An event’s venue is like a first impression.
Similar to meeting someone for the first time and getting that first impression, a venue is an event’s first impression. When your guests walk into the venue they are immediately looking for any clue as to how the event itself is going to unfold.
Besides the people invited, the venue is the most important piece to hosting an event. Once you get a good venue, then all of the other pieces fall into place. A good venue sets the stage for the big event. In my mind, the right venue is crucial for the ultimate success of your event.
So, the pressure is really on when planning an event in a totally different city! The option to see the venue in person is stripped away and you are left to make the decision without this experience. So what are the best ways to find an out-of-town venue? Let me walk you through the steps I take.
Budget and Capacity.
These are both major factors in slimming down your options. First decide on how much money you are willing to spend and how many people you expect.
Using the parameters set by the budget and capacity. I’ve used anything from Google, Yelp, different event sites (such as punchbowl), and blogs. Sometimes you can find the “off-the-beaten-path” venues by reading blogs.
Once you have found venues that you like, contact them! Call, email, use whatever method necessary to get more information about the venue. Be prepared to explain the event and tell them exactly what you are looking for.
After receiving information about each of your top picks, start a pro/con lists using the following criteria.
- Availability/Timing – Are they available on the date and at the time that you are planning the event for?
- Location – Is it close enough to walk? Does it require a cab ride? What about parking?
- Suitability – Does it fit the company image?
- Responsiveness of the Event Coordinator – This is actually a quality that can sway me in my decision. I never want to work with an event coordinator who is not excited to have us and who takes weeks to respond to my questions.
- Aesthetics – Look at the décor in the venue. What is the atmosphere like? Does it require additional decorating or does the venue already match your theme? Does the décor already go with your theme or do you need to supply props?
- Rentals – Will you need to rent chairs, tables, linens, etc? This might be pricey and change your mind about the venue.
- Visit – Not an option for out-of-town event. So, request photos of the venue. Any good event coordinator will have photos available and if they don’t, tell them to take some with a camera and send them your way. Never book a venue with no prior knowledge of what it looks like, even if it is just photos.