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Venue Selection - A through Z

Date: 6/4/2004
Written By: Sharon Graham, Caterer and publisher of Houston Venue Guide

 

If planning an event is like the alphabet, then selecting your venue is the letter A. 

Confirming your venue must be the first step for any successful event. Not sure where to start your search for the perfect venue? Ask yourself these simple questions: 
1. What type of event do you want to have? 
2. Geographically, what's your ideal location or part of town? 
3. What is the maximum you're willing to spend on the entire event? 
4. And most importantly, are you flexible on your date? If so, keep reading since you'll have several options to choose from and thus compare. Otherwise, your date may dictate your venue.
 
It's not always easy to compare venues since there is rarely an apples-to-apples comparison. Each venue has a unique set of guidelines, so make sure you review and understand the details. When in doubt, ask for clarification – a misunderstanding can result in a costly mistake. 

For instance: Fees/Rates - Exactly what does my fee include? How many hours can I use the facility? What are the penalties if I go over my time allotment? 
Deposit - When is payment required? Is the deposit fully, partially or non-refundable? What forms of payment are accepted? When is the deposit released? 

Security - What is required? Do you have security available or do I need to provide my own? Is this expense included in the overall facility rental fee? 

Parking - What type of parking is available? How many cars can park on-site? Is valet parking available? What are the associated fees? Do I need to pre-pay for my guests? 

Catering/Liquor  - Do you have a preferred or exclusive vendor, or can I use whomever I want? If so, do I have to pay any extra fees? Can you explain the catering staff hours? 

On-site assistance - Will you provide on-site staff during set-up and breakdown? What about during the event? Are there additional costs or are they included in the overall facility rental fee? 

Décor - What are the dos and don'ts? Rentals Does the facility rental fee include tables, chairs and linens or will I need to rent them separately? 

The above checklist will help you compare venues so you can be sure you are selecting the perfect place for your event. Remember an inflexible event date will be a major factor when selecting your location. But if your event date is flexible, you can often look at several locations before selecting one. And once you have selected your location, you can begin planning your event! 

On to letters B through Z!