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Six Steps To A PERFECT Venue!

Size

When choosing the perfect venue, first decide on the size of the room or venue you will need.  Consider such things as guest tables (round tables take up more room but are much nicer), food stations (buffets, bars, coffee, desserts), activities (casino gambling stations, carnival games, inflatables, video games), entertainment (live band, dance floor, roving magician, actors). Don’t forget about sight lines. Nothing is worse than setting up your floor plan only to realize pillars block the view of the stage for a third of the guests.

Want fire acts and other entertainment? Make sure your venue says yes.

Location

The second decision –  location.  I always suggest taking a poll of the guests to determine which area of the city your guests will be arriving from. Find out if the venue has free parking for your guests or at least a reduced rate. We have found hosting events close to transit is a good idea, especially if alcohol will be served.

Guest rooms

If a venue is part of or near to a hotel, it is a good idea to ask for a corporate rate and block off some rooms. With drinking and driving penalties tougher than ever, giving guests this option is a great idea.

Date

The date depends on the nature of the event.  If you are hosting a business event, it should be held on an afternoon on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday (the most popular choice). If the event is purely of a social nature, the most popular time is in the evening on a Saturday, with Friday a close second.

Budget

Once you’ve determined the size of venue, where you would like to hold your event and on what date, what’s next?  Plan a rough budget. So many times the venue seems PERFECT but you soon realize you can’t afford the room rental, food and beverage charges, furniture rentals, or all of the extra fees such as audio visual, linen rentals, etc. Prepare your budget before you fall in love with a venue, not after. Stretching your budget to fit the venue is not a good idea.

Theme

Once we planned an elaborate circus theme for a client, only to find out the venue wouldn’t allow wild animals on its premises. No lions and eagles that night.  Ask the venue about any restrictions – such as set up time limits, hanging things from walls and ceilings, open flame policy, fire ban (what!?  No fire spinners or indoor fireworks allowed!).

Summary

Once you have found the perfect venue, make sure you put down a deposit and sign a contract.  I have heard horror stories from those who waited while they trying to decide between a few venues, only to discover the venue they really wanted was booked while they considered other options.

Find out up front from the venue exactly what your costs will be. Early in my career I received an invoice from a venue after the event, only to discover I had to pay extra for coat check attendants, venue cleaning after the event, additional security I didn’t know I needed, etc.

Lastly, find out just what is included in your room rental.  Oh yes, the venue has tables and chairs in the room, but there is a usually a cost to use them.  Maybe the venue has more colored linen in the back or even chair covers you could borrow or rent cheaply. Some venues have very nice centerpieces or vases you can use if you rent their room.  Remember, the venue is there to work with you. They too want the event to be successful, so that you will return when it’s time to plan your next event.

Bright Ideas Producing BC EveryWoman™ Competition

Bright Ideas Event Coordinators Ltd. has secured the British Columbia rights to produce the EveryWoman™ competition for the province. We are absolutely thrilled to be a part of this ground-breaking event and look forward to meeting the many BC EveryWomen™ we know are out there. Please join us when we honour their contributions to business, family, and community and pick the representatives who will do us proud at the national finals September 8, 2011, at historic Exhibition Place in Toronto. The British Columbia competition will be held Saturday, June 25, 2011 at the Rocky Mountaineer Train Station located at 1755 Cottrell Street, Vancouver.

The EveryWoman™ Competition is a nation-wide search for exceptional women – a celebration of life and self worth, of laughter and tears, of inner beauty and outward charm. Its gives women ages 18+ the opportunity to display their inner beauty, talents, philosophy and elegance.

Success is more than skin deep. Intelligence, compassion, leadership, healthy living – these are what make a woman truly beautiful. And if you know a woman who possesses these qualities, you may also know the future winner of the 2011 EveryWoman™ Competition. Nominate an EveryWoman™ you know. The entry deadline is January 31, 2011.

Ask The Event Planner

How far in advance of my event date should I book my venue?

It really depends on the type of event. Christmas events and annual summer events can usually be booked 11 months in advance. The ideal time to book your venue is at least 6 months before your event, so that you have ample planning time.

How do I estimate the size of venue needed for my event?

Start by asking the prospective venue. They host hundreds of events and will be able to recommend the right size of room for you.  If you are bringing in entertainment or activities, it is best to draw a rough floor plan placing all the items you are including.  Show your floor plan to your venue to see if they think all the components will be accommodated.

What is the biggest mistake when choosing a venue?

Underestimating how much space will be required. There is nothing worse then an overcrowded room once all of the activities and entertainment are in place.

Is there a book or online list of venues located in Metro Vancouver?

Business in Vancouver produces a hard copy magazine called Meeting Places. 604-688-2398 or view it online.

Sharon Bonner, Bright Ideas Event Coordinators President and CEO

Have a question for Sharon?

Find the answer before your next event. If you have specific questions, or want to know more about event planning best practices, email Sharon with the subject line ‘Ask an Event Planner’ and we’ll answer your question in an upcoming edition of our newsletter.

Bright Ideas’ Top 3 Venues

1.Rocky Mountaineer

Great location, versatile space, ample car and bus parking. Perfect for theme events and large galas.

2. Brock House

Amazing ocean view, licensed, and boasting classic heritage charm. Ideal for corporate barbeques.

3. Italian Cultural Centre

Newly renovated, central location, gourmet Italian cuisine. A beautiful venue at a competitive price.

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