You’re throwing an event. The venue can make or break its success. You know you have a long guest list and will need a large event space – so how do you make the right decision?
Consider the Event Type
First, you’ll want to consider what type of event you’re planning. The number of guests is important, but so is the context. You wouldn’t want to throw a business meeting for 400 CEOs and entrepreneurs on the beach, although that might be an appropriate venue for a wedding the same size.
The three main types of large events that planners prepare for are:
Under each overall type of event, there are numerous sub-categories. Your business may specialize in only one, or you may tackle all three. Either way, it can help to become familiar with the event venues in your area that are appropriate for large parties of all the types.
Consider the Services Needed & Provided
When you’ve got a long attendees list, you will need a lot of things. Will there be food offered at the get-together? Most event attendees expect it. Will there be entertainment? Of course, you don’t want guests to get bored or distract themselves from the reason for gathering. Will there be facilities needed or presentations planned?
The agenda of the event will largely determine the types of services you need to plan a large-venue event successfully.
When choosing a large event space, consider whether they offer in-house services.
- Do they provide catering services? Accommodations for food storage? Food preparation and serving help?
- If no food service is provided, does the venue provide supplemental materials so you can bring food? Do they have flatware, serving platters, dishes, and napkins?
- Does the venue provide signage and decoration to help guide the guests from one area to another, or to mark important areas? Will the venue provide maps or do they have a digital map or app that can assist with the guest experience?
- Does the venue have limitations on decorations or entertainment you can bring in from outside, if they don’t provide the services you’re looking for?
- Does the venue have the technology and equipment for slideshows, videos, live demonstrations, audio needs, and other elements you need to throw a successful event?
- Does the venue have a DJ, video projectionist, and other crew you can rely on to be available during your event? What are the backup procedures, in case you need to find your own?
- Does the venue provide valet or designated parking areas? Is there sufficient parking for the number of guests that you’re planning to attend? How does the venue address parking issues?
- Are there costs or fees associated with parking? Are they the responsibility of the event planner and hosts or of the guests? How long is the parking available for, according to the amount paid?
- After the event is over, does the venue provide its own cleanup crew? Or should the host and planner make arrangements for cleanup? If you must make your own arrangements, what are the requirements? Is there a specific timeline you must have cleanup completed?
- If you are asked to provide your own cleanup, request a checklist Document the venue on your arrival – including taking pictures or video if necessary. Then, document it again after your cleanup is complete. In case your contract is ever questioned, you will want to provide evidence that you fulfilled your obligations.
The more in-house services that a large event space provides, the more venue rental will cost. However, because your time in finding or providing all these services at lower costs is eliminated.
Leave the Large Event Space Specialties to the Specialists
Overall, finding a large venue that provides the most in-house or easily sub-contracted services saves you the most time, money, and stress. When dealing with a venue of this size, a lot of unknown factors come into play. Choose a large event space that manages itself, so you can manage to plan the best day possible.