Humdrum, boring, expected. Those are three words you never want to hear associated with your event. One way to make your event stand out is by getting creative with all of the ways you can use your event venue. After all, choosing the right venue can make or break your event.
Because the ambiance of a work event may differ slightly from that of a gala fundraiser or a birthday party, finding the right venue is essential. It sets the tone for the whole event. From finding the perfect location to creative furnishing ideas to customize the venue, we’ve rounded up the most impactful event planning tips to make your next event memorable and successful.
Finding the Perfect Event Venue
Whether you’re seeking a venue for a work event, a grand party, or bingo night, picking the right spot is arguably one of the most important choices you’ll make. Where you hold an event and the ambiance you create at the venue can be make-or-break factors in the success of your event.
Size of the Venue
There are two important questions to ask when you’re determining if a space is the right size. First, how many people can the space accommodate? Second, what is the venue’s square footage? To make sure you have ample square footage, choose a venue with a capacity of at least 20 to 25 percent greater than the number of people on your guest list.
Cost of the Venue
The timing of your event can make a big difference to your bottom line. Choosing a low-demand time can help keep the venue costs low. Choosing unconventional event venues can also help maximize available space while minimizing cost.
Venue Extras and Restrictions
Knowing what you can or can’t do within the venue is also an important factor. For example, some venues will restrict your decor options, while others may not have the ability to accommodate audio/visual equipment or other personalized touches. Make sure you ask questions to make sure you’ll be able to run your event as planned. Examples of questions to ask in advance include:
- Does the venue offer a setup/clean up, crew?
- Are there restrictions on food and beverages allowed in the venue?
- Is the event security provided?
- Can the venue arrange valet parking?
Creative Event Venues
Choosing an unconventional location for an event can cut costs and provide your guests with a memorable and unique experience. If you want to explore creative and unconventional event venues, here are a few ideas to consider:
- Parking Lots: These huge empty spaces are a blank canvas. Set up lounges in one area, dining in another. Have your local classic car club bring in gorgeous cars to arrange in rows as a drive-in theater or unique seating area. Cater to the event or have food trucks come in and park along the perimeter with live entertainment in the center.
- Parking Garages: Use the top floor, which often has outstanding views of your city or town, as your event space and enjoy built-in parking on the floors below.
- The Airport: Like parking lots, airport hangars are a large, open space just waiting for your personal touch. Tarmacs can also make a great spot to stage an event, using planes to define the space and portable screens for visual projections.
- Nightclubs During the Day: Add a cool, edgy vibe to your event by choosing a nightclub as your venue. Most clubs are closed during the day, which means you might score a great deal.
Event Venues on a Budget
Event venues can take up a significant portion of your budget. If you’re trying to keep costs down without sacrificing the cool factor, a little creativity can help make inexpensive event venues look upscale. Three of our favorite inexpensive and free event venues include universities, art schools, and museums.
Colleges and universities have a wide variety of spaces, including classrooms, lecture halls, and theaters. These options work particularly well as unique corporate event venues, but large halls, planetariums, and outdoor spaces in universities can also provide an inexpensive backdrop for swanky gatherings and galas of all kinds.
Most art schools prominently feature student artwork, adding a dynamic and creative element to the space. Play up this ambiance by showcasing your event’s key takeaways on canvases positioned throughout the venue, encouraging guests to move organically from idea to idea. Consider inviting art students to create unique pieces tied into your event’s theme for an interactive element.
When you hold an event at an alternative venue like a museum, you can tap into the prestige the venue already has in the community and use the surroundings for inspiration. Consider organizing guides to hold museum tours for guests as part of the event experience or place different elements of the event in different galleries.
Finding a Venue for an Event Fast
Need to find a venue fast? Set yourself up for success by figuring out exactly what you want and need before starting your search. Otherwise, you could waste time exploring options and touring locations that don’t meet your needs. Once you’ve determined what kind of venue you need, start exploring your options. To speed up the process, consider tapping into the power of online venue finders.
Online venue finders like Cvent, Aventri. Kapow and EVENTup make fast work of the venue shopping process. Their technology lets you compare features, see pricing options, and request tours and availability information all in one spot. Because you already know what kind of ambiance, size, and pricing you’re looking for, you’ll be able to pick the perfect location quickly and easily.
Setting a Scene Onsite
How do you want guests to feel while they’re at your event? The layout you create will go a long way in determining the event’s ambiance. For corporate meetings or seminars, consider arranging long work tables with comfortable seating in the main space with a screen at the front of the room for presentations and a podium for speakers.
For a relaxed, festive fête, arrange round tables and chairs cabaret-style, with plenty of room for mingling and ample space for live entertainment. In another section, provide long couches and comfortable chairs for networking and chatting over cocktails and appetizers before a seated meal.
One great benefit of choosing unconventional event venues like universities or museums is your ability to control the design and decor. Furniture rental provides the ultimate versatility and agility for all types of events, allowing you to scale your furnishing needs up or down as your guest list evolves. With options ranging from luxe lounge furniture to comfortable conference tables perfect for meetings and collaboration, CORT has all your event venue needs covered.