Finding the perfect venue
10 Fantastic Tips To Guarantee Success.
- When arranging an important event such as a gay wedding or civil partnership, choosing the right deejay and music is very important.
- However, if you want a full dancefloor, it is equally vital, if not more so, to choose the perfect venue …
If you have left things until the eleventh hour and you are finding that everywhere is either booked up or too expensive, consider moving your civil partnership to an off-peak date or time.
Hold your on same sex wedding on a Sunday morning or have your reception on yours or your partner’s birthday, even if it falls on a Thursday !
You will suddenly find that not only are all the perfect gay-friendly venues and services you require available, but you will be in a great position to bargain for a terrific price !
It is far better to pick smaller venue where you can create a cozy atmosphere, than have masses of spare space.
Don’t forget also that if you invite 100 people, probably only about 75-80 will attend. So always invite more people than the room is supposed to be able to hold.
If your venue is already booked and the bar is along the corridor, consider ordering an additional mobile bar for the reception area.
Do not assume that guests will go to a separate bar, order their drinks and return to dance 5 minutes later. Some will, but a good proportion will not.
This advice is doubly important if your venue has a nice garden. You already have the problem with smokers going outside every half-hour for a cigarette – You can’t do much about this. You can however, with a bit of pre-planning, usually do something about the bar.
If your venue is already booked and the dancing is supposed to be in a separate area, you should really go back and have another long, hard look at the main room.
If there is a reasonable amount of space, or an area could easily be created by quickly removing some dining tables or furniture, tell the organiser that you want to have the dancing in there.
Party guests are strange creatures, They pick a spot where they are comfortable and tend to stay there. If the dancing area is along the corridor, a lot of people won’t leave their comfort zone to dance at all.
Others will take a lot longer to come and dance than they otherwise would. Curiosity will eventually drive some to go and have a look at the dance area but if they find a sparse, empty and uninviting room, they will go straight back to where they were comfortable.
Whichever way your venue is set up, this will involve some gentle “words of encouragement” to those sitting at the bar, standing outside and elsewhere. You should be prepared to “lead by example” and start off the dancing. Nobody will refuse to dance with the hosts !
Particularly if the dance area is separate, your task will be infinitely easier if beforehand you have placed sufficient comfy chairs and low-level drinks tables, adjacent to the dancefloor.
At least for the earlier part of the evening, make sure that the DJ plays background music at a level where guests can sit and chat. People will then position themselves in your comfy chairs, right by the dancefloor. When they hear a song they like, it will be very easy for them to get up and dance.
Once the majority are dancing, the DJ can then increase the volume somewhat. You must be firm with the staff at your venue. They will often want to set the seating up in a certain way. This sometimes involves removing all the chairs. They do this in the mistaken belief that is encourages guests to dance. It doesn’t..
Venue staff are surprisingly clueless about the huge detrimental effect their actions can have on the amount of dancers. The same applies to them leaving the lights on but more of that later.
Unless you have actually been to an event at the hall in question and know for a fact that it is set at a reasonable level, you should strongly consider choosing another venue – Sound limiters can be a complete nightmare !!!
Do not for one second think that the person showing you the hall will honestly tell you how bad it can be. It’s a bit like expecting a rottweiler owner to warn you that their dog will probably bite you.
Once the sound limiter has tripped, your dancers will immediately leave the floor and the relaxed cozy atmosphere will be ruined.
When eventually the electricity comes on again, your DJ will again have to coax guests from their seats or worst, out of the bar.
Remember also that if your DJ is playing his music from a laptop or computer, every time the electric goes of, he will have to re-boot the machine (and we all know how long that can take !)
The third type stupidly requires you to climb a ladder to press a button on the machine – With others, you can re-set them 2 or 3 times yourself by pressing the button. After that they have to be re-set with a key (probably held by a caretaker) who may have gone home or to his favourite pub.
The absolute worst type are usually found in council premises. Here you have to ring the Town Hall, hope there is a “noise pollution officer” on duty, apologise profusely for being so naughty and persuade them to re-set their computer.
Remember, it is your party. You have paid a lot of money for your venue. You, in tandem with a considerate, professional DJ should decide how loud the music should be – Not a machine !!!
Consider sueing the venue if they took your money, did not inform you in writing that they had a limiter and it ruined the night.
Avoid, at all costs, venues where your only choice is all the lights on or all the lights off. The ideal is somewhere with dimmable lighting which you can control.
(1) Put tea-lights on every table – perfect for creating a cozy romantic atmosphere.
(2) Try scented, floating candles – They are another nice romantic option.
(3) Consider discretely removing or unscrewing some of the light bulbs or harsh neon lights in the hall.
(4) Try and get hold of some heat resistant coloured gels or sleeves which fit over neon lights.
(5) Bring some soft lighting from home, so you can turn off the harsh hall lights.
(6) If your budget will stretch to it, hire some dimmable coloured uplighters, starcloth or fairy lights for the room.
These can be switched on for speeches and the meal / buffet and dimmed or turned off completely for the dancing.
(7) Make 100% sure that you ask your DJ specific details about his lightshow – Some of the amateur guys turn up with little more than boxes of brightly coloured, flashing spotlights. These will immediately undo all your good work and careful planning
By picking a cosy venue and improving it even more with some of the suggestions in this Tip Sheet, you are making it far easier for your entertainers to work their magic.
However, if you think laterally, there is another, often overlooked way of getting that full dancefloor and that is simply “Be nice to your DJ and he will work much harder for you.”
With some hosts, “being nice to the DJ” comes naturally. With others, although they are probably perfectly charming and decent people, they are so busy organising everything and chatting to their guests that they completely forget the guy, standing in the corner for 5 or 6 hours, providing the entertainment.
They hardly speak to him or offer him a soft drink. Although he has to make the customary “buffet is ready” announcement, he is not offered so much as a glass of water himself.
Most DJ contracts stipulate that “payment is due in cash, at the start”. However, quite often the function is over and the hall almost empty and the DJ is left wondering if he will be paid. Then, when he reluctantly mentions payment to the host, instead of cash, he is offered a cheque, asked if he will take a credit card, told to wait while they go to a cash machine or even instructed to submit an invoice.
Ask yourself – how much happier, livelier and willing to “go that extra mile” would your DJ be, if you paid him what was due at the start and exchanged a few pleasantries now and again. Contrary to popular belief, DJs are only human and it pays dividends to offer them just a teeny weeny bit of hospitality.