As an event organiser I often get asked the questions, “do you know of a great venue or restaurant, that has a beautiful ambience, for my wedding or birthday but that won’t break the bank?”.
With the economic situation as it is at the moment, more and more people have started looking into hiring a marquee for their back garden or transforming their home into a magical location to create that perfect vibe for their next celebration. Not all venues have to cost an arm and a leg, not all venues need to be a hotel.
Having recently researched a variety of venues for a client’s celebration I surprised them by making a couple of suggestions that they had not even thought of.
Did you know that the football club in Borehamwood have recently renovated their Gallery Suite? It is now decorated with the most modern furniture, very trendy, and has a kitchen, bar and dance floor. They can seat around 80-100 people. You can see an image of the Gallery Suite here.
Many people think it would be beautiful to have their wedding in a marquee, but also think it will be too expensive to hire one. What they don’t realise is that some venues have marquees up all year round, that means that the price would often be less than hiring a banqueting room at a hotel. One example would be the Shenley Cricket Centre in Radlett. They have a large summer marquee which can seat up to 300 people between March – September, and a winter marquee, which seats 150 people, from September – March (www.shenleycricketcentre.co.uk).
While they are both very reasonably priced, this does not include any food, drinks or decorations which are why many of my clients have started to consider transforming their homes instead.
As there is no venue hire charge, they can either get a caterer to provide them with a menu or cater it themselves. It is also quite easy to transform a dining room into a Winter Wonderland or a 007 theme. All you need are a couple of shiny decorations, the right combination of colour, or crystal trees with fairy lights. My motto is less is more and try to keep it simple.
Which brings us to the question, celebrating at home or out?
Ultimately it is all about budget, number of people and what atmosphere you want to achieve. Home always creates a more relaxed feeling where friends and family have the opportunity to mingle and relax and a good DJ can create a club vibe at home. Alternatively a couple of cushions, the correct lighting and decorations and you can make your home into an Aladdin’s cave.
On the other hand, the benefit of going out is that someone else does it all for you and you don’t need to worry about cleaning up. The scene/mood is usually set by the venue’s style, so you don’t need to create it from scratch and they have the experience of advising you on menus and layout.
The best advice I can give you is to sit down with a friend/partner, a pen and some paper.
Write down what you imagine your perfect celebration to be and then try to picture yourself at home or at a venue. Once you have that initial idea, you can expand on it. If it is at home your page will be covered with ideas of what you need to make or buy to create that theme. If it is a venue, your page will list all the things your venue needs so that you know what kind of locations you should go to view. This will definitely help when you start to Google or make those important calls to find your special venue.
You can have the perfect celebration out or at home, all in all it’s all about having your friends and family around you to make that special day perfect!!