If you don’t have a venue for your year-end gala, it’s not too late, even if you feel like you’re facing an uphill battle.

In this issue, I’ll cover details you can use to help you grab a last-minute spot on a venue’s calendar and then make that venue work for you… even if it isn’t your idea of perfect.

Create an event wishlist before selecting an end-of-year gala venue

What’s on your event wishlist?

Dancing, entertainment, speeches, awards ceremony, formal dinner – these are all details that require a specific type of space.

Wait too late and you will find yourself amending your plans to suit the venue space available rather than finding the venue that suits your plans.

Here are a few more important details to consider before your search begins:


Head count seems like a pretty obvious detail to cover when reserving an event venue, but capacity alone doesn’t tell the full story.


Meeting special needs of your guests and vendors is important and some venues are better equipped than others. Ramps and accessible restrooms are important, but your space must do more than legally accommodate a specific number of people – it must allow them to comfortably move about regardless of their needs.


If you’re struggling to find a venue for your event, worrying about ambiance might not seem like a top priority. But it is something to keep in mind as you search. Of course, with the right budget, you can transform almost any location to suit your event type and theme.

With your budget in mind, it’s time to start analyzing available venue

How much of your budget have you allocated for your venue? You might think this is a straightforward decision.
But some venue prices include services and amenities you may have included as line items in your event finances.
The convenience of paying for equipment and services provided by the venue can sometimes make up for a higher price.
As you speak with reps for each venue, ask specifically about these services and whether they are included:
Some venues require that you use their food services, so make sure you are comparing apples to apples when assessing total cost. If the hotel allows outside caterers, ask the venue reps if there are additional costs involved.
Audio Visual
Like catering, some venues require that you use their technical team for audio visual services. Not only does this save you the hassle of finding another team with availability, but it means they have familiarity with the venue and any quirks in the system.
Physical equipment rentals
Many venues will have tables and chairs available, but many do not and like other details, you will need to determine what is available and what will need to be rented at each venue before you can compare overall pricing.
Service staff
Venue staff may also be available to staff your event. Large events may require more service staff than many venues keep employed full time. Check with management to get their policy and pricing for event staff as part of your comparison process.

Convenience details can help make a venue shine

Sometimes a venue offers benefits that don’t figure into your budget – but these benefits can make your event special in ways we don’t often promote to our guests.


If your event will run late or if your event will feature an open bar or alcohol will be plentiful, consider hosting your event in an area with nearby hotels and public transportation.

While this isn’t something to fit into your budget, it’s one of those extra considerations that can make your guests feel special.

Parking and transportation

Like, accommodations, having accessible transportation options available is important for the safety of your guests. When parking isn’t available, shuttling your guests to a venue can add a huge line item to your budget. Make sure to ask how much parking is available for guests rather than overall parking capacity.

End-of-year galas are often sophisticated events and require a great deal of planning. If you’re getting a late start, or if your event planning is in process but you’re feeling a time pinch, I’d love to help.

Aurice Guyton

Author Aurice Guyton

More posts by Aurice Guyton