Whether it is a corporate function or a social gathering, choosing an event venue is a significant part of planning any event. How significant you ask? Well, so much so that we strongly suggest making this your first priority when diving in to the event planning process. It isn’t until a venue is booked that all of the other details can start to fall in to place.
1. Do you have availability on my preferred event date?
If you have a specific date in mind, ask if the venue is available. If it’s not, then you know it’s time to move on elsewhere. If you don’t have a date in mind, try to narrow it down to a time of year or month. This will not only help the venue focus on their current availability during a specific time frame but specifying a preferred time of year for your event may have some influence on our next question…
Budget Friendly Party Options and Event Spaces
2. What’s the cost?
Let’s be honest, before even asking this question, you should take some time to determine what it is you’re able to spend on the event. The price of renting an event venue will most likely be a substantial part of your budget, but just because you can afford the venue doesn’t mean you’ll have enough remaining in your budget to cover other high priority items like food, entertainment, decorations, etc.
If you can’t find a venue of your liking within your budget, you should consider being flexible with your event date. Most venues, like Riverbanks Zoo & Garden, have rates based on certain days of the week and rates based on ‘peak’ and ‘off-peak’ times of the year.
3. What’s included in the price?
Now that you’ve determined the cost of the venue, it’s best to find out what the price includes.
There are some great affordable finds out there but it’s true, you get what you pay for… With this in mind, it might be worth paying a little extra for a great venue that has more onsite to offer.
Some things you should consider asking include: What’s the duration of the rental? Does the duration include set-up and clean-up? Does the venue have staff to set up the space or are you responsible for the set up? What about tables, chairs, linen? All of these things need to be taken into consideration because if these items are not included in your venue rental, you’ll need to make room in your budget to include these additional costs.
Large venues or more intimate venues at Riverbanks
4. How many people can the venue accommodate?
Now this is a very important question and although it may seem like a no-brainer, there is actually a second part to this that should also be addressed.
First, you should know how many guests you’re anticipating and how you’d like the room setup. The same number of guests can require different amounts of total room space based on how you’d like your event guests to be, such as seated, or not seated. If the space isn’t large enough to accommodate these two things then you might want to look for a different venue or consider reducing your guest list.
If the space can accommodate your guest count, great! But the second part to this question is what else do you need in the room in order to bring you event vision to life? Along with seating, do you also need a stage? What about room for a 5 person band and a dance floor?
All of these additions take up space so it’s important that you inform the venue about them. Just because the venue can accommodate a certain number of guests doesn’t necessarily mean the venue can accommodate all of the extras you’re hoping to also have.
5. What’s the catering situation like?
Another critical question to ask a venue is whether or not the catering is done in-house or will you need to bring in an outside caterer? At Riverbanks, we require all catering to go through our onsite, exclusive event caterer and one of the reasons for this is because it ensures maximum efficiencies, as the layout and logistics of our venue are quite unique. However, if you’re the one planning an event, and your mind and wallet are set on bringing in your own caterer, the fact that we don’t allow outside catering could make or break your decision.
In conclusion: Enjoy planning your event
Asking an event venue the right questions early in the venue searching stages will not only save you time but it can also help you avoid any unwanted surprises and unexpected expenditures. Enjoy planing your milestone Birthday party in The Arc, your outdoor wedding in Magnolia’s Garden Terrace, or your company picnic in Safari Camp! We hope to take some of the load off your shoulders.