Selecting the right venue for your event is a really key component.  You want to ensure that the space that you are hosting in reflects not only the theme of the event but also provides you with all of the necessities that you need to pull everything off.  If you are hosting in your home, then you’ve likely got everything under control however, if you are using an off-site venue there are many things that you need to keep in mind and to consider during the planning process.

Your venue is a key component to your event

But hold on, don’t worry.  This may seem like an extensive list but it’s really just a brainstorm of ALL the things that you MAY need to think about.  Scan through, use it as a guide, take whatever information you may need.

Audio Visual Needs

  • what items do they have on-site (podium, microphone, projector etc)?
  • do they have any relationships with a/v companies that they use or recommend?
  • what type of power do they have?
  • where are the various power outlets located within the venue space? (this helps so that you can set up the event appropriately)
  • are there restrictions on various visual elements (lights, strobes, dry ice etc)?
  • Are there various restrictions where a/v can be set up?
  • where would the a/v be loaded? is there a specific door to use, loading area? what is the size?
  • will you have access to the venue space prior to the event for set up? when?


  • do they have parking available?
  • where is the parking? Is it right on site, across the road etc?
  • what type of parking is available? self park, meter parking, on the road parking, valet?
  • can you have valet parking if required?
  • who coordinates the valet?

Venue Specifics

  • who is point person at venue for you? What is their contact information?
  • what are the capacity numbers for the venue?
  • what type of set up is the venue capable of doing? Reception with dinner, buffet etc?
  • Is there a rental fee for the room?
  • What is the minimum food/beverage requirement? (this is to have room rental fee waived)
  • what other events are going on at the same time as your event?
  • does the venue provide directional signage?
  • when can you have access to the space? Day before?  A few hours before?
  • when do you have to be out of the space? ie: when does everything need to be taken down?
  • if other events are going on, how does venue ensure guests are arriving at appropriate event?
  • is there an event host/greeter supplied by the venue? do you need to provide additional signage or greeter?
  • what are the payment options? when are deposits due?
  • when can additional elements, supplied by you, be delivered?
  • will they be stored in a secure spot?
  • Are there large windows? Do windows have screens to come down to block sunlight/external light?

Food & Beverage

  • what are the various food and beverage options that they have?
  • can you combine various menus?
  • Is it on-site catering, as the case in hotel or restaurant, or are caterers brought in?
  • do they have a list of approved caterers?
  • Is the facility licensed?
  • Do you need to purchase a Special Occasion Permit to serve alcohol?
  • Are there areas of the venue that are not licensed, like a patio or outdoor space?
  • what are the bar options?
  • what are the costs for the various bar options?
  • can you bring in your own wine?
  • what is the corkage fee?
  • can you bring in your own dessert? Cake?
  • when can dessert be delivered?
  • do they have storage facilities, like a fridge, for cake?
  • What are the smoking policies and fines?

Decor elements

  • do they provide linens? what colour? what length?
  • can you provide your own linens?
  • do they provide candles for the table? what size? how many?
  • can you bring in your own candles? can they be open flame?
  • what are the restrictions for putting things on walls ?
  • do they provide any draping for the walls?
  • do they provide chairs? what do they look like?
  • do they provide chair covers? what are the styles and colours?
  • can you rent your own chairs and covers?
  • do they have affiliate rental companies?
  • can you use your own sources?
  • do they provide the plates, cutlery, tables etc.?
  • if needed to be rented, who coordinates? the caterer or venue?


There will probably be things specific to your event that are not listed here, but those listed here are the general things that you should cover with the venue. Always remember that if you don’t ask, you don’t get, so make sure that if there is something you want to see happen, you ask the venue if it’s possible.  Having an open and communicative relationship with your venue is the best way to go so that your event will be as seamless as possible.  Don’t hide anything; always keep your venue up to speed on what you are thinking and most times than not, they will be so accommodating for you.  So, exciting! Have fun!

Need a little help or consultation on your event? Don’t hesitate to get in touch and send us an email to get started.

photo source: Mindy Weiss

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