Thursday, 27 September 2018

"A Venues and Alleyways" - Choosing A Venue - some tips & advice for your event


Hi Everyone! Here’s another note. This time I am going to share some advice regarding the venue of your event.

I’m not assuming you will read all of the posts in blog for weddings and events- you’ll probably just pick out the bits which are relevant to you- so would I!

First of all, I think you might want to know what qualifies me to have formulated any of these ideas.

I’ll be quick…
I’ve been a working musician for a good while. I was 13 when I was first booked to sing and play through a booking agent. Performing as a musician was always my dream and I know how fortunate I am. I’ve played all over the world, in rooms of all sizes. From house parties to the grandest hotels, garden barbeques to extravagant Galas.

The number of events I’ve been a part of is very much a “more than you’ve had hot dinners” situation. I’ve been very lucky and privileged, and learned an awful lot from my experiences that I’d like to share with you in this blog.

I’ve picked out 3 issues that may interfere with your event. Not all these scenarios may apply to you - but then, maybe they will!

Some venues may not completely agree with my writing, but, when it comes to venues, the band and client or bride are very much aligned- that is to say we, want exactly the same things: a great atmosphere, in a full room, that will translate to a full dancefloor. These are the markers society give to a great event.

For any event, live music is a totally thrilling experience and exiting. It moves us as generations, as social groups and as individuals. A great band, (shameless advert alert- like The Rascals for instance), will thrill and entertain you and your guests playing exactly the special songs you requested amongst a finely crafted set list of music for your people to dance to!

That considered back to the venue and it’s role in your event.

1)     The Venue’s Events Coordinator.

The Event Coordinators at every hotel/venue work hard in their day to day activities. It is a difficult role as they represent the venue and every external faction must negotiate through them.

I think we can all agree in the concept that problems don’t just add up in proportion to guest numbers - they multiply. The sheer number of people including guests, caterers, the band etc. gives rise to an increase in opportunities for things to go wrong.

The Events Coordinator is the central hub for an event but no matter how competent the planning, on the night, one little issue can have a domino effect.

PRO- TIP: When booking a venue, insist on liaising with the person who will physically be there on the night. I promise you it will save you a lot of stress on the night given the scope for something to go wrong.

2)     The Room

At all the events I’ve attended, it is always the people who make the event magic. The volume of people in an appropriately sized room. People together catching up, joking, and chatting is where events are made – when we are with each other!

For a venue “bigger is better”. Bigger room = Bigger Fees. This perfectly fair – there is more space to clean up, more room for to staff to move between tables and so on justifying the higher price.

The reality is: the smaller the space the better!

Regardless of where your event is, a smaller space will…

a) Make all photos better- it is so easy for an event to look half empty in a oversized room for your party. Where a pro photographer would frame shots perfectly, nowadays, vastly more photos will be taken by mobile phones and seen by a larger audience on social media with little attention to a pictures detail in content/framing or construction. The pros don’t just point and shoot!

b) Allow people to mingle, chat, enjoy the shared experience and help develop a good atmosphere - close proximity is key. The right sized room is cosy not vast.

Fate dictates your number of guests will probably exceed the smaller rooms capacity but will be lost in the larger rooms but...

PRO- TIP: You’ll probably have to use the large room but ask for partitions- this will make the room smaller/cosier (and a really helpful tip- have the stage in front of the partition- the band will thank you for it- we’ll have somewhere close by and out of sight to store our flightcases)

3)     “I’m going to the Bar!”

When looking at venues, give those that have a bar within the function room higher consideration. Your guests will stay in the same place longer maintaining a higher head count and better atmosphere.

People will be popping out for a cigarette, cigar or a vape. People will be going to the loo. Those with young families will be off calming down/entertaining a child or getting milk/food warmed up. Add that to your invitees wandering to a bar which is outside your room and the energy is zapped out of any party regardless of how pretty the room is, how good the food was or how good the band is. People like to celebrate with a drink!

PRO- TIP: When talking with a venue without a bar in your room, ask for a “pop-up” bar for the above reasons. A small bar or even a manned table inside your room stocked with wine by the bottle or glass, bottled beer, and bottles of soft drinks or mixers like coke/fresh orange, an ice bucket etc will help keep the numbers and atmosphere up!

Now imagine all three of the above potential problems at YOUR event. The photos would show a half empty room and the bride/host will be left solo on the dancefloor doing their best to encourage their guests to boogie too. All three can put a serious dent in your event but all three are easy to overcome in preparation beforehand.

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