Picking a venue for your special event is not an easy task. There are a ton of things that you have to keep in mind when making this decision.
- What is the rental fee?
- What does the rental fee include?
- What does it not include?
- Can I bring in my own food?
- Do you have a preferred vendor list I have to choose from?
And the list goes on and on!!
This can be incredibly overwhelming and confusing. After a few years working at not only The Leadership Center, but many other event facilities, I want to give you some tips and tricks about what you need to ask when booking a venue.
- Is my deposit refundable and does it count towards my final bill? The majority, if not all, of facilities will charge you a deposit. This can range from a meeting room rental fee, a flat deposit fee or a percentage of your event’s total estimated value. Also some venues allow deposits to be refundable if at the end of your event you leave the space exactly how it was when you started then you receive your deposit back or it can be non-refundable meaning you lose the money if you were to cancel the event. Some venues do count deposits towards your final bill. Each venue does it differently. Decide what deposit you prefer and works best for the budget that you have created.
- What can and can’t be brought into the facility? Some venues are simply the venue only so you have to bring in the food, the tables, the chairs, the decorations, etc. Others, like our facility, have the tables, the chairs, the food already on site and you bring in your own decorations. Each venue is different so be sure to ask what their rules are so you aren’t in violation of anything and potentially charged for it.
- Does the venue set up the space or is that something I need to do? I have ran in to quite a few venues where you have to rent each table and each chair that you use. There is a flat fee per item and it adds up quickly. Also a lot of these venues require that you set up the space yourself which means you need some manpower to help you with that. There are venues that don’t charge and actually set up your space and that is all included in your room rental, ours being one of those. When looking at venues know what your budget is and if you are willing to pay per chair/table or if you want the peace of mind where the venue does it for you. It may mean paying a little bit more, but that is your decision on what you value more!
- Decorations. Can you have them? If so, what are the limits? Does the facility have them to rent? Also miscellaneous items do you charge to use? Most venues allow decorations. Some have requirements on what can and can’t be brought in. Some also limit if things can be hung from the ceiling. If you have a vision be sure to run it by the venue to make sure it is able to accommodate that vision. Also a lot of venues have stock of vases, table cloths, napkins, etc. that you can rent. Check with them before you look for vendors. If the venue doesn’t have them onsite, they may have a relationship/partnership with outside vendors to be able to get you what you want for reduced costs.
- What is the max capacity of the space? Every venue has a maximum capacity for their space. Make sure that your event fits the space and if it doesn’t, but you are set on that space then cater your guest list to fit. Also check to see if they have old layouts from previous events that you can look at so you aren’t completely overwhelmed trying to come up with something.
- Finally, is the space available on your special date? Make sure to check to see if the space is actually available before you even start this entire process. If it is not, but you really love the space, then decide if you want to change the date or if you will look for something else.
These are just a few questions, that I feel you need to ask the venue when you are doing tours. There are a lot of things to consider when choosing your space. Do your research. Find reviews. Ask as many questions as you possibly can. When I am doing tours, I don’t mind when people ask a lot of questions. I actually like it because then I know that the client understands everything and we start our relationship off on a really great foot!! I even suggest to my friends when they are planning weddings, etc. to ask a million questions because after all, you are the one spending the money and you need to make sure the space is worth all of the time, effort and especially the money.
If you have more questions about what you should ask or want more tips, Maile or myself would be happy to help you out! We both have a ton of experience and even if your event is not here, we hope that you have the best experience and create some wonderful memories. After all that is what life is about!!
Have a wonderful Saturday!