What will that ambiance get you? Will you have a dreamy memory of the unique venue or a horror story that the caterer forgot the ice, you ruined your shoes and your biggest donor tripped on an electric cable and broke her nose?
Why you should do it
- You have an experienced, skillful event manager whom you trust. Or you are said manager.
- The venue serves your mission. For example, your nonprofit serves the homeless and you hold a hard hat event on the construction site of your new shelter.
- You’ve scheduled more setup workers than you ever imagined you need and you are absolutely certain they’ll be there. Ideally because they’ll be paid afterwards.
- It’s revenue neutral. Either the venue will sell more tickets or bring you a donation that offsets higher charges for an off-site event.
- Money is no object. Once you go down this road, you can’t turn back, even when, two weeks out, you discover that your insurance company is going to charge a premium or the valet cost has doubled.
Why you shouldn’t: The most expensive part of an event and one of the greatest influences on guest satisfaction is the food and beverage. The best way to make sure they’re perfect is to hold your event in an established catering venue.
Think about it. The caterer can be more creative and deliver fresher food at the appropriate temperature when it’s serving the food in the same building it’s prepared. There are backup systems if a case of glasses gets dropped. Staffing may be cheaper, since the hall can amortize the cost of chefs and servers over multiple events. Got tech? There are backup projectors, cables and screens.
If you’re still yearning for ambiance, spend your money on decorations, entertainment or other guest experiences (red carpet paparazzi, nicer goody bags, bounce houses.)