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Last year, thousands of events were booked on thisopenspace. We took a look at the numbers and analyzed events that took place in these spaces to learn how to master the basics of choosing a venue. We compiled and condensed our findings into the ultimate guide to choosing a venue.
We’ve quickly found that organizers have a full schedule getting all their tasks accomplished leading up to an event. As you will see in the below checklist, there’s a lot to cover before choosing a venue.
In this post, we’ll dive into the most important things to consider when choosing a venue, as well as share a simple checklist to help you cover all your bases when it comes to selecting the right space. Whether you’re planning a dinner party for your work family, a photo shoot for next season’s product launch, or a surprise party for your friend’s 30th, this checklist will help you to determine which type of space you need and how it will impact your planning.
Where to start when choosing a venue
Visualizing the entire experience from the guest’s perspective is important. How does the guest feel from the moment they see the space from a distance until they leave at the end of the night? Is the room conducive to the experience you are trying to create? Their needs need to be met naturally by the space as the space dictates how guests interact with each other and their environment —ultimately shaping how they enjoy their evening.
4 details to consider before choosing a venue
We are constantly in awe by the creativity and variety of events that come in and out the doors of all our spaces, and hope these common considerations are helpful when you’re choosing your venue in the near future.
The location of an event venue is often as important as the look and feel of the space itself. Before planning too far ahead, consider how easy it will be for guests to get to the space. If you’re in a big city, is it easily accessible by public transit? Will you need parking for guests that drive? It’s exciting to seek out and the find the unexplored hidden spaces, tucked away behind train tracks, alleyways, and streets – just make sure to consider transportation!
Permits and insurance
If the space doesn’t have insurance, often times the host will require you to have event insurance. This type of insurance protects you if you’ve been held liable for property damage or bodily injury. It also protects your host against any alcohol-related accidents. Plan ahead and start early as obtaining the proper permitting may take weeks or months.
Are you serving food at your event? Maybe a food truck? More often than not, your space host will have great suggestions, but it’s always helpful to know the full range of options available. The first two questions the majority of the guests on thisopenspace ask are: Do you have a full service kitchen on site? Can I see a detailed menu and serving options?
If you are bringing in your own outside food or alcohol – don’t forget a temporary food permit!
On-site location details are critical for day-of festivities. Are you going to display banners or artwork? Can you hang things on the wall? Is there WiFi? When thinking about the right location, divide your amenities lists into two categories: the space amenities that are critical, and the ones that are just nice-to-haves.
The gist …
- Is it easy to get to?
- Do I need insurance?
- What permits are required for this event?
- Do you have a full service kitchen on site?
- Can I see a detailed menu and serving options?
- Do I need a temporary food permit?
- Are you licensed to provide alcohol service?
- If so, is alcohol priced per person? By consumption? Are there additional charges for bar staff?
- Is there a bar minimum that must be met before the conclusion of the event? What is the average bar tab for the number of people attending my event?
- Can I bring my own wine, beer or champagne, and is there a corkage fee if I do? Can I bring in other alcohol?
- What other amenities are available?
Finding a venue can be challenging, but the sooner you are able to cover the necessities the sooner you can have fun exploring new spaces that elevate your events into experiences, and your experiences into memories.
Ellen Jantsch is a brand strategist, content specialist, information architect, people scientist, and marketer for thisopenspace. If you are curious about finding your next event space, we’d love to help. Drop us a line or shoot us a note on twitter @thisopenspace.