A New Yorker's Guide to Choosing the Right Venue
Planning any event is stressful, no matter how big or how small. The process will go smoothly if you take a couple deep breaths before diving straight into it. Breathe in, breathe out. Don't freak out. So where do you start when thinking of having an event? Here are a few things for you to consider:
"How much is this going to cost me?"
This is one of the first things you should be thinking about. Know your budget. You don't want to overspend and go over your budget, leaving a gaping hole in your bank account. You also want everyone, yourself included, to have a good time. But having a memorable event doesn't necessarily have to break the bank. Spending tons of money on a fancy venue isn't equal to having a successful event.
"What kind of event are we having?"
Is this a corporate event? A wedding? A baby shower? A surprise party for your best friend?
Understand what kind of event you're hosting before you book a venue. There may be certain features that work better for you. Think about what you need for the event as well. Some venues cater to certain kinds of events.
"How many people can this place hold anyway?"
No one wants to be the 200th person in a room that is supposed to hold 100 people. You need room to breathe, to socialize, and move around. Crowded spaces will only make people uncomfortable, taking away from their experience at your event.
Try to book a venue for the right amount of people. If the venue only fits 100 people, it probably only holds 100 people. Don't over-do it.
"What can I get out of this?"
Upon booking the venue, consider what comes with it? Is there Wi-Fi available? A sound system? Rooftop access? Will you be standing in an empty room or will there be tables and chairs? Are there sitting areas? Who wants to stand around for two or more hours without sitting? Probably not you.
Does the venue have an elevator that's up and running? No one will want to go up ten flights of stairs and nearly have an asthma attack in the process. Is there security on the premises? Is it wheelchair accessible? Because who wants to have a team of two people carrying your great aunt up the stairs? Definitely not you. Are the bathrooms clean, and have soap? No one wants to use a dirty bathroom.
"Where is this place located?"
Location is key. It can make or break your event. No one wants to have an event in a crappy, hard-to-get-to area.
Nothing kills the mood faster than having nowhere to park. Being in New York City is already a hassle, with limited parking, and inconvenient garages. You'll want to make sure that your guests, if some are planning on driving, are able to park somewhere. You want to make sure that they actually make it to the event without unknowingly sending them back home in frustration at the lack of available parking.
For those guests that will be using the subway, you'll want to make sure the venue is easy to get to, with train and bus stations nearby. If you're event is in the middle of Queens with a twenty minute walk from the nearest train station and no bus in sight, it can be a pain . . . and not the good kind.
"What kinds of services are provided?"
You'll want to find out about food and drinks for your guests, assuming that you are interested in feeding your guests. Are catering services provided? Is there an additional cost? Can you bring your own food? Will you be bringing your own decorations? Do they provide help for setting up and breakdown.
What are the venue's restrictions? Can you serve alcohol? Can you sell drinks? Can you hire a bartender? A DJ? An entertainer? Are there cleaning services or will you have to round up your friends to help clean up after the event is over?
All of these are important factors need to be kept in mind. You want to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible. You want your guests to have fun. You want people to remember your event, preferably because there was good music and good food. Not because there was that one girl who had a little too much to drink and puked all over the floors. Or because the music sucked. After considering these factors, you're already on the road to choosing the perfect venue and having a successful event!