If you’ve ever thrown any sort of party then you know how important the right venue is.  Getting the right venue can mean the difference between a memorable or forgettable occasion. Sometimes a place with perfect view isn’t able to accommodate all of your needs.

If you are new to looking for a venue, or you have a special occasion coming up make sure you ask these questions and avoid despair later.

How many people does it hold?

Everybody has heard the horror story of a bride having to un-invite guests. Some venues can only take a very limited capacity – you don’t want guests to be standing at a sit down dinner. Make sure you ask exactly how many the venue can hold, and whether that is round tables, long tables or a cocktail set-up (with everyone standing). Remember, the venue organisers know how many people will comfortably fit. Don’t try to sneak in more than they recommend – this can pose a myriad of health and safety problems.

Can I bring in my own caterer?

There are venues that have very strict rules about bringing in caterers. They might prefer you to use their in-house service or one of their preferred suppliers who know the venue and has worked there before. If you have your heart set on a specific caterer find out before you sign if this will be ok. Most venues charge a deposit to book and you’ll end up losing money if you cancel.

Who supplies chairs and tables? Is linen included? Are there any hidden costs?

Some venues come just as they are and it’s up to you to supply everything that makes the function happen. In your first meeting get a written list of exactly what the venue will supply and what you will need to bring in. If they supply linen – tablecloths and napkins – ask what colours these come in, or are you limited to white? Check if there are any surcharges for bringing in the caterers you want, doing your own flowers or finishing late.

Which brings us to our next question…

What time do I have to be out of here?

Most places will have a strict guideline about what time you need to be in and out of there. Make sure you check exactly what these are, and if you can extend if you would like to. Ask about supplier delivery and collection times. Be sure to factor in your supplier’s set-up and break down period. For a simple event not much time is needed, but for more elaborate ones (like a wedding) your suppliers will want to have early access to get the set-up perfect for you.

Your venue will contribute to the success of your party or event. It’s very important not to overlook the smaller details.

Are there any questions we missed out here? Let us know in the comments below.

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