Celebrity party planner Peregrine Armstrong‐Jones gives some vital party venue search hints…
Check for restrictions
When I visit a new venue I always ask the following questions:
Are there noise restrictions? Will they permit a discotheque or band?
What is the finish time?
Is one free to bring in one’s own choice of caterer, florist, decorator and other services? (Most venues take commission from their so‐called preferred contractors ‐‐ hence their preferred list)
Is smoking permitted?
Are there decoration restrictions? (Normally this will involve restrictions or fixings into the building)
Is there a power supply for lighting and ovens etc?
Are there any special conditions?
What are the set‐up and clearing times?
The venue’s answers to these questions will give you a guide as to whether you will be dealing with an organisation which is either efficient and flexible, or rigid and inexperienced. If you like what you hear then pay a deposit and sign a binding contract.
Once you have decided on your venue, you need to look ahead to your event. The layout of the reception area ‐‐ as well as the dining/dancing area ‐‐ needs to be planned. I recommend that you draw a plan. Sketch in the tables and dance floor. Draw in the bar and the serveries. Leave room for the stage, band PA and mixing desk. When these items are in place, sketch in the decorations and play around with the plan ‐‐ all of the guests are equally important, so the positioning of the tables is everything. Remember to make everyone, wherever they are sitting, feel special.
Find out the details of local taxi companies which your guests may need at the end of the evening. If they are staying the night, then you’ll need to think about a car park.