In nearly everyone’s life, there comes a time when it is necessary to choose a location for an event. Choosing a venue is a big deal because it can be expensive and it will set the tone for the entire occasion. It’s the “meat” on the event sandwich, if you will.

Before you begin making any venue decisions, it’s helpful to understand your budget. You don’t want to sign a contract with an expensive venue only to realize down the line that you have no money left for other important aspects of your event.

Unless you are completely familiar with a venue, it’s important to view a site in person, remembering to keep basic contact information about each venue on the same document so it can be referred to at a later date. Don’t forget to bookmark any websites so you can go back to see photos of the venue.

If necessary, bring a checklist to make sure that any important details aren’t overlooked. Your checklist can include items about the amenities, facilities, A/V, food and beverage and budget. The events you plan will vary, but, for the most part, the objectives for selection remain the same.

  • Capacity: Make sure the capacity of the venue fits your event. If you are hosting an event for 100 people, renting a space capable of holding 500 will unnecessarily add to the expense of the function. Also, a party of 100 will appear tiny in a cavernous hall, but a space that is too small can make guests uncomfortable.
  • Layout: Note if it has space for all aspects of your event (ceremony, cocktails, reception, breakout sessions, etc.). Sometimes this isn’t clear until you visit the venue.
  • Availability: Will the space be available on the preferred date?
  • Affordability:Can I afford this venue? Don’t torture yourself and keep a $1,200 venue on your list when you can really only afford $400. It’s just going to break your budget and waste your time.
  • Location: Being easy to find is important for your friends, family or business connections that are visiting the area.
  • Parking: Consider the condition of the grounds and determine if there will be adequate parking.
  • Facility extras: Does it have a kitchen, heat and A/C options, space to mingle or catering options?
  • Caterer: See if they have restrictions on catering, such as an in-house caterer or a preferred list of caterers to work with.

And finally, does this venue fit your general vibe? Selecting the proper venue is really one of the most important decisions the planner will make because it will ultimately dictate the style of the business conference, awards ceremony, wedding or performance.

Joni Westcott
Owner, The Downtown Abbey

The Downtown Abbey of St Joseph MO is owned and operated by Joni Westcott and offers a modern yet authentic, eloquent and affordable venue for traditional and non-traditional weddings and performances. The “Abbey” operates as an independent historical church entity and maintains no single religious affiliation. Like Downtown Abbey on Facebook or visit