Questions To Ask Your Venue
September 23, 2018 at 7:30 PM
Welcome to part 3 of our 5 part series – what to ask when you’re visiting venues, to decide which one is going to be the best for your party!
Have you ever gone to the supermarket, come home and forgotten to get the one thing you needed most of all? I can actually feel the face palm now! This is the same with doing site visits for your event venue - it would be so easy to have a list done already with all the things you need to know and questions people will ask, because who wants to be ‘that guy’ who has a venue on speed dial…..
You asked – here it is!!
So when first entering a potential venue, a common first impression can be ‘wow, this space is way too small. This is not going to fit my 500 guests’. Or, on the other end of the scale it can be ‘wow, this space is wayyyyy too big, we’re going to feel so lonely!’
Now hear me out on this one – but the most important thing you need to do if you feel this way - is to trust the venue. Why? They most likely hold several functions a week and have a really good idea of how many people it takes to feel comfortable, or uncomfortable in a space – this meaning not too empty that you feel like you're swimming, but also not too crammed that you can't breathe. If you're really not sure, definitely don’t hesitate to ask questions. A good venue will be happy to explain previous functions, and perhaps some solutions as to how to make things work.
From our first blog, there is some information about the different dining styles and what one will work best for your function. Come ready with this, so the venue can give you appropriate menus, instead of their full list (which can be quite overwhelming!). Missed this step? The blog is here.
At the site visit stage, it's not too important to have the exact dietary requirements for your group. It is, however, important to ask whether particular menus be adjusted to cater to dietary requirements and if yes, is there going to be an extra cost involved - because sometimes there is.
If the menu the venue gives you is a multiple choice menu to be decided by you (for example, you need to pick ten canapes from a set list), don't be shy to ask the venue if they can put together a menu based on your number of guests, and the dietary requirements you give them closer to the time. They are usually very happy to do that, and it can be a good idea because the venue will have a really good idea of how much and what to order for your dining style and group size. If you are like me and you like to know what you're having, then it's also okay to kind of pick a few things before you get them to do something together as well.
When deciding and budgeting for beverages, you can usually expect that guests will drink one drink every half hour and up to five drinks in an evening. This can be slightly less if it's beer or wine, or it can be slightly more if spirits or shots are available. From this information, look at your budget and think about how many drinks you’d like to offer e.g: whether it’s a drink on arrival then after that guests buy their own drinks, or it’s beer and wine available for the whole evening – with those who are wanting to purchase spirits/cocktails/shots to pay for their own.
For most events, especially corporate events, it's very acceptable to just offer beer and wine, and suggest that guests wanting spirits to buy their own - so don't feel bad if that’s what your budget allows! However if you do want to offer everything, it can be a good idea to ask the venue to advise you of the spend approximately every 1 to 2 hours – as this can eat up a budget fast!
Another idea for beverages is to offer a set amount of drinks per person. This can save a small amount of guests using up the bar tab before others even get one drink! Alternatively, ask the venue if they offer a beverage package – this can be a great way to save some cash if you know your group are likely to purchase a lot of beverages!
If your guests are all going to be arriving on a bus, this means that they're all going to be walking in the door literally at the same time. If it’s a large group, this occurring can put a strain on even the fastest of bars. In this instance, consider offering an arrival drink. It can be a really courteous move on your guests behalf, because doing this means they're not going to have to walk in your party and instantly have to wait in line. Plus, this can be to theme too!
Sometimes the little things can end up costing you, or you can get for free! It’s always good to ask whether a venue can provide a microphone, a screen, a dance floor, and also decorations and lighting, and what costs are involved. Some venues will have decorations sitting around waiting to be used, and because of that, they'll sometimes charge you quite a cheap price.
- Ask about parking available
- Ask if there is disabled access to the venue, or to the space that you're in
- *Extremely important* - ask about the underage guest policy. Some venues will permit underage guests to be in the venue. Some will allow underage guests if they are with a parent or legal guardian, but they'll ask them to leave at a certain time. Some won't actually let them on the premises at all – usually a non-negotiable! So make sure you ask that question!
That is us! Blog 4 of 5 of awesome event planning is about what to ask your guests before they come to your function. We’re going to save you having to spend the whole day of your function picking up the phone answering questions, and instead give you the time to perfect your outfit! Stay tuned!