When planning a special event, the two features of a celebration which guests take away are the BAND and the BAR. The venue is very important when discussing the two most important features of a celebration because they are what controls the success of both.

After planning special events in hotels for over a decade, we would favor a hotel venue over a raw space any day of the week. There are endless reasons why; however, we are finding a lot of couples are looking for non-hotel and non-traditional venues because they are looking for a contemporary feel which sometimes emulates their home and/or style. If you are leaning towards the non-hotel venue, there are several notes to keep in mind when you are planning to host a successful celebration.

BAND ACOUSTICS ARE KEY – If you are interested in getting everyone on the dance floor and would like the guests to say “that was the best party I have ever attended,” the band and their acoustics are key. The important thing to know is if you are spending a large portion of your budget on a band, you need to ensure the acoustics are going to be great. A few things to look out for are carpet, window draperies and texture in the room. The sound needs to be absorbed by something so that it doesn’t bounce off the walls, floor and ceiling. If you are hosting your celebration in a non-hotel venue with cement, marble, or any other hard surface and there is no texture on the walls or in the ceiling it might be best to hire a DJ. The sound is more controlled and you will save money in the bank. Why spend $10,000-$20,000 on a band when the sound is bouncing off the surfaces and your guests don’t feel the music?

BAR – Brands on the bar, bar placement, bar staffing and passing wine are all important elements for a large gathering. If beverage is important to you, ask yourself if you need to upgrade the entire bar or is it the vodka only. You may only need to upgrade one or two items on the bar to offer a nice enhancement. Tito’s is becoming a popular liquor request on the bar, which you may switch out at no upcharge and you could spend your budget on an upgraded scotch instead. If you also have a signature drink, ask your catering/venue contact if there is a drink that is easily pre-batched to save time for the bartender. Once the bartender is creating specialty drinks on the bar it will slow him/her down.

We suggest bar placement in the back corners of the ballroom or room. Bars are important but they are not the centerpiece in most cases. If you are paying for a band you will want to keep the guests in the room. Guests tend to hang out by the bar so it’s always important to place bars where the line won’t obstruct the flow of the event. Always allow for space even if you overstaff the bartenders. We recommend (1) bartender per (75) guests and pass white wine and sparkling throughout the first hour. Passing wine takes the pressure off the initial rush to the bar and also provides an elegant touch.

With these helpful band and bar tips you are set up for a successful party in which your guests will easily access a beverage of their choice while enjoying the music. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns about your band or bar in the comment section below.