The first step to planning your party is selecting the venue where it will take place. Once you do that, it is very easy to have all of the other elements for the party fall into place as venue selection will help determine, the number of guests you are inviting, food, drinks, security, live performances etc. based on what is included in your venue rental agreement and what the venue's capabilities are.
If you are not an event planner it is very easy to get taken advantage of, if you are not aware of how to read a venue rental agreement and how to negotiate with the venue you want to rent for your special event.
Top 3 Venue Selection Do's:
# 1 Make sure you ask the venue important party planning questions .: Are there any restrictions on live performances and how loud are you allowed to play music at the venue and until what time? Is there free parking at the venue or valet? If valet, what is the cost per car? Is there a rental charge for the room where the party will take place in addition to your food & beverage bill? What is the gratuity charge on the bill? Does the venue add an additional service charge to the bill? Does the venue require you to bring in your own security team for the event or do they provide security and if so is there an additional charge? These are just some of the many questions you should be asking perspective venues.
# 2 Location, Location Location: Make sure the venue you are looking at is in close proximity to the majority of your guests so your party doesn't become geographically inconvenient for your guests to attend. Excluding weddings, which guests are accustomed to travel to, a local party of any kind, shouldn't be more than a half hour away from the majority of your guests as a general rule.
# 3 Event History: Do your due diligence and check to see what events the venues you are looking into have hosted in the past. Ask to see the venue's press kit and check out their website. Be sure to ask to see event photos so you can get ideas of how their room has been set up for other parties. Asking for references to speak with some of their satisfied clients also is very helpful so you can get the inside scoop on what others' experiences were like working with the venue.
Top 3 Venue Don'ts:
# 1 Contracts: – It is always best to have an attorney look over an agreement before you sign it. If you can't afford an attorney then ask a family member or friend who may have more experience with contracts to be a second set of eyes for you and see if anything sticks out to them as a red flag. Never sign anything that you are not comfortable with.
# 2 Deposits & Cancellation Clauses: – Never pay a venue in full in advance. The venue will normally ask you to put down a deposit when you sign the agreement, which could be anywhere from 10-50% to hold the date. Check before signing the agreement what the venue's cancellation policy is in case you need to cancel or reschedule your event. You don't want to be liable for 100% of the total event bill if you are able to give the venue notice of having to move your event date wherein they have the opportunity to rebook the venue and not suffer a loss in revenue.
# 3 Assuming makes an ass out of everyone: Don't assume anything when dealing with venues. Make sure you get every detail no matter how big or small in writing so you and your party are protected. This is the best way to avoid confusion and hidden fees. You don't want to be handed a bill for a few thousand dollars in extra charges on the night of your event, which totally could have been avoided if you made sure to clarify each and every point of your event with your contact at the venue .
Happy party planning!