Where Should I Host My Event?
In today's society, the options for event venues are unlimited. With an open mind and vision, you can basically transform any space into an event venue. This is great because chances are, you get to hold your event on the exact day that you want! If one venue is booked, you'll likely find space at another one. It also gives us a chance to make somewhere that's not a typical event venue into something beautiful and unique.
With that being said... it can also be extremely overwhelming. Where do you start in your search? Which elements of a venue are a must for your event, and which ones aren't so important?
We've all done the generic "event venue near me" Google search... and you get results from a 5 star hotel to your local legion to a rental company. That search was not likely any help whatsoever, so now what?!
To make it a little easier for you, I've made a list of the most popular venue types and a few pros and cons for each! Once you've narrowed down the venue type that is your best fit, then you can actually start your search!
Everything is already on site and the only rentals you have to worry about are decor; no need to bring in tables, chairs, cutlery, glassware, etc.!
Banquet facilities have an event coordinator on site to help you with the planning process. They will work with you to develop your timeline, schedule, meal, bar preferences, setup, etc. Basically any elements that have anything to do with the venue, the event coordinator will help you with!
You typically can't bring in any outside food or drinks; you have to use the kitchen and bar that they have on site, which means you might not like the menu (typically, the only exclusion to this is a wedding cake).
The price per plate is usually on the higher end, since everything is on site and there are so many inclusions.
If it's a large banquet facility, they will likely have more than one hall in the building, meaning your event might not be the only one taking place that day.
You have a blank canvas to work with! There aren't any existing fixtures, decor, themes, etc. You get to make it exactly what you want and decorate it as so.
You get to have your event in some really beautiful settings. Since large event tents can be set up in most places, you get to pick your scenery and surroundings.
You get to bring in whatever food and drinks you want, especially if you're on a private property! If you have a specific caterer in mind, or you want your bar contents to include 12 different brands, you have the freedom to do so.
Tented events are typically on the more expensive side, and I don't just mean the tent rental itself. You have to bring in every single thing that you need for your event: tables, chairs, electricity, washrooms, dance floor, decor, linens, a bar... I could go on and on, but you get the point. This also adds another level of work and effort to put on your event.
The weather can't be controlled, and isn't always going to work in your favor. Tented events always always need to have a backup plan in case Mother Nature has something else in mind for your event.
They are usually so so beautiful and set on great properties.
A lot of event barns are privately owned, so you get some of the freedom and flexibility you do with tented events, but you get a structurally sound building that is out of the elements! Most will let you bring in external catering and your own bar contents.
**REMEMBER: anywhere that lets you bring in your own alcohol requires you to get your own liquor license/SOP. Make sure you do this well before your event and have all your bases covered!**
Event barns are hard to change the theme and style of; if you've booked your event at an event barn, you're likely going to have a rustic/modern country vibe to it. If that's the theme you're going for then great! But if it's not, you're going to have a tough time decorating to convince your guests otherwise.
Not all event barns have washrooms in them, so you have to rent those and get them brought on site. This, along with asking about electricity/water, are the most important questions to ask during your first visit.
Golf and Country Clubs
Similar to banquet halls, all of your rentals are included in the booking fee. Some even have full packages that include decorating, DJ, etc.
Your event photos will be on perfectly manicured lawns and they will have stunning, flawless backdrops!
Golf course kitchens are held to a pretty high standard, so you know your food is going to be delish!
Unless your event is for an extremely large number of people, the golf course is still going to be open while you're event is going on, which could make it not as private as you want. Again, similar to banquet facilities, they likely have more than one event room and you might have to share the space.
Golf/country clubs are usually immaculate and 5 star which is great, but be ready to pay for that!
Beautiful surroundings and they give your event a great niche - they aren't a hugely popular venue choice yet so it gives your event that leg up.
Most wineries/breweries are local or family owned, so your event could be putting food on the table for someone. Added onto this, small venues take pride in what they're offering you, so you know they are going to put their heart and soul into your event.
Hopefully you like the drinks that they serve/make, because you won't be getting anything else on the menu and you can't bring in any outside drinks.
A lot aren't set up specifically for events. They're going to make it work for you, but this means you might have quite a few limitations and still be bringing in lots of external items/rentals.
Parks usually have some great scenery and surroundings, along with close amenities.
They usually have very low rental fees!
Most are municipality owned, which means that there will be quite a few restrictions and policies in place that you have to work with.
Parks usually have limited privacy and you could get members of the public coming onto your event space.
To sum it up, every event venue has it's pros and cons, but you need to decide what's most important to you about your event and then work from there. Use this pro and con list to narrow your venue selection down to three venues: any more than that is overwhelming and gives you too many options, but you don't want to just give yourself one choice to consider.
Visit the venues, ask a TON of questions, take pictures and then weigh your options. Make sure the venue will be a perfect fit for the vision that you have in mind, and trust your instinct! If something feels too good to be true, it most likely is.
Consulting sessions are available through Brightside to help with single aspects of your event. We charge $75 for the first hour (which is usually used for research specific to your event, venue sourcing, putting together catering options, etc.) and then $50 for every hour after that. If you're struggling with a specific element during your event planning, this is a great option to get the expertise and assistance of someone in the industry, while still doing the planning yourself!
Please let me know if you need help in your venue search, or just want another brain to bounce ideas and options off of!
Thanks for reading :)