How to find an inexpensive venue

When working with a small budget for an event; it is important to find an affordable venue. A good venue will set the tone for the rest of the event. Some things to keep in mind when selecting a venue are: 

  1. Cost: An ideal venue should cost no more than 15% of your total budget if it does not include the rental of tables and chairs or 30% if it includes those items.
  2. Colors: Does the colors of the flooring and walls compliment the colors of your event. This is a very important factor when choosing a venue that generally gets over looked. 
  3. Rental items: the best venues will include the use of their tables and chairs as part of the base fee. Other venues may include the use of linens and centerpieces as well. The latter is not common but is a big bonus if offered.
  4. Hidden Fees: Sometimes a venue will seem like a great deal on its face but will add a lot of hidden fees such as requiring a dance floor rental if a dj is being used or charging for parking or security. It is important to have a list of questions to ask before booking any venue.
  5. Restrictions: Very common restrictions are alcohol, outside or unapproved caterers and or vendors. Usually restrictions are spelt out on the venue’s website but in the event that this information is unavailable, it is important to ask during the first meeting.
  6. Permits: Some venues try to be restrictive by requiring permits. Acquiring a permit is usually the task for the lessee.  One major permit is a liquor licence.

My favorite venue is a free venue. Using a family or friend’s house or yard I’d usually a good idea for weddings, birthday parties or any other family/friend oriented event.

When using this option be mindful of: 

  1. The season:  A tent may be needed with a heater to keep guests warm during the colder seasons. While a tent and air conditioning for hotter months or tent as a rain option.
  2. Parking
  3. The size of the house/yard in relation to the number of guests: Guests will need a bathroom option, so, be sure to explain this to the host family. Portable bathrooms will ease the use of the house bathrooms and are available in upscale styles.
  4. You will be responsible for all rentals: tables and chairs etc.

Churches tend to offer a discounted rates for members of the church. Many churches are designed to hold the ceremony and reception in the case of a wedding or any event that needs a ballroom type space. 

Churches generally:

  1. Will have tables and chairs available in the rental price
  2. Adequate parking
  3. Restrict alcohol 
  4. Restrict certain music

Community or recreation centers are my go to place to host a baby shower, reunion or brunch. 

Community centers generally offer discounted rates for its residents but will still allow non-residents to use the property. Things to keep in mind when renting a rec center:

  1. Centers usually have a time limit for rentals, including setup, event time and break down.
  2. Many recreational centers allow alcohol but my also require a permit so be sure to ask upfront.
  3. These venues may also restrict the use of tape or tacks on their ceilings or walls. 
  4. May require security guards or police presence based on the desired use. 

Whatever venue you choose just remember that all venues have pros and cons but the important thing is balance and ensuring that the pros outweighs the cons.