15 Oct

Choosing an Indianapolis Event Venue

A venue is a big-ticket item that sets the tone for your event, so it’s important to choose one that is perfect for the type of event you’re hosting. Before setting your heart on a space, make sure you know what you’re looking for. To help, we’ve put together a simple checklist for when scouting locations.

Venue: Eiteljorg Museum                                                                                                                                                  Photo: SB Childs

  1. The cost

For many, this is a huge factor. One of the biggest considerations when choosing which venue to hire is budget. It’s good to have a cost in mind, but it’s not as black and white and most think. Different venues may calculate room rental fees differently and varying spaces have differing food and beverage minimums that must be met as well. The food and beverage minimum is not part of the rental fee, but in addition to it.

Venue also have different included amenities. Some offer parking, others may charge additional for it. Knowing exactly what’s included before signing a contract is important. Looking for the most bang for your buck is a budget-friendly necessity at times.

 Also, keep in mind that venue rental costs can differ between daytime and evening events, as well as events held at different times of year – but keep in mind some venue do not change their pricing with peak season. A great example is our own venue, Montage. Our pricing remains the same regardless if it’s the middle of wedding season or the middle of winter, but the cost between daytime and evening does vary by space.

Venue: Scottish Rite Cathedral                                                                                                                                Photo: Complete Indy

  1. The location

Access to the venue should be easy and convenient. Consider accessibility by public transportation and its juxtaposition to hotels and entertainment. These can have a big impact on whether or not a venue is the right fit.

  1. Date and Season

Some venues have different pricing between peak and off-peak season. It’s always best to book your venue as far in advance as possible if you’re considering a peak date. This can sometimes mean booking a holiday event venue in August or September to be able to guarantee space around Christmas or New Years. Considering date and season are most important for weddings as fall October dates and May spring dates can book a year or more in advance.

  1. Capacity

Along with budget, guest count is the single most crucial aspect of event planning because it will help you quickly eliminate many venues based on capacity alone. Choosing an event venue that is the right size for your event is vital to being able to accommodate the number of people you expect and will help give your event a lively atmosphere.

Venue: Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields                                                                                                      Photo: Bobbi Photo

  1. Style

Much like you pick out a certain outfit for certain types of events, the style of the venue matters when it comes to what suits your event best. Sometimes the venues style and built-in décor can help with décor design budgets too as less décor may be needed based on the venue’s look and feel.

When booking holiday events, it’s important to be specific in your search and inquire about the type of décor the venue may have set around this time of year. Some venues deck the halls, others don’t. If you’re looking to host a Christmas dinner or Christmas party, each may have different décor needs. It’s also important to keep in mind when booking corporate events around the holidays that the venue may have holiday décor out during your meeting.

  1. Layout

Depending on the interactions you want your guest to have, selecting a room setup and diagraming the event impacts the social factor. Do you need a boardroom setup? A lecture hall? Dinning and meeting space? Most venues can easily adapt their rooms to various layouts, but some have a set layout for certain rooms as well. Be sure to confirm with the venue you’ve chosen that your preferences can be accommodated before you book. Part of this is ensuring the venue has space for all aspect of your event (such as ceremony and reception, or breakout spaces for meetings). Sometimes it isn’t clear until you make a site visit (and we highly recommend making a site visit! It’s a great way to see a space in person in a manner that can’t be experienced from an online virtual tour and it’s a great opportunity to ask questions!)

Venue: Indiana State Museum Photo:                                                                                                                                  Rob Banayote

  1. Services & Facilities

Venues provide different levels of service and facilities. Like we mentioned before, each venue has different included amenities.  When booking your Indianapolis event, make sure that the venue is able to cater to your specific event’s needs. Make a list of those special needs and compare it with the amenities provided by the venue. This can include parking (is it onsite or an additional fee?), AV equipment, extra space for breakout rooms or a coat room, on-site security, license or insurance, restrictions and additional fees that are not listed in the venue guide (like overtime fee, cancellation fee, or corkage fees). It also is important to know who will be responsible for setting up and decorating and cleaning up too – as well as if you’ll have exclusive use of the venue with your rental. Some venues are able to accommodate multiple events at one time.

  1. Weather

Always have a rain plan – especially if it’s an outdoor venue! This is something that is important to ask right at the beginning. Your entire event may not be outside, but if part of it is you’ll need to be prepared for unsavory weather that can change your game plan. While the weather’s never certain, you can at least hope for warm sunny days in the summer – but any time you book a space with an outdoor component, make sure the venue has a plan b in case it starts to rain.

Venue: Montage                                                                                                                            Photo: Jessica Strickland Photography

Bonus Tip:

After ticking off all the boxes on your checklist, make sure you know who your go-to person at the venue will be throughout planning and on the day of your event. Having someone to work with exclusively will help your event run more smoothly should  problem arise.

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