“The venue has to know what it’s buying.”
THINK BEFORE YOU SELECT
Think of all your requirements before even setting about to look for a location for your event. In addition to the number of people and the seating arrangement you want, think of other details. Do you want a rear screen projection? Do you want a dance floor? Do you need storage space? Do the musicians or performers need a change room? What ceiling height and clear space are needed for the sight-line and the spectacle you desire for the event? Will you need a blackout for a visual presentation? These are a few among many things to consider before you select your venue. Only when you have a complete wish list ready can you know what best you can get out of a venue and what compromises you are prepared to make.
You want a room that looks comfortably packed and vibrant, but does not look overcrowded. Faced with a choice between a slightly bigger and a slightly smaller room, go for the bigger room. You can always reduce its size through decoration. If you are using a portion of a larger ballroom, inspect it when it is whole empty with the air wall in place. See if noise from the other side of the partition can pose a problem. Try and set up staging in a manner that minimizes bad seats in the audience. Watch out for pillars and hanging chandeliers that disrupt the sightline. Always optimize the floor plan. Ask the facility to provide a layout based on what you are looking for.
For a cocktail reception you require about 9 square feet (0.84 sq. m) per person, whereas for cocktails with food stations you will need about 13 to 16 square feet (1.39 sq. m) per person. For a seated dinner you need about 21 square feet (1.95 sq. m) per person. A dance floor is comfortable with about 3.5 sq. feet (0.33 sq. m) per person. If you have a live band playing, then provide for about 20 square feet (1.86 sq. m) per instrument. For a formal sit-down dinner, seat eight people on tables of ten and ten on tables of twelve. Make sure that tables are not too close together to hamper easy movement.
Check if the room has the type of floor you are looking for. You can transform any floor to conform to your needs. If you need a dance floor, how big does it need to be? Also think if you want air walls to be in place for a part of your event and then removed. Are they manual or powered?
Decide on how the room will be set up. Is it a plated dinner or a buffet or will food be passed? Think of the seating accordingly. For example, you could have people seated in already designated places or people could be standing with some scattered seating available.
Make sure that tear-down of any adjacent events at the facility does not coincide with the timing of your event. You certainly don’t want hammering or packing noise while your event is still going on.
If your event involves a stage, will it be revolving? Will you require ramps? Make sure that the décor of your stage works with what will be taking place on the stage. Make sure you coordinate with all your suppliers to ensure your staging requirements. Also consider if your stage area will require draping.
If your event includes a live performance, find out if a rehearsal is required by the cast and for how long. Ensure making time and space available accordingly. Similarly, also find out how much time will be needed for setting up the audio-visual requirements. Where possible, it is better to have a single supplier that can cater to your needs for audio-visual, lighting, and staging. Spend more money on what is essential for the success of your event. For example, you may need only a simple stage but an absolutely top-notch audio-visual set-up. Likewise, in music programs, light effects may be of essential importance in some but may not be so important in some others. Spend and execute around what best fits your needs and not what is easily available or is nice to have.
Find out from the facility if they offer any special effects that you can use. Even restaurants often offer special effects such as special lighting, laser shows, waterfalls etc. Also find out if there are any restrictions on indoor fireworks, laser show, or any other special effects you have in mind.
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