One of the first things you should do when planning an event is choose a venue. While you should know the basics about your event (number of guests, dates, and purpose) before shopping for a venue, there is plenty of event planning that you should not do until you have selected a venue. Below are five aspects of event planning that should be influenced by your venue.
Whether you are hosting a conference or a party, you may want to set aside a time at the beginning of your event to welcome your guests and let them know what to expect throughout the event. Although these remarks should focus on your event, they should also include basic information about the venue where you are holding your event. You may want to point out a couple of interesting facts about the venue, such as its historic importance or the architecture of the building.
Referencing the venue in your opening remarks can help make your guests feel more at ease in the venue and can let them know about interesting features that they should look out for during the event.
If your event took place in a unique venue that has either historic, cultural, or social significance, you should once again mention the venue and a couple of facts about it in your closing remarks. This cements the venue in your participants' minds and helps them remember your event after it is over. For instance, instead of just saying that you enjoyed the small group talks that everyone participated in, remind them of how they sat together in a refreshing garden and had group discussions while looking out over the surrounding area.
This can help activate the spatial memory of your guests, a technique called memory of loci, that is used to associate facts with places that the person is familiar with. This way, when your guests think about the venue again or visit in the future, they will likely remember key parts of your event.
Choosing a venue and choosing a theme go hand in hand. Although you may choose your theme first and then select a venue to go with it, you may be better off selecting a venue and then molding a theme that fits with the venue. For example, if the venue is modern and minimalist, you might choose a futuristic theme for your event. However, if your venue features exposed brick and a historic bar, you might select a 1920s party theme for your event.
If you do not have a theme selected yet, visit a few venues to see if one inspires you to select a particular theme.
Teambuilding or Social Activities
While icebreakers, games, and teambuilding activities can often be repeated in any venue, your guests will likely think you are a thoughtful, inspired host if your games and activities reference the venue. For instance, a scavenger hunt around the premises of the venue can help make the guests feel more comfortable with each other and more comfortable with the venue itself. Or if your venue is in a skyscraper, you might consider planning a teambuilding activity such as building towers out of straws and scrap material. This references the venue subtly while giving your participants a challenge that they can accomplish together.
Obviously you need to have your venue information before you send out your invitations, because you will need to include an address for the event. However, you should allow your invitations to be inspired even more by the venue. For example, you can feature the main room of the venue on the invitations or you can create a cutout invitation in the shape of the venue building. This gets your guests excited about the location and the event.
If you have booked a unique venue, you should use it to your benefit by referencing the venue before and during your event, helping to create lasting memories and a positive impression of your event. And talk with event centers or rental companies, such as Meet Chicago Northwest, for more ideas and to book an event.