How to Select a Great Venue for Your Event
Selecting an event venue can be an overwhelming experience, and seemingly small things during selection can have a major impact on your event on the day of.
We're happy to help apply our experience with various events and venues to help you think it through. Some top considerations we generally take clients through if we're involved in venue selection:
Before You Get Started
- Lay out your top priorities for your event: What is the purpose of your event and what will matter in making it successful? How many people will you invite and where will they be coming from? This is Los Angeles, so including guest travel time and parking may be important if you want to keep to a timeline.
- Lay out a sample budget and allocate funds to key elements: This tends to be a major factor influencing success...if you factor in food, alcohol, staff, parking, venue rental, event rentals, etc...does the amount per item make sense and does it fit with your event's priorities? A mismatch between per guest spend on venue, food, and beverage may leave guests confused.
- Think through the timeline/ flow of the event: Does your schedule fit with real world considerations of the venue? Some venues have multiple rooms or spaces allowing a meal to take place in one space and mingling in another. In others, a "flip" must occur, which can impact the timing of how meals fit in with other activities
Creating a Venue "short list"
- Geography: Which area of Los Angeles do you want to hold your event? There are major differences in atmosphere and travel time between the Valley, the Westside, Downtown, the Eastside, and the OC.
- Timing: A number of popular venues are only available at certain hours. Some, especially museums need to stay open to the public till a certain time, while others may have noise or lighting restrictions that cause them to close early.
- Capacity: You generally want a venue that will fit your event's guest count without being too big (feeling empty) or too small (feeling crowded)
- Restrictions: You want a venue that can accomodate your desired vendors and provide a reasonable set of choices. Beware signing a contract with venues that have heavy restrictions on vendors prior to understanding the options and pricing of the vendors that are able to work there. Also understand the timing requirements of the venue so you have access for the full amount of time you require (including setup and breakdown).
- Total cost: Take a look at the mix of the rental price with the cost to rent any required furniture, kitchen, buyouts, insurance, security, etc. Some venues may offer significant extras including rentals, kitchen facilities, or the ability to accept and hold onto deliveries...so the initial price may not map to the full price
Final Venue Selection
- Functional Considerations - You want to make sure you understand the contractual details prior to signing on the bottom line or paying a deposit! This includes things like availability, pricing, capacity, insurance, cancellation, special permits required, and other rules or regulations the venue you may have.
- Logistical Considerations - Venue selection requires a clear understanding of what it takes to produce an event in the space. Consider the vendor loading and unloading accessibility, Make sure to also cover rental requirements, including tables, chairs, audio/visual equipment, power, lighting, decor, etc. Also ask the venue manager if they book multiple events simultaneously or consecutive events that limit your access/ time to setup and breakdown.
- Aesthetic Considerations - Does the venue match the overall look and feel you want to accomplish? Keep in mind the layout and floorplan of the space - this will determine your event's traffic flow. Finally, remember to ask if the venue is planning to make any renovations from the time of booking until your event date.
- Financial Considerations - Each venue is very unique in the way that they price their rental. While some charge a flat rate, other venues charge based on your guest count. Rental fees also encompass many different elements - make sure to understand what is and what isn't included in your rental fee.
- Service and Reputation Considerations - Each venue will assign someone to work with you. You may find that some venues are more organized, have better reviews, and/ or understand your event and guest needs better than others. Often your gut will tell you what just feels right...even if you have multiple good choices lined up, you may just know that this venue is for you.