Archive for March 20th, 2007

The Party Must Fit The Venue (And Vice-Versa)

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

Your choice of where to have your party speaks volumes – about the nature of the event, and about you.

Venues range from elegant to casual to downright funky. Any of them may be fine for certain gatherings, but none are one-size-fits-all. As host, one of your biggest tasks is to pick the right place for your particular event. Unfortunately, there are a lot of ways to go wrong. Here are a few:

* A dysfunctional venue for your function. That restored Edwardian mansion everyone has been raving about as a party venue has many charms. It also has many rooms, none of which are large enough to hold all your guests at the same time. This makes it terrible for a wedding reception, because a significant per centage of your guests will miss every single milestone of the night (the first dance, cutting of the cake, tossing of the bouquet, etc.) Such older venues are also often built on multiple levels (which make it tough for your great-grandmother and any other physically-impaired guests.) Even restroom capacity can become an issue. A big, boxy ballroom may be bland in comparison, but every guest can hear each announcement, can see each major moment of the party, and can answer Nature’s calls without waiting in line outside a closet-sized potty.

* The wrong size for your guest list. Here is an all-too common scenario: You have found the perfect venue for a party of 100. You try valiantly to hold your guest list to that number. But – as the date of your event approaches – you realize that 120 invitees have sent in their RSVPs. Your perfect venue is now too small. Your caterer copes as best as possible, substituting smaller plates in order to shoehorn 12 guests into tables designed for 8 or 10. But there is only so much the caterer can do. After all: he didn’t foul up – you did. Your have just learned Venue Truth Number One: size matters. With a bigger room, even if your number had stayed at 100, you could have put fewer guests at each table (thus needing additional tables), spaced those tables further apart (giving more room for both guests and servers), increased the size of the dance floor, or darkened the unused portions of the room. Any of those simple tricks help fill out a room. Altogether, they can make a room which is twice as large as necessary feel perfect.

* The wrong aesthetics for your event. Wow! You just found out that “Joe Bob’s Chicken-Fried Steak Shack” has a free banquet room! What a perfect spot to hold that reception for the royal family of Monaco! Hot-dang! In reality, Prince Albert would probably find “Joe Bob’s” to be a refreshing change of pace. Princess Stephanie might even meet her next husband there. My exaggerated first point is only that your venue must be compatible with the purpose of your gathering. And secondly, please remember that the price of the venue is not more important than whether it is appropriate for your purpose.

But, while you are with Joe Bob, be sure to try his “Heart Attack On The Half-Shell High-Cholesterol Special.” It’s to die for!