You’re having a big party or planning a huge celebration and now you need to find a great space to complement the importance of such a special occasion.
Of course, searching Google for “the perfect venue” is a start, but sorting through all of those results to find just what you’re looking for can be time consuming, and frankly, a bit overwhelming. Finding the right venue to suit your needs and expectations is just the beginning, after all.
We’ve planned, coordinated and hosted events at thousands of spaces all across Wisconsin. We’ve learned the ins and outs, opportunities, limitations and unique characteristics that exist at each and every venue we’ve served.
Whether you’re recently engaged and need the perfect location for your dream wedding, or you’re hosting an elaborate gala or fundraiser for a great cause, we’ve put together a list of things to consider when selecting your event venue, along with a sampling of our favorite event spaces to work with.
What kind of celebration do you envision? How do you see your guest intermingling and enjoying themselves? The venue you choose is not only the backdrop for your special occasion, but will also set the tone and ambiance.
Are you looking for something modern with an industrial feel or something refined, elegant and traditional? Jot down a few adjectives that would best describe what your event would look like. Many prominent venues will most likely describe their specific feel by some of the words you’ve chosen.
Couples with a modern sensibility will want to check out South Second, a beautifully redeveloped event space located in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighborhood. Its open floor interior honors the historic industrial character of the building while opening the space to the bustling nightlife of the vibrant neighborhood.
Saz’s Catering has the pleasure of being the exclusive caterer for this thoughtfully designed venue that is perfect for many event types. Whether it’s rustic, contemporary or industrial-chic; having a good idea of what you want your event to look like will help you narrow your search.
Size and Scope
If you haven’t made a guest count, take a moment to do so. It’s okay if it’s just an estimate. You’ll want to have an idea of how many people you plan to invite before choosing a space. Remember, a packed venue might sound like a great idea, but you still need space for the day-of staff and vendors necessary for room changes, hors d’oeuvres and dinner service, and for entertainment.
Apart from your guest count, think of how much space you’ll need. If you expect a large number of guests, hotels and conference centers are definitely not your only option. If you’re set on a fairy-tale wedding, for example, an all-inclusive ballroom might be the perfect bet!
Does your event require multiple separate spaces or can an open floor plan allow for smooth transitions throughout the night? Multiple flexible event spaces are the highlight of the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, Milwaukee’s premiere Riverwalk venue for performances, weddings, business meetings, receptions, fundraising galas, and more.
Sazama’s Fine Catering, exclusive caterer for the Marcus Center, handles everything from menu planning to complete event design for this sophisticated venue designed to accommodate groups of 25 – 2,300 guests. Each of their unique spaces – including the Bradley Pavilion, Promenade, Fitch Memorial Gardens, Green Room, Atrium, Magin Lounge and Peck Pavilion and Grounds – can be used in complement or on its own, depending on the size of your event.
For detailed information regarding any of the Marcus Center for the Performing Art’s event spaces, contact an event manager for Sazama’s Fine Catering at 414.276.2030 or email mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Budget and Flexibility
Depending on the size and scope of your event, a reasonable budget can go a long way. An exceptional venue can extend plenty of value in offering attentive service and support throughout the whole planning process. Is your event date flexible? Many venues offer discounted rates during off-season months or on weekdays, which can free up some of your budget for other important expenses.
Be sure to check what’s included and not included. Does the venue offer on-site support the day of your event? Do they provide a setup or clean up team? You’ll also want to know how long you’ll have the space for, from initial setup to clean up and tear down when your event is over.
What might sound like a great price initially, might include very little and end up costing you more in the long run. Both South Second and the Marcus Center for the Performing arts offer special packages and rates for a variety of event-styles, including non-profit and weekday events.
Considering an afternoon corporate happy hour or team-building event? You can potentially enjoy substantial savings by booking during the weekday. If you’re planning a wedding, consider booking during the off-season, where you’ll enjoy more flexibility with dates, as well as special off-season rates.
Amenities and Special Requests
A space designed specifically for events will generally have quite a few useful amenities available creating a seamless space for preparation, dining, dancing and entertainment. This can even further streamline the planning process, save valuable time and money and ensure a smooth flow the day of your event.
Is there a private space to prepare, like a bridal retreat? How about on on-site kitchen or exclusive caterer? Will you need a PA System? Are you planning on having live music or a DJ? What about tables, chairs and linens? There is plenty to consider and these are questions you’ll want to write down and answer as you search.
South Second, The Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, and many of the other venues frequented by Saz’s Catering both offer a number of special amenities that cover many of these questions and more. You can save a great deal of time and money when a venue has these specific event needs covered.
Now that you have your unique vision and a few places in mind, it’s a great opportunity to peruse photos from past events at the venues you’ve selected. This will give you a good idea of what your own event could look like.
Check out sites like WeddingWire, The Knot or PartySlate. Established venues will most likely have a page on these sites, complete with photos, customer reviews and at-a-glance details. Be sure to also check each venue’s social media profiles, explore their photo albums, as well as see tagged photos from photographers who have shot at each venue.
Most event spaces are more than happy to give you a personal tour. Don’t hesitate to schedule a walkthrough and see the space for yourself. This is the best way to really get a feel for how your big night can unfold and check out many details you might not have seen in photos. This can include everything from the bathrooms and aesthetic fixtures to the entrance(s) and parking options.
If you already have an event planner and they aren’t familiar with the venue, bring them along and allow he or she to get a good feel for the space and get a good handle on what him or her need going forward. While on tour, be sure to have a list of questions ready, so that you don’t forget while you’re there.
If it’s a large and elaborate space like the Marcus Center, you might be amazed by all there is to see. It’s also a great time to ask about how your own event will take shape and inquire about any limitations or restrictions, if any, you might face.
What about the outdoors?
Indulge us for a minute. There’s something about an outdoor celebration on a gorgeous natural landscape, complete with a stunning scenic backdrop, that can provide an amazing setting for a big celebration. Of course, planning and coordinating such a unique celebration requires a bit of finesse and plenty of experience, like logistics planning, tent rentals and set up, etc.
Having the knowledge and support of an experienced caterer and event planner at your side will ensure all the heavy lifting and extensive coordinating is well-handled, allowing you to focus on the guest list and other important details.
We’ve been responsible for not only catering large scale outdoor events and celebrations, but have utilized our decades of experience to handle all of the details, like event design, tent rentals, décor, set up and tear-down, and more!
Maybe you’ve seen the perfect location at your favorite park or have a special connection to a specific space; don’t let the thought of all the work involved keep you from making it happen. Our Sales & Event Managers have all planned and coordinated their share of outdoor events and would love to capture whatever unique vision you have, wherever you’d like to host it.
Finally, before you set forth on your quest for the perfect space, take a look at our Venues page for a complete list of our exclusive and preferred venues. With well over 2,000 events annually, Saz’s Catering alone has served clients in a number of different facilities and locations across Southeastern Wisconsin, all encompassing a wide variety of event styles.
We’re proud of the partnerships we’ve established through our dedication to client satisfaction and our ability to make the most of each and every event space. If you have any questions or need some expertise to lean on, we’re always here to help. Just give us a call at 414.256.8765 or send us an email at email@example.com and we’d be happy to make finding your perfect venue a hassle-free affair.