So, the event planning process is in full swing. But you want to make sure you’re on the same page with the event venue before signing the dotted line.
If this sounds like you, then I’ve got you covered. Below are the 10 questions you absolutely must ask any event space before booking your ceremonies with them.
See Related: How to Improve Employee Engagement in 15 Easy Steps
Key Questions To Ask A Venue
- Is your preferred date available?
- What’s their max capacity?
- What is the general vibe of the venue?
- What amenities will the venue offer?
- What is the venue’s cancellation policy?
- Is parking included in the cost of the venue?
- Is there a minimum on food and beverage?
- Does the venue have any restrictions?
- How much time do you have to set up before the event?
- Does the venue offer payment plans?
#1. Start with the event date
Before diving into all the details, let’s start with the most important one. Do you have a certain date in mind and can the venue accommodate that same date?
Obviously, you’ll have more wiggle room with event venues if your date is flexible. But before you get into any other details with the event staff, always start with the date.
#2. What’s their maximum capacity?
Next, you’ll want to know how many guests you can invite to your event. Some venues will give specific details on their website about their event spaces, depicting a typical layout.
But if you can get a room layout beforehand, it will make your planning process all the easier. During this question, also be sure to clarify how exactly you will be using the venue rental so all parties are on the same page.
#3. What’s the vibe and ambiance of the event venue?
You want to plan a successful event, right? Then you need to make sure that the perfect venue also captures the perfect ambiance.
Are you hosting a corporate event? An after-hours cocktail party? Will you be requiring a master of ceremonies to help you throughout the evening?
Getting a sense of what you envision for your event will help you determine the right space to host in. This may lead to questions like, “Does the venue provide sound equipment?” or “Are there parking fees or available parking on site?”
As you can see, the general theme you’re going for will also lead down several rabbit holes filled with important questions.
#4. What amenities are offered?
Not all venues offer the same amenities. Some may cover bathrooms, security, and Wi-Fi while other venues require you to obtain your own liquor license, sound system, and more.
Knowing what amenities are covered will certainly help you visualize all the costs for the evening. So make sure no additional costs surprise you in the end.
#5. Inquire about the venue’s cancellation policy
Cancellation policies have become more stringent than ever with COVID-19. Of course, other unexpected events may come up too, so it’s important to learn whether there is a cancellation fee that will apply.
These fees can vary from venue to venue so it’s important to ask about the non-refundable deposit. The last thing you want is to have to pay an additional fee due to other events that infringe upon your predetermined plans.
#6. How many parking spaces are available on site?
Ask every potential venue about on-site parking. Some venues request that guests park at an off-site location or, if they’re overnight guests, that they park at hotels nearby.
Either way, you’ll want to make sure you know how many spaces are available for your guests. This may also affect any loading equipment you may bring and especially if you hire your own caterer.
#7. Is there a food and beverage minimum?
Many event spaces will either require that you use their in-house kitchen and staff or that you work with a caterer from their preferred vendor list. If this is the case, find out if there’s a food and beverage minimum that accompanies the preferred list as this will impact your costs.
You never know what consequences might be lurking if you don’t meet the minimum. So be sure to get all the information you can upfront.
#8. Are there any restrictions?
Every venue will have its own set of restrictions typically in regard to alcohol, smoking, music, and other noise restrictions. Ask a venue about these in advance while also making sure to note if there are any curfews.
The last thing you want is to hire an emcee to get the party started only to find out that the party ends promptly at 9:00.
#9. What time can you access the venue prior to the event for set up?
Planning an event means juggling a lot of different things all at once. So knowing how much time you have to set up beforehand will be crucial for planning out the timing of everything.
Some event spaces offer a day for set up, free of charge. But if you have a particular event with lots of requirements and ample loading time, the venue may ask that you rent for more than just the day of the event.
#10. Do they offer a payment plan to cover overall costs?
Lastly, ask if the venue offers payment schedules. Aside from the rental fee, there will be plenty more costs for you to have to consider.
So if you’re able to get on a planned payment scheme to make your wildest event dreams come true, do it. From menu tasting to cover for unexpected costs, a plan can offer you greater flexibility in the long run.
Your event shouldn’t have to suffer from the unexpected. So find a plan and a venue that will work with you to meet your event goals and needs.
In my time as an emcee, I’ve seen plenty of successful events. And I’ve also seen my fair share of unsuccessful events due to poor planning.
So get ahead of the curve and ask these questions to every venue you pursue. You may just find your perfect fit based on the specific qualifications they’re able to offer.
Adam Christing has been called “The Tom Brady of emcees.” He has hosted more than 1,000 company meetings, special events, gala celebrations, and more. He is the author of several books and founder of CleanComedians.com. For more event tips, follow Adam Christing on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube.