A wedding, gala dinner etc would certainly need an upmarket venue – the only drawback with using a well know hotel is not only the cost involved – but also the rigidity of not being able to supply your own catering service, having to monitor noise levels, not to mention having to cut the fun at a certain hour, or pay a rather hefty fee per hour overtime.
There are plenty of very nice restaurants/hotels and function halls that with a bit of draping, some fairy lights and candles can be a dream venue, without costing you an arm and a leg.
Always remember to ask what comes included with the venue, things like audio visual equipment and staff, to even tables and chairs – we once ran an event that advertised itself as a 400 seater, but actually owned only 300 chairs. Let’s just say that we had to make a plan really quickly.
Where are most of your guests coming from, is also something to be considered – how far is it to drive, and also keeping the drive home after a few cheerful drinks in mind too.
Also, is there ample, safe parking? Most venues in South Africa will supply a security guard in the venue cost, or at least have one that you can pay a few hundred Rand extra for – well worth the expense. Nothing worse than coming out of your birthday party to find someone’s car missing or broken in to. I once worked at one of the top venues in Johannesburg where a client was too budget conscious to pay for extra patrolling security guards and we lost someone’s bakkie at that event.
Is someone in your party disabled? Remember to keep this in mind when viewing the venue for the first time – ramps and wheelchair friendly bathrooms are a must for any venue worth their salt.
The food and drinks generally make the function the most memorable, so make sure that the menu you are selecting suits most tastes and is not something that can spoil easily should the speeches run a bit over time. Remember to ask if anyone is vegetarian, kosher or Halaal. More information on selecting the best menu for your event can be found in our Food and Beverage section, and we also cover how to stock and run a basic bar as well.