Sourcing the best venue can be hard work, especially if you’re working on a tight budget. With everything from finding the right location to ensuring the venue can accommodate all of your guests, the variables for finding your dream venue can be endless. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

 Our tips on sourcing the best venue

D0:

Check out the venue beforehand

The best way to ensure that you’re getting exactly what you’re looking for is to go ahead and check out the venue personally before you commit to the space. Take a friend and make an afternoon of it. Nothing will recommend the place more than first hand experience.

 

Make sure your venue is big enough

Every host’s worst nightmare is not having enough space to accommodate all your guests. Go over your guest list and find a venue that’s suitable for the size of your group. What is often overlooked here is the space needed for extras outside of what is allotted for guests such as AV and extra tables.

Somewhere like Stanley Park Pavilion is perfect for large, opulent gatherings. Similarly, if you’re planning an intimate event for a small group, stay away from large, open rooms, no matter how elegant the decor.

 

Ensure the venue is tailored to your guests’ demographic

There’s nothing more awkward than using a venue that is mismatched to your group. High end is high end and casual is casual. Period. The venue, budget, event objective and demographics of your group all have to match.

If you need to strike a feel in the middle, consider an option like The Vancouver Club with its ‘smart-casual’ dress code that ensures a more refined tone for the function.

Know your audience and pick a venue that suits the tone of the evening.

 

Find out if extras are included

If you want to get as much bang for your buck as possible, try to pick a venue that provides extra services along with the venue rental. Ask if linens, AV or security services are included in the price of the venue rental.

 

Get to know the staff

First impressions count, and excellent customer service can make all the difference. Dropping in unannounced to experience the venue as a guest is the best way to see first hand how your guests will enjoy the same service. A little undercover spy can go a long ways in helping you make your decision.

 

Don’t:

Don’t choose somewhere that’s hard to access.

If Google Maps can’t find it, don’t book; it’s really as simple as that. You may think that 19th century manor house way out in the sticks is just perfect for your event, but if your guests can’t get there easily, it’s not worth your time.

 

Don’t sign if they don’t have adequate security

If you can’t find clear fire escapes, an adequate sprinkler system, and a fire extinguisher, then put the pen down and walk away. Compromising on the catering is one thing, but gambling with your safety is a whole different kettle of fish.

 

Don’t settle for the first offering price

Always negotiate! Find out what extra services the venue can offer you for the same price, or cut out some of the extras to bring the price down a little bit.

 

Don’t disregard bad reviews

A bad Yelp! review isn’t the end of the world, but if you see more than three bad reviews, you might want to re-think your choice of venue. If enough people have cared enough to write a review, you might want to take notice.

 

Don’t overlook restrictions

The last thing you want to do is find out you can’t serve alcohol at your staff function because you didn’t find out if your venue has a liquor license or not. Ask if you’ll be required to have somebody on hand with their Serving It Right certificate, and always find out what the restrictions are and make sure they won’t inhibit your event.

 

Sage Words

Your choice in venue ends up dictating many other decisions leading up to your event. Stay true to your vision and find the best venue match to fulfill your objective.

Kimberly Rohachuk

Kimberly Rohachuk

Over my career I've had the honor of working on some major events, including the World AIDS Conference in Vancouver, G8 Foreign Ministers meeting, and the Vancouver 2010 Olympics bid delegation to Prague. I’ve also worked with a number of corporate clients all over the world delivering hundreds of events for groups ranging from 50 to 1,500 people.

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