Selecting a Venue...
When I am planning an event I always think about the venue that could house the event. What do I need? Large open space, multi-space venue, how many people can it hold, catering kitchen, easy access, parking or valet, will the space bring people on its own, do I have to explain the space, etc.? In other words, does it make sense for the event?
When it comes to the venue, price is not always the most important factor...
- How many guests are you expecting? When it comes to a venue you never want your guests packed in like sardines, especially if there is money to be raised. People have to freely and comfortably move about. There has to be access to the entry and exit, restrooms, and bar! Choose a venue that on paper can hold just a shy larger group that you are expecting. You never want a space too large, but more so you never want a space too small. Ask the location you are considering capacity and then, if possible, visit the location when they are having an event. Truly learn the flow.
- What's the purpose of the event? Dinner, dancing, auction, lecture, etc. Are you having an event where people need to focus on one point, like a stage? Well then a room with limited visibility will not work. A room with columns will not work. Is the space narrow with limited walking space in some areas, well then on auction will not work. People need to freely and easily move around, and quickly at times. Is the room massive and has tile floors? Well then a dinner and dancing will not work, all the clickty-clack of people's shoes will echo and drowned out everything. A great venue is one thing, a perfect venue for your purpose is another.
- Easily Accessible This may be one of the most guiding factors of any event I have ever done. How easy is it for people to find the event location and park. Often times mislooked, but totally a must for me. Can people find the space, can they easily park, and do they enjoy the experience? Because let's face it, if people have a hard time just getting to the event they are not going to start out having a good time. Make sure the venue meets your guest's needs. Are they a group of white haired guests - well then they need to easily find the space, maybe already know about it and parking should be a snap, i.e. parking lot or lots of valet. Are they a group of young hipsters going to a concert - well then they also need to easily find the venue and street parking should be available and possibly a parking garage.
- Does the venue, as well as the event, bring people? If this is a money making event, will the venue encourage guests to purchase tickets? Often times this can be an essential ally when planning an event. Do people want to see the space? When I lived in southern California spaces were of the optimum. Where we you holding your event and were the philanthropists in the area encouraged by the space? Is it a hotel ballroom, typical, generic? Or was it a unique space, like someone's home? The ticket is something unique, perhaps unknown, enticing.
With that, here are some of my favorites in the Portland Area:
The Nines Hotel
What are your go-to venue rules? What have you learned?
What is your favorite venue in our area and why?