The first thing I did, with the assistance of my MOH K, was search for the perfect venue. What does perfect mean for a social? Well ballrooms or outdoor venues they are not. I was looking for a hall that was reasonably prized, had a capacity of 350+ people and allowed you to keep the revenues from the bar.
There are alot of places that had 2 out of the 3 but finding one that had all three and was AVAILABLE in any of the months that were on my list was a little harder.
Although I was engaged in the spring of 2010, our wedding wasn't until June 2011 so we didn't want to have our social during the summer, too many people would be busy on family vacations or at someones wedding, or during the winter when people's plans and finances revolved around the Christmas holidays. So we decided to look for a hall that had an availability in November 2010 or March/April 2011, as May was getting to close to the actual wedding.
Since I was making my calls in the early summer I didn't expect to hear "Sorry we are booked" as much as I did. The venue that we had used for my sister's social was at the top of my list but after a month of phone tag with the manager I only had a January, February or May option...not what I wanted so I had to let that one go.
By the way that venue was perfect, it even had a room divider so that you could reduce you size if you weren't going to fill capacity and they wouldn't charge you for the entire place. The patio was licensed which increased the capacity and gave the smokers a place to go. And it already had white lights strung from the ceiling so you didn't have to do alot of decorating. But I had decided which months would work for me and held firm.
I finally settled on the community center that was conveniently located a few blocks from my house. I had originally hesitated because the actual hall was the community centers gym so there are basketball nets hanging from the ceiling and lines painted on the floor but soon saw reason. This was NOT my wedding. The nets would be raised and the tables would cover most of the lines. Not to mention when the lights are dimmed you hardly notice.
Things that were important to me when I chose this place:
- The capacity was 375
- The price includes their staff to assist in the set up and take down of the event, plus two bartenders and one security person. (Many places offer a lower rental fee but charge additionally for their mandatory bartenders and security by the hour)
- They also provide a portable bar with 7 canisters of pre mix (Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite and Ginger Ale) in the fee. Additional canisters are available @ $40 each. - This reduces our miscellaneous charges as we will only have to purchase ice and juices for mix.
The cost came to $1500 + tax