Wedding Advice | Event Planning Tips
There is no argument that one of the best parts of planning an event, whether that is your wedding, a birthday or a corporate function, is when you finally confirm and lock in your venue!
Booking in your event space highlights that things are really happening, allowing you to envisage how your event will look, feel and play out.
To help you book in your venue with ease we have outlined 10 steps for you to follow.
Step 1: Outline basic event details
Sit down with your partner or your event team and commence discussions about the basic event details.
Before you begin looking at venues it is very helpful to have a clear idea of how many guests you plan to invite; when you hope to host your event; and how much you have to spend on a venue (i.e. hire costs, food & beverage costs). These three points will help establish what event spaces are suitable for the size of your party and your budget.
Step 2: Confirm guest list
How many people are you hoping to host at your wedding? Having an idea of the quantity of guests attending is probably the most important element to consider when booking a venue. This will considerably impact which event space is best suited to you.
Venues will not welcome an event that is over-capacity and on the flip side you do not want to have a small gathering in a large venue, you may lose event ambience and need to invest additional money into the styling of the space to make it feel welcoming.
Another element you may need to consider is if the venue has a minimum spend as this will be impacted by how many guests you should invite. It is not hard to reach the minimum spend in most venues, if you invite close to the venues ‘recommended’ guest attendance you most likely will automatically reach the minimum spend required.
Step 3: Confirm your budget
How much budget do you have to spend on the venue? This can often be estimated by the cost of food and beverage per person, which is what venues usually base their fee on.
Another point to consider is that some venues also charge venue hire fees. It is important to establish what the associated costs are with your venue preferences before you book it in. You do not want to get an ugly surprise when the invoice comes through.
Other venues may charge a venue hire fee and then allow you to bring in all your own preferred suppliers. This can often be a more expensive option – however it can often make for a fantastic event.
Step 4: Confirm your format & type of event
The format and type of event you are running will impact venue suitability. For example, if you are hosting a wedding cocktail party you may require a smaller event space with bar tables and stools – as appose to a large open space with round tables and chairs.
If you are managing a vehicle launch, then a blank canvas event space may be preferable with high ceilings, ability to bring in truss bars, extensive audio visual and the ability for vehicles to be showcased.
Some format discussions that you may like to consider are:
- Cocktail (canapes) vs a sit-down (banquet).
- Round tables vs long tables.
- Day vs night.
- Outside vs inside.
- Intimate vs outrageous.
- Casual vs luxe.
- Large vs small etc.
Step 5 Confirm your date preference(s)
By having a clear idea of what your date preference is will allow you to enquire about venue availability. It is recommended that you have a couple of date options up your sleeve, just in case you need to be a little flexible to work in with the venue.
The venue will really appreciate some guidance as to when you hope to host your event.
Step 6: Contact venue & ask questions
Now that you have established your basic event information made up of guest quantity, budget, event format, type of event and date preferences, you are now all set to call venues and enquire about their:
- Event spaces on offer
You may also like to provide a run down on how you see your event taking shape, the venue manager may have some great recommendation on how their venue can help make this come to life. Finally, make sure are armed with a list of questions you would like answered to help you make your venue decision. Some questions you may like to consider are:
- What is the availability at your venue for an event/wedding during the month of / dates of …?
- How many people do you cater for at your venue? Cocktail format vs banquet format (sit down)?
- Do you have a wedding/event package document you can email through? What are your general inclusions? cost per person?
- Do you offer all the relevant dining furniture, table clothes, napkins? Do you have a list of these and images?
- Is there anything that you do not include that we will need to hire in ourselves?
- Is there an in-house microphone and PA suitable for event facilitation?
- Do you have event spaces suitable for ceremony, pre-drinks and reception?
- Do you have an in-house cater? If so, who and can you send me the menu options?
- Do you offer beverage packages? Please email through options. Can we increase the length of time the beverage packages are offered?
- What is curfew at your venue?
- Do you allow us to provide our own alcohol?
- How long can we hire the event space?
- What are the estimated timings you suggest we work towards our event – i.e meal service etc?
- Are there any other events scheduled on the same day at the venue?
- Do you have a smoking area? wheel chair access?
- Do you welcome activations, entertainment, other vendors etc?
- Do you have any specific rules/regulations?
- When do we gain access to bump-in to your event?
- How long do we have to bump-out our event?
- Can we leave items to collect the following day?
- Do you have table plan boards, tables, trestles, etc?
- Do you offer any styling or table centrepieces?
- Do you have any other preferred suppliers?
- Ask any event specific questions you may have – i.e. can we hang installations from the roof? Can we showcase products/brands? Do you allow fireworks etc?
Step 7: Site visit
Book in a site visit of the venue. A site visit is quite important as it allows you to see the event space in real life – often photos do not depict the full picture.
At the site visit you may like to see all the available events spaces, run through how your event may take shape, measure any spaces where you need to fit specific activations/hire goods – ensure dimensions/layout works for you.
Does the event space tick off all your needs?
Do they offer all the basic requirements such a furniture, AV, bathrooms, heaters, coolers?
Step 8: Confirm details with Venue
If you are happy with the event space, you can now confirm the finer details with the venue manager.
- Agree on price
- Agree on inclusions
- Agree on date
- Agree on timings/running order
- Agree on what you can bring in
Step 9: Book in venue
Now you can book in your venue.
To book in a venue, contact the venue manager by phone and email to clearly outline your intention of booking the event space.
Ensure you get confirmation back that they have received your request and approval.
The venue should supply more documentation such as contract & deposit invoice.
Venues are not 100% booked until you have paid the deposit, so ensure you are aware of all payment dates, rules and regulations to ensure you do not miss out on your dream venue.
Step 10: Final payments & documents
Do not forget to pay the final invoices closer to the event date. Put a reminder in your diary.
Also provide the venue with all final documentation closer to the event to ensure it runs smoothly – such as vendor lists, running orders, contact lists, guests lists, dietary requirements and table plans.