When you’re planning a big event, often we can get sidetracked by the big picture vision…the décor, the food, the atmosphere and the overall visual effect. That’s fantastic because having a wonderful vision of what you want to produce is the first step in getting there. It helps you to plan the capacity, choose the venue and start to put your imagination to work. Once you’ve don’t that, you’ll need to consider the logistical details that will be essential in making your vision come together. It will impact the layout, the potential entertainment and processes and the costs associated with these elements.
Knowing this while selecting your venue is significant and also knowing whether you will be tied to exclusive suppliers is something else that you may want to consider. The capacity to negotiate becomes difficult when you are not allowed to employ some of the companies that you’ve worked with in the past and that are happy to cut you a deal.
Do a site visit and check for where power outlets are located, how many are available and what capacities they have when considering special lighting effects. Explore the space and try to see in your mind how you will set up and where staging, audio components and other AV aspects will come into play. Can you set up a sound board and are there already screens and staging in place? Can it be moved and if so, what will the cost be to do so? What is the existing lighting and what needs to be brought in? Can the room accommodate that?
You’ll need to consider guest needs around the venue as well and employ special elements as required. It is pretty standard for most venues to be enabled for special needs accommodations with ramps and handicapped restrooms, etc. and if not, you may want to consider something different so as not to exclude potential attendees.
Envision the catering plan and ensure that there is sufficient space for whatever you might need. Are there ovens, stoves, and fridges on site or will your caterer need to supply their own? If so, where will that be done and what is the potential flow from the culinary staging area to the serving area. Is there already a bar setup and is it sufficient? Who is staffing the bar – is it the venue or is it the caterer?
Consider the size of the room and what, besides guests, must be set up. Displays, tradeshow booths, banners, registration, coat check, storage. Walk through the floorplan and plan out where each of these will be and see how it works with the show flow.
Find out when you can move in for setup and how quickly you will need to takedown at the end of the event and determine if this is sufficient time for you to make your vision a reality. Look at the logistics around moving materials in and out. Is there an elevator and is it large enough? Is there a delivery bay for large equipment and dollies for moving it into the room?
You will also need to consider the safety needs of your staff and guests. What kind of insurance does the venue carry and how much more will you need to purchase to adhere to local regulations?
Once you are aware of the technical aspects, you can shift and change your vision to compromise where necessary and open those conversations with the client as required. Make sure that they understand any limitations that might exist in advance of signing off on the venue or you’ll be in for some very tense conversations afterward. Keep all of this in mind when you are selecting your venue, keep communication open with clients and suppliers and all should run as smoothly as possible.