Planning a party or special celebration? The venue sets the tone for your event.  Here are the top ten things you need to know to get it right. We’ve put together a handy site selection checklist with all the questions you should ask when scouting venues.

  • 1. The Cost:
    Know exactly what's included in the venue fee and what other fees you should expect.
  • 2. The Location:
    Book a venue in a convenient location. Make sure to include a site visit in your plans.
  • 3. Catering:
    Can you bring your own caterer? Ask for a menu tasting and make sure the caterer can accommodate special diet needs.
  • 4. Capacity:
    Choose a venue that’s just right for your group size (i.e. If it accommodates 600 and you have 50 guests, your event will look lost.)
  • 5. Style:
    The venue should fit your theme or style. Choosing a venue that doesn’t require much in décor will save you money.
  • 6. Layout:
    Ensure the venue has space for all aspects of your event. For instance, for a wedding you might want a pre-reception area, a stage for a band or DJ, a dance floor, a dressing area for the Bride and a VIP room for the groom. Is this all included in the venue fee?
  • 7. Services & Facilities:
    Make sure you know what services and facilities are included. These may include:
  • Event PlannerDo they have an onsite planner to assist with all details? If so, is that an additional fee?
  • ParkingDoes the venue have on-site parking? Is there a parking fee? Is valet parking needed?
  • Tables and ChairsAre they available for rental or included in the venue fee? What other amenities are included with the venue fee?
  • Kitchen FacilitiesIs there an onsite kitchen? If so, what are the requirements/restrictions?
  • • Equipment…Do they have AV equipment, screens, microphones, etc. for rental and, if so, are they included in the venue fee?
  • • Extra SpaceIs there a coat-check room, VIP rooms, or breakout rooms?
  • • Bar Set-upCan alcohol be served? Can we bring our own alcohol and bartender?
  • • Security…Is this provided or do you need to bring your own?
  • • RestrictionsDo you need to be out by a certain time for an hour Does alcohol need to be suspended by a certain time? Are there any community/city restrictions? Are we allowed to use helium balloons?
  • • Extending Event HoursIf you decide to extend the event during the event, is this an option? If so, what are those fees?
  • • Extra FeesAre we charged for a corkage fee, a cancellation fee, etc.?
  • • Entertainment…Is there a preferred vendor list or can we use our own suppliers?
  • 8. Decorating and Cleanup:
    It also pays to know who will be responsible for decorating and cleaning up, as well if you’ll have exclusive use of the venue.
  • 9. Weather:
    If planning an outdoor event, is there an indoor option to move inside in case of inclement weather?
  • 10. Onsite Go-To Person:
    After checking off all the boxes above, make sure you know who your Go-To person will be on the day of your event. Having someone to assist with any problems/questions that arise will help your event run smoothly.

Verbal doesn’t get it! Make sure that ALL your special details are LISTED in the contract before signing.