Planning an event can be an extremely fun and rewarding task especially if it is for a loved one. But for many, organising an event isn’t something that they’ve done before, so we’ve broken it down for you in a step by step guide to make the process as simple as possible. So, whether you’re planning a birthday party, an anniversary celebration or maybe even a wedding reception, we’ve got you covered.
Step 1: Key Requirements
Before you begin searching for a venue for your event, firstly have a brainstorm of what your key requirements are. These could include location, accommodation, whether you can provide your own catering and guest numbers. It’s no good having a show-round of a venue that can only seat 50 guests when you know you’ll like have 100. Equally, there’s little point viewing a city centre venue with no parking, when the majority of your guests are going to drive. So, before you approach venues, sit down and make a list of all the things that you need in order for your event to be a success – call it your key criteria. This will also help you narrow down exactly what you are looking for when you move onto Step 2…
Step 2: Venue Search
Now that you know what you need, you can begin looking at venues. Doing this by location first is ultimately the best way. Once you’ve got your location locked in, you can begin narrowing down your search by discarding those venues that don’t meet your criteria.
It is worth bearing in mind that in some situations, the venue may be able to suggest an alternative if they don’t quite meet your requirements. For example, if you know you need accommodation, but the venue you like doesn’t have any, maybe they have a partnership with a local hotel nearby that offer discounted rates that your guests can take advantage of? If these aspects aren’t clear from the venues website, venues are always happy to answer your queries.
Once you’ve decided on what venues meet your criteria and that you like, contact them and arrange to have a show-round. This is where you will meet a member of the Events Team and be shown round the venue. This can include as little or as much as you like. If you are happy just to view the function space then that’s fine, but if you’d like to view the space and a couple of bedrooms, the venue will be more than happy to do so. This show-round is also your chance to ask as many questions as you have to help you decide whether it is the venue for you.
Step 3: Decision & Deposit
Hopefully, one of the venues that you saw, you like so now is the time to confirm with the venue that you’d like to go ahead!
Each venue will work in a slightly different way, but most will ask you to sign a contract for your booking and a pay a deposit to secure it. Pay close attention to the contract as this is where your terms & conditions and cancellation policy will be detailed. It is important to note that whatever number of guests you contract for, will need to be paid for, even if you don’t come up to that number. So, if you are unsure of your guest number and anticipate between 80-100, for example, ask for the contract to be made out for 80. The deposit that you will be asked to pay is usually either a set fee or a % of the total value of your booking. Note that often your deposit is non-refundable.
Once you’ve signed your contract and paid your deposit, you’ll good to go and can send out your invites!
Step 4: Final Details
Between confirming with your venue and the event date itself, it will be up to you to collate your numbers and any menu requirements that you and the venue have agreed. For example, if you are having a buffet, then you will need to finalise the menu with the venue and then ask your guests if they have any dietary or allergy requirements so that you can alert the venue in advance. If you are having a sit-down meal, you will be required to collect your guests pre-orders and send them to your venue prior to your arrival. If you are unsure of when your venue requires this information, simply reach out to them and ask.
It is also a good idea to consider entertainment if you hosting a party. Many DJs and bands get booked well in advance, so as soon as you have confirmed your date with the venue, begin searching for the entertainment that you’d like. Many venues work with the same DJs and bands so will be able to assist you and point you in the direction of trusted suppliers if you are unsure of where to begin.
Another thing to consider are your drinks. If there is a bar in the room, will you set up a tab? Would you like to offer your guests an arrival drink or wine on the table? Ask your venue for different options and prices, if you haven’t already done so, and make sure you add this to your booking in good time.
Once you’ve finalised your event details with the venue you will also need to pay your outstanding balance. Once this is done, there’s nothing to left to do than relax and wait for the big day!
Step 5: Host!
Lastly, the fun step! You’ve done all the hard work, and now you can enjoy your event! Let your venue take over and wine and dine you whilst you enjoy your company and celebrate whatever occasion it is that brought you all together!
Following your event, be sure to leave a positive review on your venue’s social media or TripAdvisor page to let others know how great they are. If you’re feeling particularly generous, why not email your Event Coordinator at the venue directly and express your feedback – they’ll love hearing all about how the event went too.