Venues - Does SIZE really matter?

When faced with organizing a social event, whether its a wedding breakfast, birthday party, or family dinner you'll want to find a venue that meets all your needs and your expectations, preferably without breaking the bank. In this article I'll look at the size of venue, facilities you might need and what you might need them for.

There are several key elements that will determine your choice of venue:

  • The number of guests at the event
  • The amount of budget you have available to spend
  • Is your preferred venue available on the day you want it?

I'll look at availability and making the best of your budget in future articles, but assuming it's the guests that will make the event a great success, then knowing how many you have got will mean you can rule out some venues straight away.  On the other hand if you've got a specific venue in mind, it's capacity will limit the number of guests at your event.

You may already know of some suitable venues locally but if you're stuck for inspiration take a look at Venues 4 hire. This is a one stop directory of venues across the UK; just put in your postcode and a search radius to find a whole range of venues at your fingertips.  You can then filter by venue type from castles to sports halls and also by capacity.

Ok, so you've got a space big enough for your main event but you'll probably need more than one space, even if its only somewhere to set up a finger buffet. Many venues will not only have additional smaller rooms with capacity for say 10-20 people, but can also partition off their main space with sliding doors giving you, the client much more choice.  

When looking at and visiting prospective venues be sure to know exactly how many individual spaces you will need and what you want to use them for e.g:

  • Seating - Once you know the venue's maximum capacity, find out what this is for, as a venue with a capacity of 300 may only seat 200 at a dinner with round tables, and the 300 is the capacity for a canapes and drinks reception.
  • Food - is this table service as for a formal wedding breakfast, a self service buffet, serving stations or canapes at a drinks reception.
  • Kitchen - If you are hiring your own caterer, is there a separate kitchen facility with its own access and full facilities, be sure to get a copy of the inventory prior to signing any contract.
  • Creche or children's play area - It could be especially useful at a wedding breakfast to have a separate space for little ones to play in once the meal is over.
  • Gift display - again useful at a wedding breakfast or perhaps a big birthday or retirement bash, a small room a short distance away from the main event space where people can leave gifts, and where they are unlikely to be at risk of damage.
  • Bar - no self respecting venue will be without a bar of some sort, or at least a licence allowing the consumption of alcohol on the premises.  If the venue only has a licence, and you can hire your own bar, how much space will it take up, where will you put it and how long will it be there etc etc.
  • Toilets - where are the nearest toilets for you and your guests, this will be particularly important for any disabled users, or people with mobility concerns.
  • Disabled facilities - All venues should have measures and facilities in pace to accommodate disabled persons, e.g ramps for wheel chairs next to steps, wider doorways, specific or adapted toilets, and hearing induction loops are all examples.  If you are unsure what to look for; Citizens advice has some useful information.
  • Accommodation - do you have guests who may need overnight accommodation, there is possible haggle room here if you can guarantee a certain number of bedroom bookings you may be able to negotiate a reduced rate on some other parts of your event.

Just some of the things to consider; next time I'll look at the part the availability of a venue plays in your event.