There are plenty of venues in Houston to choose from. And since you will be so many choices when you're planning your next event, it's a good idea to give yourself some guidelines to help make the decisions.
Here are 7 things to consider.
1. Your Budget
Your budget will dictate your options. Be careful to avoid blowing every last cent on the venue.
"Don’t sign a contract with an expensive venue, only to realize down the line that you have no money left for that DJ you’ve been coveting," warns Katie Brannen, blogging at A Practical Wedding.
To stay on the safe side, you might want to make sure that your venue costs only account for 30% to 50% of your overall event budget (remember that food will generally account for another 30%).
2. The Number of Guests
The surest route to an event planning disaster is to reserve a venue that doesn't have enough space. But renting too much space is just as bad as failing to rent enough space. Placing 25 guests into a venue designed for 200 guests will make the entire affair seem a little bit forlorn.
Guests may surprise you by bringing dates or other party members, so don't try for an exact seating figure. Make sure there's a little more space than you think you need.
3. The Type of Event
A venue that's great for a wedding may seem a little too frilly for a corporate event, and could be a little too posh for your crawfish-boil/family reunion. Sure, you'll be decorating, but you don't want to create an uphill battle for yourself. Take some time to walk around the venue so you can decide whether or not the area is right for you and your guests.
You should also consider whether you want your guests to stand, dance, or mingle or have a sit-down meal. In the former case you might want a venue with several rooms which guests can congregate and explore. In the latter, look for inviting seating spaces that encourage guests to have great conversations.
Ideally, the event location will be convenient for all of your guests. If some guests will be arriving from out-of-town, use a venue that's close to the airport or recommended hotel. If your guests live all over Houston and its suburbs, try something more central.
If possible, you might even take traffic into consideration. Planning an event that requires guests to travel along I-10 at 5 PM might just frustrate all of your guests before they manage to arrive, putting them in the wrong frame of mind for any kind of celebration.
5. Venue Condition
Obviously you want the venue to be clean and in top-notch condition. There is no decorating scheme in the world that will help you if the place is in poor repair.
Don't rely on photos from the Internet, which may have been taken years ago. Always visit the venue in person to make sure it's the kind of place you can picture yourself and your guests having a good time. This also gives you a chance to meet the staff and ask your questions before making a final decision.
6. Photo Opportunities (No, Really!)
"One of Aaron's favorite ways to create an environment conducive to social sharing is to install photo opps. "We provide things at our events that people will want to take a picture in … we rent giant furniture, giant lounge chairs you have to climb into, and everyone wants to take their picture in the chairs," he says. "Or we do crazy things, like take a replica of Michelangelo's David … we put the statue somewhere with a fig leaf on him, and everyone wants to take their pictures with it. That's social media — everyone's spitting it out, it's helping our brand and getting us trending."
Some of the guests at one of our venues wanted a mechanical bull. Plenty of people rode the bull, but there were just as many who wanted to get some photos for Facebook while they were astride the beast. Things like this make any event memorable for every attendee.
Of course, sometimes features of the venue itself can make some lovely photos. Keep an eye out for those.
7. Amenities and Services
Your venue should have a few tricks up its sleeve to make every part of the event planning process just a little easier. If you can order your catering menu at the same time you book the party, for example, then you'll find yourself ahead of the game. If you've got a speaker, you might want to ask the venue whether or not it has presentation technology on-site.
Not all venues offer these extras, but you should always investigate whether or not they do. The more headaches the venue can help you eliminate, the better.
At Goode Company Catering, our staff is adept at managing every detail of your next event at any of our venues and partner venues. We believe that planning an event should be almost as fun as the event itself, so we do everything we can to make it easy. And yes, we can get you that mechanical bull too, if you want it!
If you'd like to spare yourself from having to do hours of research, contact us. Tell us a little about your event and we'll help you do the rest.