When you begin organizing an event, you will need to make many decisions, but one of the most important will be the venue. The venue can affect the date, the catering and more. You need to start looking for a venue as soon as possible, and many venues will need to be booked 4-6 months in advance. You first need to think about your budget, and how many people you expect to attend. Once you have estimates for those, you can start taking other considerations into account.
If your attendees are local, then the venue should be within a reasonable distance from the attendees’ homes, or workplaces. If the attendees will be traveling, then look for a venue near the airport, train station or hotels.
You should think about the parking options for the venue. Is there a parking lot, or valet parking? If there isn’t are there parking lots nearby? Could you offer your own valet?
You really need to think about the capacity of the venues you’re looking at, and your estimated number of attendees.
Some venues have a minimum spend for food and beverages. You need to consider if your estimates will meet or exceed the minimum. You may be able to negotiate extras if the spending for your event reaches a certain level.
You need to think about if the venue has its own kitchen, and if not, do they have a partnership with a caterer. You should also research the caterer and check out any reviews they have. You should ask if the venue will provide tables, chairs, linens, and serving ware, and if they have staff to set up before the event, and clean up after, or will you need to do this yourself. You may also need AV for your event, so will the venue provide equipment and support.
If your event will have activities, you will need to think about the layout. Ask each venue to give you an illustrated floor plan, so you can get an idea about the traffic flow, if there’s a stage, or where you could put one if needed.
Does the decor, and ambiance inside the venue match your event? If it doesn’t, will you be able to decorate it appropriately?
Does the venue provide complete insurance, or will you need to find insurance? Some venues won’t host an event unless you have your own insurance.
Is the venue accessible for everyone? Can people with special needs access the building, its services, and amenities?
The acoustics are how sound travels through the venue, so you need to consider how the sound will be at the time of your event.