Forget your Conventional Ballroom!

Whether you are planning an event for 10 people or 1000 people, you should think of ways to trade in the traditional conference room setting for something creatively unique.

Hotels and conference centres will always sell you on the value of the services they offer and how they can transform any space into something magical – but don’t forget about those costs adding up: for example AV, pipe and drape and hotel labor are just a few.

You have probably noticed the rise in unique wedding venues such as Vineyards or breweries or rustic barns, highlighting the fact that people want different!

Here are some things to consider when planning your event and how to select the right and most UNIQUE venue for your group:

Know your Audience

Whether you are you planning a corporate or incentive trip, wedding, awards dinner or simply a social event you should know your audience. What are the demographic and psychographics of your group?

Let’s say you are planning an incentive trip tailored to a group of CEOs, you will want to give them an experience that they could not get anywhere else. This will require you to have some serious negotiation skills or a huge budget.

Cool Event Venues For Your Next Event

Below are some cool ideas for all kinds of groups…

Someone’s Personal Home

Let’s say you have access to your CEO network, you may be able to find someone that wants to host the group in their home providing the group is small enough or the house is large enough. This is a great way to do something different and allow for an intimate experience for your guests.

In this case you can provide a heavy reception, carving stations, and butler service and could even have some form of live entertainment to really blow your guests away. Having planned these many times, there is no better way for your guests to build relationships and allow for conversations to flow that the intimate environment of someone’s home.

It is a better environment than any restaurant or hotel could provide. If there is no one that can lend their home, you can always look for something spectacular on Airbnb.

City Landmark

Wherever you are hosting your event, look to the Convention and Visitor Bureau (CVB) for help in finding a unique venue to host your reception or event. They will be your best resource for finding a cool spot in the destination city.

This could be an aquarium, museum, arena, library or retail space that doubles as event space. The opportunities are endless, but always seek some local expertise. If you are traveling internationally, look at hosting something at your local embassy – this can be done, it just takes some planning.

Outdoor space

Depending on weather, an outdoor space can really bring home a theme or feel or vibe of an event. If the city or location you’re in is a city that prides itself on its waterfront, that can be a great spot to host a reception.

Or perhaps you are in New York City – why not host a dinner on the rooftop of a skyscraper? What about hosting a dinner on a yacht, tour boat or even a train? Let your imagination go wild!


If you have a fantastic idea, but don’t have the budget, sponsorship can be a great way to pull of a spectacular event with a limited budget. Other than weddings, you should create a sponsorship platform for like-minded companies to sponsor your event in creative ways.

Perhaps your sponsor may even have networks with creative locations to host your event at? You can look for major sponsors or break down your event into sponsorship categories or items and look at soliciting more than one.

Travel Time

When thinking about hosting a unique event in a new destination, think about travel times to get to the proposed site. For example, if you are shuttling people from a hotel to an offsite location, think about time of day, traffic and how long travel times will be.

If your venue is longer than 30 minutes away, you may want to look at an interactive or fun approach to your shuttle. For example, you could pick up “staged hitch hiker performers” along the way. Could be guitarist, singer, busker – you name it!

Take time when planning any event to get out of your comfort zone to get creative. Use your imagination, and then scale back based on budget. Choosing a venue is one of the most critical parts of your event, as it sets the tone and atmosphere for your attendees.

Once you choose the venue, you can then leverage all of your other items to fit into your venue theme. It will help with your food and beverage selection, arrangements and décor and AV.

If you are stuck with hosting your event in a hotel ballroom, don’t worry too much because there are still ways you can spice it up, but remember to keep your options open for next time.

Guest Post by Ed Byers


  1. Emily Mecklin at4:17 pm

    I really enjoyed reading your post!The area where you spoke about holding events at a city landmark really intrigued me. One area I have looked into is hosting events at city parks and nature reserves as well.

    1. Event Planning Blueprint at6:17 pm

      Thanks Emily, glad you enjoyed it. There are so many creative places to have an event — the list could be endless 🙂


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