7 Point Checklist to Choosing Your Event Venue

Choosing an event venue is one of the most important choices you’ll make in the planning process, but one reason event planners find it difficult to secure the right event venue is because they don’t know the right questions to ask.

7 Tips To Choosing The Right Event Venue

In today’s video, I share 7 tips to help you choose the right event venue for your next event. Watch it now!

For best results, follow this checklist.

1. Who is your target audience and what is the guest list size?

Before creating a short-list of event venues to look at, know who will attend your event and how many people you’ll invite. You’ll want to make sure that your venue can accommodate your expected guest list and is suitable for the audience.

If your event venue is too big for your event, use a hotel partition or a decorative partition (as seen in the picture) to recreate the space size.

If your event is by invite only, request that your attendees RSVP by clearly printing it on the invitation, but be aware that many people don’t respond so you may have to follow up with a phone call. RSVP is a French acronym that means ‘please respond’.

2. Know how to cater to your target audience

Knowing the demographics of your audience is vital to the selection of your event venue. For example, know the average income of your attendees, what their likes or dislikes are, what they are accustomed to, etc. If your audience is a group of CEOs then your venue should reflect their tastes and needs.

3. What is convenient for your guests?

Selecting an event venue location in proximity to where your guests’ live or work often reflects on the number of people that will attend. Something to consider is alcohol consumption and transportation.

You don’t want attendees to drink and drive so have free transportation options available after the event so they can get home safely or ensure taxis are ready when people leave the venue.

4. Weather

Keep an eye on the weather and adjust your needs accordingly. For example, if you’re organizing an event and it’s supposed to rain then have umbrellas on-hand or tents available for outdoor events.

5. Venue knowledge and experience

Before you decide to hire a venue for your event, ask them for a list of events they’ve planned, ask to see pictures of those events so you can see the various layout options, and ask for references.

You might want to speak to some of the staff as well so you know what expertise they have and how accommodating and friendly they are. Find out the ratio of servers to guests, what they’ll wear during your event, and whether or not they can or will work over-time if needed.

You’ll also want to know what the event venue will take care of and what you have to prepare for, i.e. decorating, set-up, tear-down. The more behind-the-scenes information you have, the better!

Walk around the outside of the venue, too, and check for possible noise issues, where neighbors are located, is decorating required outside the venue, possible hazards, where the fire exits are located, and parking or drop-off points for limousines, buses, or taxis.

event venue

6. What other services does the venue provide?

Before hiring a venue get a list of other services they provide, like:

  • Floral Arrangements. Does the event venue have an in-house floral designer?
  • Parking. Do they have their own parking facility or is parking nearby? Can you negotiate a better rate for your event?
  • Security. Depending on the type and size of your event, you may need to hire security. For large scale festivals where the City/Township is involved in planning then you’re often required to have police, fire fighters and/or paramedics on-hand. Also make sure the venue has fire extinguishers, working fire alarms, first-aid kits, and power backup. Know where the emergency exits are and have an emergency plan in place. Don’t overlook cell phone reception because you may need to rent two-way radios to communicate with your staff.
  • Restrictions. Venues often have unstated restrictions that include, but not limited to, decorating (inquire about posting on walls), photography/videographer, alcohol sales, bringing in outside food like cakes, and bringing in outside caterers.
  • Additional Services to consider. Many venues provide additional services like catering, floral arrangements, audio-visual services, staging and lighting, decor for event production, ticketing, transportation, and sight seeing tours for the guests.

7. What are the venue fees?

Prior to choosing your venue, ask for a list of items the fee covers. Based on this checklist, you’ll want to know:

  • What is the event venue fee and are taxes included? Negotiate the fee so you get the best rate available.
  • What else is included in the venue fee? Dance floor, tables, chairs, linens, security, parking, and liability coverage, what is the corkage fee and is the liquor license valid and up-to-date?
  • What is not included in the venue fee?

For a complete venue checklist, I’ve included it in my certified event course

Now, I’d love to hear from you.

Use the comment box to share let me know your favorite type of venue to use for events.

24 Comments

  1. Rachel Lannisterat6:27 pm

    Thank you for the tremendous read. In it you mentioned that you should consider the guests you will be having, and choosing a venue that will interest them. My brother is holding an party for his friend, to celebrate a big milestone in his life. Since it’ll be a lot of people his age, perhaps a club or golf course would be a nice place. Thanks for the terrific idea.

    Reply
    1. Event Planning Blueprintat6:40 pm

      Agreed, choosing an age appropriate venue is important.

      Reply
  2. Scott Adamsat8:10 pm

    I’m glad that you mentioned making sure how parking works ahead of time. I have been planning an event, and I wasn’t sure how to select an event center to hold it at. I can see how it would be important to ask about parking ahead of time, so you can help people not get lost while looking for parking.

    Reply
    1. Event Planning Blueprintat10:11 pm

      Events are moving puzzle pieces!

      Reply
  3. Callum Palmerat3:00 am

    A great question is asked in the article about what other services are provided by the venue. For example, if you’re planning to invite a lot of people, then you want to make sure that the venue offers plenty of parking. It might also help to see if they have their own security team to protect your guests or if you’ll need to hire one yourself.

    Reply
    1. Event Planning Blueprintat3:10 pm

      Thanks Callum! Security is mentioned under #6 🙂

      Reply
  4. Aleshire Muellerat11:05 pm

    Thank you for pointing out the need to keep an eye out for the weather and have rain equipment prepared if the event will be held outdoors. I will keep note of that one as my sister’s birthday is planned to be held outdoors. Of course, we want to make sure that everything turns out perfectly, so I do not there is something wrong with being prepared.

    Reply
  5. Rhianna Hawkat10:10 am

    I’m planning to throw a Christmas party for my close and extended family that live in the same area as me, and as you said, catering to my audience will be important. Most of my family falls into a sort of higher-end healthy eating demographic, so getting somewhere with higher quality food will be important. Luckily, there are a lot of places like that where I can reserve a venue for a party that are nearby, so getting something close to where they all live won’t be a problem.

    Reply
    1. Event Planning Blueprintat5:22 pm

      Good luck with your party!

      Reply
  6. Beth Arlingtonat11:03 pm

    You made a good point when you said that it’s important to consider the number of people that you’re planning to invite so you can find a place that can accommodate them. My husband and I are organizing our wedding anniversary party. We want to make sure that all our guests are going to be comfortable and will have the space to dance the night away. Thanks for sharing this.

    Reply
  7. Arthur Morrisonat8:14 pm

    Not many people would think to do it but I like that the article recommends checking on other services that the venue provides outside of just hosting the venue. For example, it definitely helps to make sure that they offer parking. That way all of your guests will have plenty of places to park so that they can get to the event.

    Reply
  8. Bethanyat9:05 pm

    I agree that you must be aware of the number of people that will attend your event to find a venue that can accommodate all your guests. My fiance and I are planning to get married in June. This is why we want to find a good wedding venue. We’re planning to invite more than 200 guests, and we want to make sure that our wedding venue won’t look too overcrowded. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Event Planning Blueprintat10:30 pm

      You’re welcome and congratulations on your upcoming nuptials!

      Reply
  9. Ava Mupthyat12:37 am

    Thanks for pointing out the importance of choosing a venue that can accommodate the number of your expected guests. My fiance and I are planning to get married soon, and we are so excited. We want to invite all our friends, workmates, and relatives. We want them to enjoy our wedding party, so we want a wedding venue that won’t look and feel too overcrowded. We’ll consider all your tips.

    Reply
  10. Ciara Shenectadyat6:16 pm

    Thanks for pointing out that it’s important to choose an event venue that can accommodate the number of your expected guests. My fiance and I are planning to get married soon because we want to have our own family. We are looking for a wedding venue that won’t feel and look overcrowded because we want to ensure the comfort of our almost 250 guests. Thanks!

    Reply
  11. Angela Waterfordat1:11 pm

    I think my event already has a complete guest list size. All I have to do is to find a venue that will cater to my audience. Thanks for adding that it has to be convenient for my guests to go there so that it will be successful.

    Reply
    1. Event Planning Blueprintat7:26 am

      you’re welcome!

      Reply
  12. Janisat3:24 am

    Some of these still apply to events places even after the pandemic in some parts of the country and even the world. Right now, accessibility and accommodation seem to be what’s on top of the list.

    Reply
    1. Melanieat6:41 pm

      The world and the world of events and venues is/has changed so much recently so, I’m sure this list is going to transform a few times in the years to come!

      Reply
  13. Janisat8:31 am

    Agreed! And I’ll be sure to stay tuned to this list for our future events. Cheers and always keep safe Melanie 🙂

    Reply
    1. Melanieat1:11 am

      Thank you, and you Janice!

      Reply

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