contract should specify what are the deposit increments and due dates. Make sure you understand them (and of course adhere to them) as late payments often come with steep penalties. If a deposit is required to hold the date, it is usually no more than 50% of the total costs. The total costs breakdown for EVERYTHING should be listed in the contract. If the deposit is non-refundable, this should be stated as well.
If you need help or suggestions while search for a venue – contact us. Also we suggest joining the DiMadeline email list for monthly messages on event planning and entertaining. Just click on http://eepurl.com/gwywVz
Photo Credits: Nathan Cowley