When it comes down to planning an event, the venue is often top of mind. It has been our experience that most times, event coordinators find a venue that fits their event. The guestlist has been set, the theme has been determined and all that’s needed is a space. Well, what about the food, the drink, the layout or the number of bathrooms? Sometimes it feels like we’re backing into a venue for people. What if we worked backwards?

While it doesn’t work for all clients or events, we sometimes prefer to start with the venue. Why? Mostly, because its fixed. There is nothing we can change about the space, where its located, the layout of the venue or even the kitchen situation. Generally speaking, we advise our clients who are producing larger events with a lot of guests to think about a venue first. Often, we suggest this approach because not all venues can accommodate large groups. Therefore, we need to do what’s called a ‘buyout’. That is what it sounds like it is. The event coordinator will buyout the space for the duration of the event. This can be expensive. The venue will calculate what they expect to earn for the selected date and try to make it up through your event.

Anytime you’re planning to feed a large group of people on this island, get ready to open your checkbook. We know this. Now, let’s be smart about it. When pursuing a venue buyout, some things to consider are neighborhood, event date and menu served. These can make or break your budget. If your date is flexible, we would recommend a Monday or Tuesday evening. Think about when venues are busiest – the weekend. When are they slowest? See what we’re talking about here. If you bring 200+ guests to a restaurant on a Monday when they would otherwise be quiet, you will likely have some negotiating power.

You should also think about the menu as that is likely the next area to meet budget. Most venues will tweak their menus to accommodate your budget. Keep this in your back pocket! Finally, think about neighborhood as it relates to your event. If it’s an after-work function, you may want to be walking distance from Grand Central or Penn Station. If it’s a weekend event, downtown can be an option. It’s a matter of knowing your guests and selecting the most appropriate venue to accommodate them. Just another way of thinking about it. And you know we’re always here for you!