Venues come in all shapes, sizes and price ranges. The very first thing to determine before choosing your venue is if your event will be held indoor or outdoor. It is always crucial to keep in mind how many people you plan on attending the event and whether a venue is large enough to host that expected number. Your venue type will also depend on the time of year and weather. Even though we can’t predict the weather, the general weather conditions, depending on the time of year that your event is being held, is important to keep in mind. If your event is in April, you may want to consider a backup indoor location or just plan your event indoor to begin with. If your event is in January, outdoor is probably not an option (assuming you’re in a state that has harsh Winters).
Outdoor venues are most common for picnics, festivals, fairs, family reunions, graduation parties and birthday parties. When choosing an outdoor location, it is ideal to have a backup spot in case of inclement weather (even though the weather is for sure going to be bright and sunny on your event date). Most of the time if your event is planned to be outdoor, a backup indoor location will most likely not be able to fit everything you planned to be outside. If that’s the case, like it is for most backup venues, that’s alright! Make the best of it by squeezing as much into the venue as possible while still making it fun.
Another major component of a venue is parking. You would think that if the venue can hold 500 people that it would have enough parking for at least half of that number, right? That’s not always the case. Make sure that the venue you choose has enough parking for 30% of the total guest count of your event. For example, if you’re expecting 500 people, make sure to have enough parking for at least 150 cars.
The final thing to consider is what the venue will allow in the park and local regulations. For example, some parks may not allow tents which would be a problem if there is no provided shelter. Another example is the city or township that the venue is in may not allow the use of PA systems over a certain decibel rating with our without a permit. Again, those are just two examples, so make sure you check with both the venue and local governing authorities to make sure that everything you are planning to do at your event is allowed.
Theme Parks and Family Entertainment Centers (FEC) are often considered as a potential location to host your picnic because on paper it sounds great since everything is already provided at the venue. However, unless you have the entire park closed off to the public and just for your event, there is no sense of community or fellowship between your guests and their families. Take a theme park for example, in order to rent out the entire park and shut it down for the day, the buy out price is astronomical and 99% of the organizations in West Michigan cannot afford it for their event. So the only other option is to keep the park open to the public and give your guests a park ticket and a food ticket. The same goes for smaller FEC’s, if you can’t afford to rent the entire center out, the park is open to the public so the venue is filled with people from your organization and random strangers. Another disadvantage to a large Amusement Park or FEC is that everyone is so spread out that your guests won’t really get to spend a good amount of time talking to each other or getting to know each others families. Our recommendation, if you were to go this route, is to fully rent out a FEC for your event that is closed to the general public.
While you take all of your options into consideration, don’t forget to use us as us at ACP Entertainment as a resource for picking a venue! With over 4,000 events under our belt, we know the ins and outs of most venues in the West Michigan area. Give us a call anytime for help with picking a venue at 616-82–8220.