Choosing a wedding venue (or in general an event venue) is for sure one of the most important moment for a wedding/event planner. In fact, whether we talk about weddings, parties, conventions, rallies, etc the venue is not only the physical place hosting the event, but also, the operative headquarter for event planner and insiders.
Let’s take the wedding case: as we all know, the wedding planner has to fulfill the bride’s wishes but has to plan the event following closely his/her project.
The bride would probably dream a romantic castle in the middle of an enchanted forest; on the other side, the planner would maybe think that the castle might not be so functional.
And that’s the word. Functional.
A venue needs to be functional.
What is a functional venue? Well it is a place for events that respects specific parameters. Ten parameters, to be precise…
How to choose a wedding venue. The 10 criteria.
It might be the most beautiful place of the world, but if the rent is too high, it means going out of budget and cutting other services, a mistake we ALL want to avoid!
So, first criteria: always check the price of a venue in advance.
And here we have Cinderella’s castle, shiny and romantic! The perfect place for a wedding…but the parking is half a mile away…Down a hill!!
Parking is a crucial element to consider: it needs to be inside or, at least, next to the venue. We don’t want our guests (or participants) to walk long distances to reach the place, no!
On top of that, and on a more professional point of view, a closer parking means easy operations for the event services: imagine chairs, tables, decorations, flowers, food, banqueting stuff…a lot of materials that need to be delivered and set in the venue.
When you’ll do your site inspection – I recommend 3 – check always numbers and functionality of restrooms, making sure the venue has at least 2 bathrooms (Men and women).
Of course, that depends also on the number of the guests you are planning to invite and on the size of the venue, but in general, big venues should have more than 1 double bathroom.
4. Available spaces
We fall in love with the location.
But the question is: which spaces can we use? Which space is excluded / included in the contract?
Not all spaces are in fact available, therefore it’s very important to check in advance.
Why? Because our event could include a large area for cocktails, a dance floor, tables with formal mise en place and chairs that respect a minimum distance of 30 in between one guest and another…
So, check the space!
5 Bad weather: plan B
Imagine you have chosen a beautiful garden with a swimming pool for your corporate party. But the plan B, since you opted for an outdoor place, is a must.
Can you set up a tent? A tensile structure? A gazebo to shelter guests and staff? Or maybe the location has already those kind of items?
Grab your checklist and look at it!
Whether you have an off premise catering or an on premise one, having a kitchen in the venue is always a good idea.
A kitchen, in fact, would guarantee a better service and much more agility for catering and banqueting operations.
7. Handicap facilities
In one word: essential!
If your wedding is scheduled for evening/night time, it would be ideal to carry on a pair of site inspections at similar times to verify the presence of compliant, functioning and adequate lighting (and electrical) system.
9. Wedding venue regulations
It is essential to be aware of an eventual venue regulation. However, it is pretty common to find them in venue like museums, gardens, historical residences…
10. Neighbors and wedding venue
The presence of close neighbors is an element to be considered. Musical entertainment, fireworks and similar activities need to be evaluated, planned and agreed in advance with the neighbors.
How to choose a wedding venue: the importance of the site inspection
As you have seen, the site inspection is essential in order to understand the functionality of the venue. What I recommend is to bring with you a checklist to asses if the above criteria are met: hand on the checklist, you’ll be able to write down pro and cons of the place, and this will definitely help for a deeper analysis.
Being an event planner, as I said in another post, always implies having an agenda and being extremely organized, so if you don’t have your own Trello, you can refer to something like my location checklist or maybe think about building your own!
Have a good site inspection! 😀