We love a good banquet. With food, fun and friends, how could you not?
Banquets are such fun events because they’re versatile, inclusive and fancy all at once. Do you want to celebrate the successes of your team? Give out awards to say congrats to all your employees? Need to raise some funds for your nonprofit? Have a holiday party? A banquet it is!
There’s a lot that goes into banquet planning: the menu, the décor, the theme, the overall schedule of events. One of the main things that can make or break your banquet, though, is the venue.
We’ve hosted our fair share of banquets at The River Place and have come up with a few things you should keep in mind while you’re looking at event venues for your next banquet.
- Find a place that has a stage for speeches
Don’t just have someone stand at the front of the room with (or sometimes without) a microphone. Banquets are supposed to be classy, usually formal affairs, so keep small details like a stage and a podium in mind. If your banquet will include people giving speeches or receiving awards, make sure your event venue has the space needed to make it truly memorable.
- Is there a food prep area for catering?
Whether you’re getting outside catering delivered or will have a caterer make the food on site, having a prep area certainly doesn’t hurt. The caterers will be able to easily re-heat food, package it and clean up, and they may even charge you less if they are able to bring less equipment. We recommend asking if there’s a prep area, an easy load-in access point, what the water availability is and how close that prep area is to the event itself.
- Lighting and sound
Take your banquet to the next level with professional lighting and audio equipment. We’ve all been to a banquet where you couldn’t really hear the speakers thanks to a subpar audio system, or you couldn’t quite see who was speaking due to that mood lighting traditional banquet halls seem to be in love with. Few event spaces have full lighting and sound available to those who want to rent out their hall, but those that do will help make your banquet the event of the year. Plus, if the venue is already equipped with lighting and sound systems, you won’t have to rent it from a third party vendor.
- Proximity of airports and places to stay
If you’re doing a destination banquet, this tip is a must. Don’t choose a scenic banquet location that will be impossible for people to get to. People will be less likely to come to your banquet if they will have difficulty getting there or finding a place to stay. Ask event venues how close the nearest hotel and airport is, and if they have any deals worked out with those hotels for booking with their event space.
- Ask about their décor policies
Some places allow candles, some don’t. A few spaces have a strict no confetti policy. Other event venues might charge you extra to come early and decorate the room. Make sure you know the ins and outs of the event venue’s décor policy so you can be sure it won’t affect your theme or any must-haves for your banquet.
Asking your potential event venue about each of these aspects will be sure to help you create a memorable and creative banquet for your guests. Out with the old, boring banquets, and in with the new!