10 Questions to Choose the Perfect Venue
May 3, 2017

Choose the Perfect Venue with a 10 question checklist | Halfpint Design - Free printable questionnaire to guide you in your search for the perfect venue.

10 Questions to Choose the Perfect Venue

When planning an event the first question is typically: When? You need to set the date before anything else can happen. The very next question is: Where? Your event location or “venue” will largely determine the size, and scale of your party while also contributing greatly to the level of complexity, budget, and set up time required. I’ve compiled a list of questions to ask in your search to help choose the perfect venue for your particular situation.

1. What type of event are you designing?

This is the most critical question that will guide the look and feel of the whole event. Is it a:

  • Birthday party just for kids: Focus on fun
  • Family party: Activity-centric with fuller decor
  • Adult birthday party: More Polished {even with a playful theme}
  • Bridal or Baby Shower: Often sophisticated
  • Wedding Reception: Typically elegant

2. How far away is it?

Calculate how long it will take to drive to each venue in question. Then add twice that amount of time to your prep hours for the total time for loading, travel, and unloading. If you are short on prep time, stay close to home, or get some extra hands.

3. How many people can it accommodate?

This will affect your guest list. Typically this is the deciding factor between hosting the party at your home or another venue. The outdoors can host huge numbers limited only by parking and restroom facilities. Indoor venues will have a maximum occupancy number listed in the room. This is the largest number of people that can be in the space at the same time according to the fire safety codes. Ask for the venue’s maximum occupancy room numbers before you decide.

4. How much does it cost?

This is a huge issue for most people. Do the best you can with the budget you’ve got. It’s not worth going into debt for anything less than a wedding, and I would discourage that as well. Parties are so much fun. I LOVE them and spend too much money, but I never buy anything I can’t pay for. Park pavilion rentals are really affordable, as are community centers or church recreation rooms. Your home is free, but if you hire a house cleaner to come in before the party {which I highly recommend} add that in the budget. Larger venues will typically charge in 4 or 6-hour blocks. Sometimes it’s yours for the whole day. In order to know how much time you need you have to determine…

5. How long will the event last?

Is this a simple cake and ice cream affair or a plated dinner with entertainment? How much set up and take down time do you need? This total will determine how much time you need to reserve in the venue or block out in your schedule. Remember that the time you pay for also includes set up and take down so pad your time accordingly. Four hours is pushing it for most events and I recommend 6 hours if you have the option. But that all depends on…

Choose the Perfect Venue with a 10 question checklist | Halfpint Design - A church gym party set up. At the end of the day...it's still a gym. See the hoop?

Ladies Garden Party. The things you have to deal with when hosting in the church gym. Notice the basketball hoop, wires, accordion doors, and acoustical panels? {Ugh}

6. What level of decoration will it need?*

*Please note that the time budget does NOT include food prep, travel time, or loading/unloading. You need someone ELSE to be working on the food or add additional prep time to the schedule.

  • Level 1: Just table decor and food buffet, hardly anything needed for the room. Budget 1 hour
  • Level 2: When you want a focal point {or two} in addition to the tables & food. Budget 2-3 hours
  • Level 3: A space that needs more TLC and requires more intensive design. Budget 4-5 hours for 3-4 people or 2-3 hours for 5-6 people. If you need to set up tables and chairs add an additional hour.
  • Level 4: The full room makeover with tons of detail and décor. This will be intense and will probably take a day and a half with lots of people. This is all depends on…

7. How early can you get in to set up?

Make sure you clearly understand the time frame you have blocked out. This is where it’s nice to have the event in your home because you can start your focal point décor in advance, planning a seasonally appropriate theme allows you to build on what you already have. To know for sure how much set up time you will need you also need to find out…

Choose the Perfect Venue with a 10 question checklist | Halfpint Design - Kids party room at Museum. Very little prep work involved.

University of Nebraska State Museum Party Room

8. What is provided?

Do they include tables and chairs? Are they setting up or do you provide the labor? Do they have linens, or will you rent them or buy plastic table covers? Is there a sound system with a microphone? Is there a dance floor?

Then by default, what’s leftover needs to make it to your to-do list so YOU can make it happen. But before you get your heart set on a candlelight dinner make sure to ask…

9. What are the restrictions?

There are more and more public spaces that do not allow lit candles. LED wax candles are great in this situation, but you need to know BEFORE you purchase a truckload of anything you can’t use.

Can you bring in your own food or do you have to use their caterer? Can you bring in the cake?
Is there a noise curfew that’ll shut down the dance floor?

10. What level of cleaning is required?

Do you need to take out everything you brought in? Or are you responsible for putting up chairs and tables, taking out the trash, and sweeping and mopping the floor? The church rec. room may be free but after working all day you might not want to stick around to mop the floor. {Just sayin’}

Free “Choose the Perfect Venue” Printable Checklist:

Choose the Perfect Venue with a 10 question checklist | Halfpint Design - Free printable checklist to guide you in your search for the perfect venue.Click here for your “Choose the Perfect Venue Printable

What kind of venue do you think will work for your next party? Print out this checklist and keep it handy to choose the perfect venue for you. It’s all about time. If you don’t have the time, it’ll take a little more money. If you don’t have the money, then find some extra hands! Anything is possible. Good luck and have fun!

Until next time,

Halfpint Design, personal

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4 Comments

  1. Ellie Davis

    I liked that you mentioned you need to calculate how far the venue you are trying to book is for your guests. It makes sense that if there is a need to prep something during the event, the best option is to stay close to home. As you mentioned, you need to add twice the time you need to get to the venue as the time that you will need to load everything into your car.

    Reply
  2. Jordan Miner

    My wife has been looking for a family party center, and I think that being able to get some information would be good. I’m glad you talked about asking what is provided by a party center, which would be good. I’m glad you talked about being able to get some questions answered, and I’ll have to make sure I do the same!

    Reply

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Gingerbread houses in a row as table runner centerpiece for a Christmas Cookie Exchange PartyI’m Bri of Parties With A Cause. I’m a mother to three crazy awesome kids, interior designer, & party planning junky. I love reading, globe trotting, and frozen yogurt. And I’m elevating the party experience one cause at a time! Read More

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