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Certified TERI Tips: The Venue Hunt

Your venue (and event date) hunt should be exciting, not overwhelming.

Event table set up at Brickyard Terrace | Photo by Paris Karsh Photography

Welcome to our first installment of Certified TERI Tips! Your go-to for event planning tips from me, TERI’s Event Sales Director, Laura Harrelson. As a Certified Wedding and Event Planner, I’ll share my top three tips to make your venue hunt stress-free and fun. Choosing the right venue is pivotal in shaping the success of your event, whether it be a corporate gathering, social celebration or wedding. Navigating all that Southern California has to offer can be overwhelming. I hope that these insights will empower you to make informed decisions and transform your event dream into a reality, with less stress.

Before we start, the most important step is to get organized. It’s imperative that you have a space that mimics your most successful and inspiring setting. This will drive your planning and keep you on pace. My favorite planning space for example is out by our Campus farm, sipping coffee with headphones in and a blank note open. I always jot down ideas and keywords before I start my inspiration board.

1. Start your inspo board

2. Book three to four venue tours and make a day of it

3. Prepare questions ahead of time

a. Whether it’s a Pinterest Board, inspo board on your wall or in a notebook, start compiling images that speak to you!

b. Start asking yourself questions to narrow down the themes that you’re drawn to:

i. Are these mostly outdoor venues, a mix use venue with indoor and outdoor options, r only indoor?

ii. Are these featuring a seaside, agricultural and farm-esque or mountain and wooded views?

iii. Are you drawn to modern and lux, vintage or culturally inspired architecture?

When you are able to answer these questions, narrow down your inspiration images to three. Yes, you can do it! This is the best way to minimize the chaos of distraction while planning.

a. First, start searching! Google, The Knot, WeddingWire, your local Tourism Authority, Chamber and city’s magazine (San Diego Magazine for example) are your best resources for the venue hunt.

b. Even if you fall in love with the first one your tour, don’t forget about the rest. You may surprise yourself and connect with another venue as more than just a physical setting.

c. If mission driven, nonprofit venues are important to you, be sure to add that into your search above and ask your host how your booking impacts their mission.

d. If one venue isn’t the right fit for your event, it may be for a future event, a rehearsal dinner, shower or team building site. Keep your options open.

a. As a venue director, I always hear ‘I know I had more questions but I can’t think of them right now.’ And that’s ok!

b. Create a list of 10 questions you can ask your venue host when you tour. This will help you narrow your choices down event more.

c. A few sample questions:

i. What inventory do you include?

ii. What maximum guest count can each space old? iii. Do you include catering options?

iv. Do you have a preferred vendor list I can check out?

v. Can you send me some sample layouts of the spaces we toured today?

vi. Where can I find galleries of events held at your venue?

Sometimes, it’s more than the venue’s location that is the selling point for you. Don’t forget to consider how well you connect with the venue’s team, what the venue includes and how close it is to an airport and hotels for traveling guests.

Whether you opt for the rustic charm of a countryside barn, the modern feel of a new theatre or anything in between, trust your instincts. Remember to prioritize what matters to you most and your guest experience. Cheers to finding the venue that suits your event perfectly and forging unforgettable moments.

To learn more about our TERI Campus of Life Venues, click below and contact our Event Sales Director, Laura Harrelson to schedule a tour and coffee

To learn more about our TERI Campus of Life Venues, click below and contact our Event Sales Director, Laura Harrelson to schedule a tour and coffee.

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