There are a lot of decisions that go into planning a catered event – especially if it’s something of great personal or professional importance, like a wedding reception or a corporate gathering. The menu choices, presentation, and décor are all important. The service style – table service versus buffet-style dining, most notably – is also a crucial detail. And when you’ve got an event this important, getting the details right makes all the difference.
But there is one huge detail we haven’t even touched on yet – can you guess what it is? That’s right – the venue. This may be the first thing you take care of, or it may not be. Sometimes the venue you really want is simply not available for your dates, and you’re in the difficult position of having to choose amongst alternatives that don’t inspire you in the same way. Sometimes you’re choosing from two or three venues that are each unique and inspiring in their own way. You might even be in a situation where you don’t know where to begin, and the prospect of researching and choosing a venue seems daunting.
So how do you choose a stunning location for your next catered event?
One thing that should be high on your list is the convenience of the location for your guests. Picking a location that is well out of the way for most of your guests, and requires a long drive, is not necessarily the best approach. Parking, road construction, and even public transportation can be important factors. After the location has been chosen, it’s not a bad idea to provide your guests with detailed information on estimated transportation times and the routes, to help people avoid being late.
The capacity of the venue is also something important to consider. You certainly don’t want a venue that is too small for your guest list, or a venue that does not provide much space for your guests to move around. Likewise, a venue that is designed for events far larger than your own isn’t necessarily the best choice either.
Now, let’s take a moment to think about the amenities of the venue. Depending on the food and beverage program, your professional caterer may need access to kitchen facilities. In some cases, you’ll be hiring a third-party professional caterer to work the event, and depending on your menu, the caterer may or may not make use of on-site kitchen amenities.
What about seating, tables, linens, and even audio/visual connections? Some catering venues provide these and some do not. Depending on the specific needs of your event, you may or may not need to hire a third-party to cover these details.
The layout and “feel” of the venue are hugely important, and these will obviously be factors in your decision as well. It will take a little research in order to really find the best venue for your event. Talking a reputable caterer with years of experience working events can sometimes be a shortcut to find out about various venues, and zero in on the best solution.