File this tip under things that are completely obvious: You can’t have an event without a venue. Here are some tips to help you navigate what is important about your event venue, what doesn’t matter and how to find something for free. Do you have another tip for finding the perfect venue? Let us know!
Here’s a list of questions to ask when working with a dedicated event space.
And here’s some quick info to consider when estimating venue size:
- COCKTAIL PARTY: 8 sq ft/person
- ROUND TABLES: 14 sq ft/person
- CLASSROOM: 24 sq ft/person
- THEATER: 14 sq ft/person
How to find a venue
One of the first steps in creating an event is to pick a venue. And the first step in picking a venue is to try to find something you can use for free. If your office doesn’t work, what about a classroom or something outdoors? It’s worth it to ask around – tweet that you are looking for something free and bug your friends to share it with their networks, too.
Choosing a venue feels like a huge deal and it’s true, sometimes events are amazing because they happen in cool venues. But really, when you start out, the most important thing is to be connecting with people. As your community grows, it becomes easier to find bigger and better venues.
Determining how much space you need can be a little tricky. Event rental companies all have rough guidelines on their websites for how much space you’ll need for your event. For example, did you know classroom style seating needs three times the space that a cocktail party needs? If you don’t have access to a free venue, here’s a great tip to figure out what’s available to rent. We reached out to James Whatley, the organizer of Mobile Geeks of London, and asked for his advice. His tip was to check on Yelp. Did you know there’s a separate category for venues and event spaces? While reviews are normally about food, you’ll be able to gather intel on plenty of other things — the service, the ambiance, and the lights.
After deciding on a couple of venue options, speak to the owner or manager. It will really, really help your event if the manager “gets it” when you describe your vision. When you move to a dedicated event space, there’s a bunch of details that you just won’t think about. Until now. Hanan Chebib works for a huge science festival called Beakerhead. She gave us a list of questions to keep in mind when renting an event space. You can see that list of questions below the video.
Here are some quick venue tips that will make or break your event. Lighting – If there are fluorescent lights, kill ‘em if at all possible. Noise – If there’s someone speaking, get them a microphone. Locked doors – If there’s a locked door between event goers and your event, you need someone to stand there and let people in.
All of this to say, the most important thing when planning your first event isn’t the venue. It’s about connecting with people. So just get started! And trust me, people will remember the experiences they had and the connections they made, not the chair they sat in.